Credit unions form corporation to solve security problems

DENVER — A consortium of credit unions in the U.S. Mountain region are banding together to form a credit union service organization that uses technology to solve security problems facing financial institutions and their customers.

CULedger LLC is a corporate entity owned by the member credit unions. It will develop CULedger, a system using blockchain technology to help credit unions and members verify that they’re speaking to the person they mean to and not someone fraudulent. CULedger LLC is a partnership between the Credit Union National Association and Mountain West Credit Union Association, which covers Wyoming, Arizona and Colorado.

“With blockchain technology, there is a strong component related to identity,” said Rick Cranston, co-founder of CULedger and vice president of innovation and product development for the Mountain West Credit Union Association. “Our first solution on the platform is in beta development now. It’s using blockchain technology to create near-instantaneous authentication of who the credit union is talking to, both from the credit union to the member and from the member to the credit union.”

Cranston said the inspiration came from personal experience of getting calls that sound just like they could be from his own credit union, but were fraudulent. The solution CULedger is developing will using biometric technology, such as thumbprint scanning already in most smartphones, to let credit unions and members verify with whom they are speaking.

CULedger LLC, the corporate entity, is wrapping up forming its business plan and creating its leadership team in the next 60 days. CULedger, the product, is starting early deployment and should be available in the next several months.

“It’s still early, and we’re still in the building-out phase of CULedger,” Cranston said. “But based on the success of the consortium, we’ll see what the future brings us. But the future is bright.”