Powerbroker Partnerships

Ohio Catholic Federal Credit Union is setting the standard for building partnerships the right way.


Randy Trimm doesn’t like one particular word. “Transaction.” It’s too clinical.

“Partnering and relationships are more important to me,” says Trimm, CEO of Ohio Catholic Federal Credit Union ($149M, Garfield Heights, OH). “I’m not interested in transactions.”

The word desensitizes the interaction between people and their financial institutions, just the opposite of the credit union philosophy. Successful credit unions know the key to a solid growth strategy is building partnerships and nurturing relationships.

Within the eight-county Catholic Diocese of Cleveland, there are more than 758,000 registered Catholics, 176 Catholic parishes, 127 Catholic schools, and numerous Catholic charities and organizations. Ohio Catholic captures 2.3% of its market, and as a credit union that is only open to people and organizations affiliated with the Diocese of Cleveland, OCFCU is in the enviable position to partner with other Catholic entities.

Ohio Catholic tries to allot dollars every year that can be used to undertake a forward-thinking project. The strategy leaves the financial door open for the credit union to seize unforeseeable opportunities. The credit union staff also meets throughout the year to discuss and brainstorm leads that might benefit the organization and members. One such opportunity arose recently.

The Diocese of Cleveland is the common denominator for membership at OCFCU, so cultivating that relationship is important to the credit union. The relationship has lead to introductions and relationships with other Catholic groups. It has even lead to OCFCU’s sponsorship of the Diocesan’s Catholic Schools Week awareness campaign. The sponsorship raised the credit union’s deposit relationship with the Diocese to $4 million and added $3 million in loans to the books.

Ohio Catholic also tailors many of its products directly to members. One such account is the Tuition Saver Account, which pays a higher interest rate than a standard savings account and matches deposits for Catholic milestone events. These types of products represent a credit union both serving specific member needs and, perhaps more importantly, recognizing and acting upon the opportunity to do so.

Another development could further strengthen the partnership between the credit union and the Diocese. Ohio Catholic is set to open a new branch in downtown Cleveland in the same building that houses the Diocese. (watch a video of the branch ribbon cutting) The opening was not included in the credit union’s budget, but it represents a$38 million opportunity for the credit union. The branch is slated to open in October. Trimm plans on moving his office to the new location, which will maximize the opportunities to market the credit union to the Diocese and its related entities.

With its forward-thinking strategy, appreciation of risk, and partnerships that enhance the quality of members’ lives and the communities in which they live, Ohio Catholic illustrates the beauty of mutually beneficial partnerships for credit unions.

Mutually beneficial. Sounds like a term Randy Trimm just might like.




Sept. 6, 2010


  • Excellent evidence that relationships matter. OCFCU puts the relationship building philosophy to work in their products, services, and with the staff, by getting them involved in deciding on their next big thing.