Empower Federal Credit Union has tapped CUSO Financial Services to grow its investment services program and integrate it into the credit union's core offerings, CUSO announced on Wednesday.

The Syracuse, N.Y.-based credit union chose CUSO from among five third-party broker-dealers for its technology, reporting capabilities and specialization in financial institutions, CUSO said.

The credit union has 148,000 members with approximately $1.3 billion in assets and more than 20 branches in upstate and central New York.

Empower FCU's investment program, which had previously been with LPL Financial, is more than 20 years old and employs three advisors, plus one vice president and one operations manager who are part of the credit union's management team.  While longstanding, the program was never fully integrated into the credit union, operating in separate offices outside the branches that did not report directly to management, according to CUSO.

"We think better integration will help the program grow and give our members the peace of mind they want," James Reynolds, senior vice president of operations for Empower FCU, said in a statement. "CFS management is accessible, proving that they understand our philosophy and service orientation."

Empower is looking to grow the program by more than 140% within the next five years and to add two advisors in the next 18 months. Advisors in the program will operate as dual employees, meaning they'll be officially employed by Empower FCU but registered, licensed and compliance-supervised by CUSO.

Advisors in the program offer financial plan guidance, assist clients with meeting specific financial life goals, manage 401(k) plans, rollovers and retirement programs, and purchase stocks, bonds, annuities, mutual funds, long-term care insurance and other investment vehicles.

"Our mission is to help investment programs succeed in today' marketplace," Valorie Seyfert, president and CEO of CUSO, said in a statement. "Credit unions like Empower, which embrace leading technologies, are the kind of financial institutions we love to work with and are the future of our industry."

Empower FCU is the ninth credit union to join CUSO's network this year.

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