CUANM seeks ‘leverage’ with $250,000 investment
The Credit Union Association of New Mexico has invested in a for-profit advocacy and public affairs firm based in Albuquerque.
Initially thought of as a lobbyist-meets-PR firm for the credit union industry in New Mexico, Leverage Point Inc. is focused on public affairs, lobbying and Latino legislative outreach — both for the credit union industry and a wide range of other sectors.
Launched by members of CUANM, the firm is the brainchild of its president and CEO, Juan Fernandez Ceballos. According to Fernandez Ceballos, plans for the company started last year and serious hiring discussions started earlier this year. CUANM became the company’s sole shareholder after Fernandez Ceballos pitched the idea to the board of directors. While CUANM is the sole investor, Leverage Point is a separate legal entity and was formed as a C-corporation in the state of New Mexico.
“CUANM saw a need for this kind of business model and when Juan pitched it to the board, they thought it was a great idea. It felt like, and is more stable to, have an established firm as a backer rather than going out on our own for funding,” said Michael Barrio, public affairs director for Leverage Point.
Paul Stull, CUANM president and CEO, serves as the firm’s chairperson and Larry Blanchard has joined as senior strategist. Blanchard has significant experience and background in the credit union industry and government, having served as SVP with the Credit Union National Association and other key roles with the National Credit Union Administration and the National Association of Federal Credit Unions.
Fernandez Ceballos has served as CUANM’s VP of governmental affairs for the last seven years and said that his duties with the organization “will progressively move more toward Leverage Point.”
CUANM will invest approximately $250,000 in the firm over the next two years.