2021 NACUSO Network Conference Highlights

The 2021 NACUSO Network Conference at the Encore Las Vegas Resort hit a record year for attendance! We were so humbled to see so many like-minded individuals eager to collaborate and hear how others are bringing new, innovative services to the industry.

Key Note Speakers

We were privileged to kick off our conference with NFL All Pro Tony Gonzalez, who thanks to Mastercard, was able to share his insights on teamwork and how to focus on and achieve your goals. Tony still holds the NFL record for total receiving yards and receptions by a tight end. Tony also ranks third all-time in receptions. Tony is known for his durability and rarely fumbling, having appeared in 270 games, missing only two in 17 seasons, and only two fumbles on 1,327 touches.

Dr. Natalie Stavas inspired and challenged us with “Running Towards Chaos” in this special session brought to us by Trellance. On April 15, 2013, Dr. Stavas approached the finish line of her fifth Boston marathon. Just blocks away she heard explosions, and she ran towards them. Arriving at the scene she went to work administering CPR, applying tourniquets, and triaging the wounded. What led her to make that fateful decision to run into a terrorist attack? An expert on chaos, Natalie Stavas explained running toward chaos actually makes chaos more manageable.

Jim Stickley provided valuable insights in his session “Cybersecurity, Ransomware and Protecting Your Members” brought to us by Ameriprise Financial Institutions Group. Jim covered topics that ranged from basic identity theft to national cyber terrorism. Jim is an expert that helped us understand the cyber security challenges of the 5G wireless communications, as well as evolving threats to protect our members’ information.

2021 Next Big Idea Competition

  • The Next Big Idea Competition is our version of the popular TV Show “Shark Tank” designed to showcase innovation, collaboration, and advancements among our industry.

    We were honored to have our partners at CO-OP Financial Services sponsor the competition with a prize pool of $10,000. The award for first place was set at $7,500 with the second place winner receiving $2,500.


    2021 Next Big Idea Competition Winner:


    renofi logo

    RenoFi enables Credit Unions to offer next-generation, home renovation loans that better meet the needs of today’s homeowners.

    2nd place awarded to:


    Silvur is the first and only app designed to support Americans aged 50+ navigating modern retirement.

    Special recognition goes out to the three additional Big Idea finalists mentioned below.

    Each finalist presented innovation and drive for advancements within the industry and made it to the top five out of nineteen competitors for the Next Big Idea!

    Equipifi is an Enterprise SaaS Solution designed to enable financial institutions to effortlessly offer BNPL solutions to their members.

    Nu Direction Lending is the credit union friendly solution of the online small business loan.

    Go Digital, Stay Personal: innovate to a new level of member engagement.


CUSO Awards

The CUSO model brings together a unique combination of leaders with a cooperative heart combined with business acumen that is unparalleled. Each year we recognize CUSOs pushing to make a difference in our industry at the Network Conference via our prestigious CUSO of the Year Awards.

This year we’re excited to honor the following six CUSOs for their collaborative and innovative contributions to the credit union & CUSO industry!

For CUSOs established for 5+ years:

  • 2021 CUSO of the Year Award Winner – LoanStar Technologies
  • 2021 CUSO of the Year Honorable Mention – QCash Financial

For those established less than 5 years ago:

  • 2021 New CUSO of the Year Award Winner – Payac CLG
  • 2021 New CUSO of the Year Honorable Mentions – Curql Collective, LLC & Nymbus CUSO

Lastly, introducing a brand new award showcasing CUSOs who have consistently added value by providing exceptional support & service:

  • 2021 Distinguished Service Award Winner – United Solutions Company

  • 2021 CUSO of the Year Award Winner: LoanStar Technologies & Honorable Mentions

    Each year NACUSO recognizes CUSOs pushing to make a difference within the industry through the prestigious CUSO of the Year Awards. The 2021 CUSO of the Year Awards consisted of nine candidates established for more than five years, and were examined on the following criteria: Thought Leadership and Critical Thinking Innovation in Organization Design Value…

  • 2021 New CUSO of the Year Award Winner and Two Honorable Mentions

    New CUSO of the Year 2021 Award Winner: Payac CLG   Ireland’s credit unions are numerous but small.  After the financial crisis in 2008, scores of credit unions were insolvent but there were no powers to solve the problem.  There were no rules regarding mergers or collaboration. The University of Cork hosts a credit union symposium each year.  In…

  • First-Ever CUSO of the Year – Distinguished Service Award Winner: United Solutions Company

    2021 Distinguished Service Award Winner: United Solutions Company This is a new award that we felt was needed to honor CUSOs like United Solutions who have been providing such exceptional support and service to their credit union owners and partners. This special award is designed to recognize those, like United Solutions, who have been adding…

Advocacy Breakfast

NACUSO formed the Advocacy Fund to supplement its efforts to promote and protect a CUSO friendly regulatory climate.

As a special thank you for your support of NACUSO’s Advocacy Fundraiser; NACUSO and Mastercard held a private event the NACUSO’s Advocacy Fundraiser Breakfast with special guest Tony Gonzalez –  NFL Pro Football Hall of Famer Analyst at Fox NFL Kickoff, Former Kansas City Chiefs and Atlanta Falcons All-Pro Tight End.


External Conference Coverage

United Solutions Receives First-Ever CUSO of the Year Distinguished Service Award

Overflow Crowd of CU, CUSO Venture Capitalists Turns Out to Hear Fintechs Make Their Pitches

NACUSO Network Coverage

New Subsidiary, NACUSO Business Services, Is Introduced

3 Execs Talk Pandemic Lessons, What Trends Will Stay, Which Will Fade and More

NCUA’s Hood Addresses CUSOs and Crypto, Why He Doesn’t Believe Consumer Protection Oversight is Needed, and More

Fintechs Offer Strong Lending Opportunities, But Watch For These Things, Say Experts

‘CUSO Challenge’ Launches With Goal of Championing Five ‘Major Challenges’

Growth Was Good and Bad News for One CU. Here’s How It Has Responded

An NFL All-Time Great Has Advice For Leaders

Underground Rock Festival Coverage

Where CUs Would Benefit From Coming Together, and Why Board Members Need to Know the CU Isn’t a Bakery

New Site for Start-Up CUs, Plus Plans for New CU to Serve HBCUs

Where 3 People Feel a Sense of ‘Urgency’

Photo Gallery

Thank you to our 2021 Partners & Sponsors