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Credit unions, just like individual investors, are searching for the best possible places to invest their money these days. For smaller institutions, the ability to easily make optimum CD (certificate of deposit) investments is especially important. When the credit unions members are heavily committed to savings and the overall demand for loans is low, making and tracking the right investments becomes a matter of survival. This is why the Jackson, Mississippi-based Valley Gas Employees Credit Union (Valley Gas Employees), a sole SEG credit union for Atmos Energy, partners with Americas premier non-brokered marketplace for funding and investing QwickRate®.
Guylean Cooper, CEO of Valley Gas Employees since 2002, has a rich background working in the credit union movement. She inherited the QwickRate system, which her predecessors had been utilizing since 1992, when she joined Valley Gas Employees. Cooper was delighted to discover that QwickRate literally took only a few minutes to learn. For the first time in her career, she could simply make a few clicks of her mouse and not only find the best CD rates in the country, but also invest in the CDs immediately, online, with no paperwork. She notes, It is imperative that we get the greatest yield on our investments and QwickRate is the best possible solution for accomplishing this goal. A comprehensive set of automated QwickTools" is provided to the hundreds of credit unions subscribing to QwickRate across the U.S. Like theyve done for other members, these tools have put Cooper in the drivers seat when it comes to investing.
There is no question that Valley Gas Employees has experienced proven success with QwickRate. Through the fourth quarter of 2008, the credit union has continued to pay dividends to members that are way above the market average. Cooper attributes this achievement to the low overhead costs that Valley Gas Employees maintains, and the fact that QwickRate enables the credit union to connect and gain access to more than 2,000 other institutions nationwide to secure the best rates for its investments. Because QwickRate is a non-brokered marketplace, there are no broker, transaction or commission fees involved.
At present, Cooper has more than 60 separate $99,000 investments to manage. Without QwickRate, she notes that it would be virtually impossible to administer all of these accounts and still perform her day-to-day CEO duties. Tracking monthly dividends is a breeze with QwickRate, Cooper explains. The QwickRate online system has excellent and comprehensive reporting capabilities built right in. The reporting features are particularly beneficial now that the current economic climate has auditors examining investment details more closely. It is so helpful having the QwickRate reports at my fingertips, Cooper says. We pay high dividends to our members and some of the auditors were a bit skeptical of these rates; but when we showed them how we handle our investments with QwickRate, they were very impressed. One examiner even said that he would recommend it to other credit unions.
QwickRate also provides Valley Gas Employees with immediate access to financial information and ratios for every institution listing rates in the marketplacea capability that is vital in todays climate. This helps Cooper to quickly, easily and carefully review each pre-screened and government-insured subscriber prior to making an investment. Another burden that QwickRate helps eliminate is the risk of double placements, because its QwickTools" visually identify the institutions in which a credit union has already invested.
Using QwickRates built-in eContact feature, Cooper saves valuable time by placing her investments with a simple mouse click. No more time-consuming faxing of paperwork or tedious phone calls are needed to confirm details. To complete the transaction, she simply wires the funds to the other institution. In addition to the automated offer and acceptance capabilities, QwickRate provides an eRollover tool that minimizes the manual work involved when its time to roll over maturing CDs; this significantly improves the accuracy of retention and investment tracking.
Cooper also likes the inherent disaster recovery capabilities afforded by QwickRates secure, browser-based platform. Southern Mississippi is susceptible to both hurricanes and tornadoes, so Cooper and her Board of Directors enjoy the peace of mind that comes from knowing she can manage the credit unions investments from anywhere in the world using a PC with an Internet connection.
While the QwickRate system is phenomenally intuitive, there will be times when users need help. On those rare occasions when she has a question, Cooper says, QwickRates customer service team usually answers on the first ring and couldnt be more helpful. They are so knowledgeable and friendly and always take the time to explain their answers to me. She continues, The QwickRate solution puts me in full control of our investments and I have the best people in the world to work with.
For more than 16 years, Valley Gas Employees has relied upon the QwickRate marketplace as the foundation of a successful investment strategy that continues to yield high returns for its members. Cooper concludes by adding, QwickRate is also quite an affordable package, especially when you consider all of the features and functionality that it offers. You couldnt employ someone for a day for what the membership costs, and it frees me up to focus on more strategic activities.