Scenes from the Community CU & Growth Conference

Attendees urged to embrace year-round planning, risk analysis.

November 2, 2012
Mike Schenk

CUNA Economist Mike Schenk

Credit unions may behave like cooperatives, but they should brag more about being cooperatives.

That’s some of the advice credit unions received during CUNA’s 2012 Community Credit Union & Growth Conference last week in Denver.

Jeff Rendel, president of Rising Above Enterprises and conference weaver, summed up the conference with these points:

Following are additional conference highlights.

Remember CASTLE

Lance Secretan

Lance Secretan

“CASTLE Principles” can guide you as you inspire employees and members to make a difference in the world, says keynote speaker and author Lance Secretan. “These values are what other people experience when you touch their lives, inspiring them to greater things.”

CASTLE stands for

Immerse staff in Hispanic culture

Hispanics are the largest, fastest growing, youngest, and most underserved group in the U.S., says Miriam De Dios, CEO, Coopera, a CUNA strategic partner.

Miriam De Dios

Miriam De Dios

Hispanics also carry $1 trillion in purchasing power.

Coopera helps credit unions serve this segment by establishing the right organizational philosophy and guiding them through the stages of new-market development.

Fran Godfrey, president/CEO, United Educational Credit Union in Battle Creek, Mich., also advises credit unions to use their “current Hispanic/Latino members to learn about cultural differences that exist in this demographic. And immerse your staff in the culture to raise their awareness and improve their service.”

Community CUs honored

Lisa Graham, president/CEO, Gulf Coast Community FCU, Gulfport, Miss., accepted a Community CU of the Year Award in the category of CUs with less than $250 million in assets.

Lisa Graham

Lisa Graham

Gulf Coast Community was one of four credit unions honored.

Graham shared her journey serving her membership through the events of Sept. 11, 2001; two wars; Hurricane Katrina; the recession; and the BP oil spill. Watch her acceptance speech here.

Economic uncertainties abound

Nobody understands how Europe's financial situation could affect the U.S., says Mike Schenk, vice president of CUNA’s economics and statistics department (pictured at top of page).

Total exports to Europe, however, amount to only about 2% of the U.S. gross domestic product. “If the Eurozone collapses, things will get ugly, but not ugly enough to cause a recession in the U.S.,” he says. “And Eurozone banks do finance trade to other countries so would that financing be replaced if there was a total collapse?”

Other implications could include disruptions in the supply chain, which could affect manufacturing, and the depth of the debt these banks are carrying, Schenk adds. “We don't know the extent. It could be four or five times more than what the U.S. banks carried.”

Be relevant to consumers

Bob Hoel

Bob Hoel

Consumers have so many choices for financial services that credit unions risk being irrelevant, says Bob Hoel, a Fellow in Residence with the Filene Research Institute. This makes board governance and director recruitment even more of a challenge.

Once you identify potential directors, Hoel suggests employing a nine-step “sales” process to bring them on board:

Embrace year-round planning

Tony Ferris

Tony Ferris

“There's no better time than now to lay the groundwork to garner market share and grow," says Tony Ferris, managing partner with The Rochdale Group.

The key is to put in place an intelligence-driven, year-round strategic planning process.

“Boards should be thinking 10 to 20 years out,” he says, “and they should be asking what could threaten our survival? Management should be thinking five to 10 years out asking, what could undermine our strategy?”