We Help Credit Unions Thrive!


CUCollaborate, is a consulting, software development, and digital marketing company whose mission is to help credit unions grow. CUCollaborate primarily focuses on addressing credit union’s biggest obstacle to growth, field of membership. CUCollaborate specializes in expanding credit union fields of membership to the greatest degree possible, eliminating the friction field of membership causes in consumer acquisition, and delivering strategies that help credit unions efficiently attract new members, loans, and deposits.



Sam Brownell
Founder & CEO
Sam has worked in the credit union industry for over ten years. He thinks every American should be a member of a credit union. In 2014, he founded CUCollaborate with the aim of facilitating impactful collaboration within the industry. Before launching CUCollaborate, Sam was Associate Vice President of New Product and Market Development at Callahan & Associates, a credit union consulting firm. Sam has conceived, overseen development, and had success launching multiple new growth strategies and solutions for credit unions.
Over sixteen years of experience in application development, cloud technologies and cybersecurity. Over eight years of technology leadership experience on Wall Street within the financial services industry. He is excited to leverage this expertise to help Credit Unions collaborate and consumers to find the best financial products.
Chris Tissue
Chief Operating Officer / Consulting
Chris has more than 11 years of experience in consulting with a focus on data analytics, managerial cost accounting, workload modeling, performance and financial management. Before joining CUCollaborate, Chris helped clients develop and mature analytical capabilities to inform strategic business decisions at Grant Thornton, Deloitte and Callahan & Associates.
Bob Fenner
Research & Consulting
Bob Fenner started his career with credit unions in 1971 as an attorney for NCUA. Bob was named NCUA General Counsel in 1985 and served in that capacity until his retirement in August 2011. As General Counsel, Bob was the chief legal adviser to the NCUA Board and had responsibility for NCUA's rulemaking, litigation and enforcement programs. Among other awards, Bob is the recipient of the NCUA Board's Gold Medal for Meritorious Service and the Federal Bar Association Banking Law Committee's Richard Peterson Award for career contributions to financial institutions law and policy. Bob works with us on specific projects through his own firm, RMF Consulting LLC.
Ruthie Dell

Ruthie brings over a decade of operational management and business analysis expertise to the team.  As a Certified Professional Manager Ruthie is an influential leader and skilled project manager. Ruthie is also a doctoral student, pursing a PhD in Global Leadership, with a focus on Organizational Management.  When she is not busy conducting research for her dissertation, Ruthie enjoys seeing the world through culturally immersive travel.  Ruthie enjoys leveraging her professional and academic experiences to help credit unions identify and implement sustainable growth strategies.

Lucas McCanna
Head of Growth

Lucas has over three years of sales and marketing expertise. He has worked with hundreds of small businesses to help them grow their company. A core belief of his is that everyone deserves a chance at his or her dreams and aspirations. He has a passion for technology focused on improving highly regulated industries. Outside of work, Lucas enjoys going to concerts and live performances.

Nina Kopp
Vice President- Business Development

Nina has worked in the credit industry for over 20 years. During her time at CO-OP, she was instrumental in helping credit unions with their strategic plans and growth initiatives. Nina focuses on building relationships with our clients to make sure that every growth plan is tailored to his or her needs.  She has a passion for helping consumers see the value of a credit union and helping credit unions succeed. In her free time, she enjoys traveling and experiencing the outdoors with her family and dog.  


Josh Pratt
Account Executive
Josh has over seven years of experience in sales and account management. He takes pride in organizing, challenging, and leading his teams to exceed clients’ expectations.  Josh lived in Ukraine, where his father serves as a missionary, for nineteen years before moving back to the States. He is also a talented musician and has played over 300 concerts. Josh is very excited to help our credit union clients thrive.
Catherine Lewis
Branch Strategy Consultant

Catherine has worked with financial institutions for 14 years, first contributing to delivery network decisions at a top-five national bank and then advising financial institutions across the country, as they tackle the challenges of adapting to changing technology and optimizing their delivery networks.

Sam Griswold

Sam Griswold is an experienced writer and translator with a background in literature and linguistics. He loves storytelling in all its forms and is thrilled to be able to bring this passion to CUCollaborate to help credit unions find their voice and tell their story.

Suzanne Arno
Branch Strategy Consultant
Her 19 years of experience with top retail organizations and big five banks give her the foundational knowledge to advise clients on how to transform their branch network with an emphasis on the customer experience and employee engagement. She has extensive experience leading implementation teams, developing employee training, driving employee execution, and rolling out new products/initiatives. 
Head of HR - Dog
As head of human resources, Buck is responsible for maintaining a positive work environment. Although he sometimes prioritizes play ahead of work, we keep him around because he has a keen nose for talent – we won't hire anyone unless they pass his smell test.



Understand Clients’ Perceptions of Other Core Platforms

I found the CUCollaborate’s Core Data Processing Satisfaction Survey’s user rating and comments to be very insightful. The guide provided a comprehensive one stop shopping list detailing each core platform. The credit union industry would benefit from increased participation on the part of user clients as well as core providers. The longer credit union comments helped me understand clients’ perceptions of other core platforms.

Shay Santos
CFO of Dane County Credit Union

Measure Our Performance Versus the Market

CUCollaborate’s Core Processing Satisfaction Survey allows Quest Federal to measure the performance of our core data processor versus the market and in our case, reinforces the level of satisfaction that we have by comparing to our platform’s results in our peer group.

Matthew Jennings
CEO of Quest Federal Credit Union

Returns a List of Credit Unions a Consumer Can Join.

Johns Hopkins Federal Credit Union is very excited about the new Credit Union Match site. As a credit union serving employees and students of several organizations, the other credit union search sites did not meet our needs. To date the other sites have only been based on home zip code and either leave us out of the results because they do not consider the employer, or they wrongly present our credit union as options for consumers who may live near our branch but are not eligible to join. Credit Union Match has put together the sophisticated search capability that is needed to correctly return a viable list of alternatives to consumers seeking access to a credit union.

Lynn Gregory
SVP Marketing & Member Services, Johns Hopkins Federal Credit Union

Helps Our Entire Movement

The goal of JoinCU is ultimately to help our entire movement by making it easier for potential new members to find the best credit union for them.

Samantha Smyth Paxson
CO-OP Financial Services

Without CUCollaborate, our Underserved area requests would not be as comprehensive.

I have used CUCollaborate to map different underserved area scenarios. The program has saved hours of time creating reports and provided a lot of flexibility in the specific tract selection options. Without CUCollaborate, our Underserved area requests would not be as comprehensive.

Charlotte Leo
Advancial Federal Credit Union