UNIFY Financial CU First to Offer Members Ability to Buy, Sell, Hold Bitcoin

TORRANCE, Calif.–UNIFY Financial Credit Union and Five Star Bank are reporting they have become the first financial institutions in the U.S. to enable their members/customers and members to buy, sell and hold bitcoin.

UNIFY Financial and Five Star are offering the bitcoin availability through the integration of solutions provided by NYDIG and the Q2 digital banking platform, according to a statement from Q2Holdings. NYDIG is a financial services firm focused on bitcoin.

According to NYDIG’s research, more than 20% of American adults own bitcoin and more than 80% of those individuals would store it with their primary bank or credit union if the service was offered. Additionally, more than 71% of bitcoin holders say they would switch to a bank or credit union that supports Bitcoin, according to the company.

“This is an exciting partnership with Q2 and NYDIG and a huge opportunity for UNIFY and our members. We are thrilled to be the first credit union on the Q2 platform to enable members to trade Bitcoin,” said Greg Glawson, EVP, chief information officer, UNIFY Financial Credit Union, in a statement. “By offering a streamlined and simple process to begin trading in this new asset class, we are continuing to meet our member needs, especially as many have awareness about the convenience and benefit cryptocurrency may provide. Having a trusted provider in their credit union will hopefully add to their confidence as they engage in this new opportunity. By offering the ability to trade in bitcoin, UNIFY brings substantial new product value to our members that can help differentiate us from other financial institutions.”

The $3.59-billion UNIFY Financial has more than 265,000 members.

Overcoming Barriers

Q2 said its digital banking platform helps credit unions and their members to overcome barriers to holding bitcoin such as wallets and key management.

NYDIG said in a statement its full-stack bitcoin platform is “built to the highest security, regulatory, and operational standards to help traditional banks and credit unions enable their account holders to buy, sell, and hold bitcoin and to view their current bitcoin balance alongside their traditional banking accounts.”

“This is a game changer for financial institutions in the U.S,” said Jonathan Price, Q2’s executive vice president, Emerging Businesses, Corporate & Business Development, in a statement. “Built on the Q2 Innovation Studio, this new Q2-NYDIG offering gives financial institutions the choice to offer bitcoin to their end users, while taking into account the regulatory and security requirements needed to enable banks and credit unions to securely step into the bitcoin arena and meet growing consumer demand.”

Q2 reported it has more than 18 million end-users on its platform.