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CUNA News Podcast
23 minutes | 3 days ago
Insights into lending
Sticking to the fundamentals and building relationships with members are key components of lending, say two award-winning lenders. Lloyd Gill, retired CEO at $565 million asset We Florida Financial in Margate, Fla., and Tim Dunham, vice president of consumer lending at $1.1 billion asset Credit Union of America in Wichita, Kan., joined the CUNA News Podcast to talk about lending during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, what lending will look like in the future, the importance of relationship building, and more. The CUNA Lending Council named Gill the 2020 Phil Greer Lifetime Achievement Award winner and Dunham the 2020 Rising Star during the CUNA Lending Council Virtual Conference in November.
20 minutes | 10 days ago
Pandemic leadership lessons
The outset of the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic in 2020 provided unforeseen challenges for every credit union leader. Leadership lessons gleaned from webinars and audiobooks were put to the test under the pressure of a crisis, and new lessons were forged from failure and success. In this podcast, two credit union CEOs share their pandemic experiences and how they’re moving forward in 2021. Lynette Smith, president/CEO of $130 million asset TruEnergy Credit Union in Springfield, Va., shares how TruEnergy leveraged a largely remote workforce to serve 9,000 members during the pandemic with a blend of technology and appointment-only, face-to-face member service. Max Villaronga, president/CEO of El Paso (Texas) Area Teachers Federal Credit Union, explains how the $740 million asset credit union serves 65,000 members largely through remote services in one of the states hardest hit by the pandemic. Smith and Villaronga provide insight and lessons that credit union leaders can apply within their own organizations.
20 minutes | 16 days ago
2021 economic forecast
When Jordan van Rijn looks back at 2020, what stands out most is how quickly the economy is recovering following dramatic declines in gross domestic product and skyrocketing unemployment due to the pandemic. While the economy isn’t in the clear, van Rijn, CUNA’s senior economist, is heartened by the resilience of the U.S. economy—and credit unions. He’s hopeful for a recovery this year as COVID-19 vaccines become more widely available and administered. In this episode of the CUNA News Podcast, recorded in late December, van Rijn offers projections for economic growth and unemployment in 2021, the outlook for credit union balance sheets, possible roadblocks, reasons for hope, and more.
31 minutes | a month ago
Compliance for the pandemic
Among the unforeseen challenges the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has created for credit unions are the compliance requirements driven by social and safety considerations. In this podcast, David Reed, an attorney, consultant, and trainer with Reed & Jolly, PLLC, explains how credit unions can continue to handle operations and human resources in the new normal, as pandemic-related considerations redefine the work environment. The top priority should be security and safety for members and employees, says Reed. Credit unions have plenty of best practices to follow but still must navigate the challenging territory of execution and communication. Reed also shares how credit unions can minimize risk while focusing on the member experience in 2021.
27 minutes | a month ago
Sponsored: Build your own systems
It used to be that only large lenders with extensive financial and development resources could even think about building their own loan origination systems. Today, innovations in hardware, software, and agile processes allow smaller lenders to do so as well. With the need for personalized relationship management becoming increasingly vital for serving members, credit unions can envision and create loan origination systems specific to their business needs. This episode of the CUNA News Podcast, sponsored by defi SOLUTIONS, features Scott Hendriks, director of product strategy for defi SOLUTIONS, and Craig Levering, director of banking transformation practice for PricewaterhouseCoopers Advisory Services. Hendriks and Levering discuss some of the technological and industry changes that enable credit unions to build their own loan origination systems. They also highlight the business benefits of doing so, trends to watch, and more.
28 minutes | a month ago
Faith-based credit unions
If you want to go fast, go alone. If you want to go far, go together. This proverb sums up the mission of faith-based credit unions and the Faith Based Credit Union Alliance. The alliance, which celebrated its 10-year anniversary in September, embraces collaboration to move its member credit unions—and their members—forward together. This episode of the CUNA News Podcast features Drs. Joronda and Hiram Crawford, board members at $1.4 million asset Israel Methcomm Federal Credit Union in Chicago, and Robin Hollis, regional director for the Illinois Credit Union League. They discuss how faith-based credit unions differ from their mainstream counterparts, relying primarily on volunteers to serve their tight-knit memberships. They also explain how the Faith Based Credit Union Alliance fosters collaboration among its member credit unions, what mainstream credit unions can learn from faith-based credit unions, and more.
16 minutes | 2 months ago
Sponsored: ‘Indispensable financial technology partner’
When the coronavirus (COVID-19) struck, CO-OP Financial Services had to act quickly and deploy its workforce in a remote environment. But it knew it also had to continue to assist credit unions as they worked to meet the needs of their members during the pandemic. “Our vision is to be an indispensable financial technology partner for credit unions,” says Todd Clark, CEO of CO-OP Financial Services. “We’ve made great strides for our clients. Within a couple of weeks, we shifted our focus for a short window of time to put some proactive COVID response solutions in place and a lot more self-service integration of digital tools through our developer portal.” Developing primary financial institution relationships is key for credit unions, especially during the pandemic, Clark says. Credit unions have done this and continue to put members’ needs ahead of profits during this challenging time. “Credit unions continued to be compassionate banking alternative,” Clark says. “And we’re reminding our credit unions right now that their members need them more than ever. Being there for their members, gaining their trust, and being their ally will increase loyalty in the long term.” In this episode of the CUNA News Podcast, sponsored by CO-OP Financial Services, Clark discusses the importance of payments as an avenue for growth, how COVID-19 has impacted digital transformation, how to leverage data to support financially fragile members, and more.
24 minutes | 2 months ago
Investing in your people
Challenged by a national health crisis and its economic impact, credit unions are faced with protecting employees, safeguarding financial stability, and serving members within a new normal fraught with uncertainty. Investing in employee development not only meets these needs but also helps prepare organizations for a future that has yet to be defined. In this podcast, our latest in a series on service culture, we explore how investing in your employees’ development can benefit the long-term future of your organization. Investing in employees shows that you see them in your future, and that’s a motivator for today’s worker, says Jayne Hitman, national program manager for Creating Member Loyalty (CML), a development strategy program from CUNA focused on increasing employee engagement and the member experience. “Once we can help people see themselves in our future, they can start seeing us in their future as well,” Hitman says. And that makes all the difference in your culture, says Paul Robert, CEO of FI Strategies, a strategic partner of CML. Roberts adds that investing in employee development plays a critical role in identifying emerging leaders within an organization. In this interview, Jayne and Paul break down all the ways employee development returns value to an organization and engages employees to serve members more meaningfully.You can listen to the CUNA News Podcast in Apple’s iTunes Store, Google Podcasts, Spotify, and Stitcher Radio.
9 minutes | 2 months ago
Establishing strong board/CEO relationships
A strong board/CEO relationship is a critical ingredient to credit unions’ success. This requires transparency, communication, and shared goals, says Terry Davidson, board chair at $720 million asset True Sky Credit Union in Oklahoma City and a 2020 Credit Union Rock Star. At True Sky, Davidson and the board began building a relationship with CEO Sean Cahill during the interview process. Cahill joined the credit union in December 2018. “You have to start at the beginning and be open and honest. You can’t tell someone you want them to do something and then go in a different direction,” Davidson says. In this episode of the CUNA News Podcast, Davidson and Cahill discuss how to form strong relationships, both among board members and between the board and CEO, the importance of doing so, and more. To hear more from Davidson and Cahill, check out the article "Relationships key to success" in the November issue of Credit Union Directors Newsletter. Subscribe now to the print or PDF version.
23 minutes | 2 months ago
Create a supplier diversity strategy
Credit unions work closely with suppliers every day, for almost every aspect of operations. Suppliers print marketing materials, stock vending machines, and equip branches with the hand sanitizer, personal protective equipment, and plexiglass barriers needed to safely conduct business. But opportunities exist to think more strategically about these partnerships. A supplier diversity plan is one way credit unions can drive growth while strengthening the communities they serve. This episode of the CUNA News Podcast features Lara Brecher, founder and principal consultant at Brecher Consulting and a former credit union business development manager. Drawing on her extensive experience in the credit union movement, Brecher discusses how supplier diversity strategies empower credit unions to uphold their missions and values while forging partnerships and driving growth. As she explains, supplier diversity provides business benefits, promotes equity, and supports small businesses—all of which align perfectly with credit union philosophy.
14 minutes | 2 months ago
Sponsored: Text messaging to build loyalty
Text messaging offers flexibility and convenience for both credit unions that use it and people who receive the messages. It also is a tool credit unions can use to build relationships and gain member loyalty. “It allows the member to feel like their credit union is really their friend,” says Jeff Moss, senior director of financial institutions at Podium, a customer messaging platform. “It’s part of the communication style the credit union uses for every type of relationship they have. And it’s quick, easy, and convenient.” Not only does text messaging give credit unions a pathway to establishing relationships with members, it’s also an effective tool for communication. Studies have shown that the read-through rate of text messages is 98% compared to 10% to 12% for emails, Moss says. In this episode of the CUNA News Podcast, sponsored by Podium, Moss discusses how text messaging can create member loyalty, why and how credit unions use text messaging to communicate with members via text, challenges associated with establishing a text messaging program, and more.
26 minutes | 2 months ago
Insights on the 2020 election
Amid an extended and contentious 2020 election, the CUNA/league advocacy team had another successful campaign cycle, winning 97% of the more than 400 races it supported for candidates on both sides of the aisle. That includes wins on 10 of 11 priority races. As President-elect Joe Biden prepares to take office in January, the CUNA/league advocacy team is examining what a Biden presidency will mean for credit unions, advocacy, and progress toward our priorities, says Ryan Donovan, CUNA’s chief advocacy officer. In this episode of the CUNA News Podcast, Donovan examines the 2020 election, what it will mean for credit union advocacy and key issues, and next moves for the CUNA/league advocacy team.
21 minutes | 3 months ago
Bridging financial wellness and community partnerships
Credit Union Rock Stars Rachna Bhatia and Andrea Finley help others achieve financial freedom. Coincidentally, Andrea Finley and Rachna Bhatia both began their financial services careers working in banks. But their hearts led them to credit unions. Following their hearts has helped them improve countless financial lives among their memberships and communities. For that, both Finley and Bhatia are among 39 credit union leaders named as 2020 Credit Union Rock Stars by Credit Union Magazine. Sponsored by Fiserv, the Credit Union Rock Stars program recognizes outstanding credit union professionals and volunteers from a wide range of disciplines for their exceptional creativity, innovation, and passion. Andrea Finley is financial wellness coordinator at SC Telco Credit Union in Greenville, South Carolina. Rachna Bhatia is director of community outreach and business development at Infinity Federal Credit Union in Portland, Maine. In this podcast, Bhatia and Finley share how community partnerships are the key to financial wellness—and how that key can also open new doors for credit unions in their fields of membership.
22 minutes | 3 months ago
Sponsored: Integrating data to deepen member relationships
While the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has shifted credit unions’ focus from in-person to digital channels, the truly successful credit unions are those that help members smoothly transition from one channel to the other, picking up financial conversations right where they left off from their last visit. What ties those channels together? Data. Marquis helps credit unions use data to make those conversations with members meaningful, productive, and more efficient. In this podcast, sponsored by Marquis, Tony Rizzo, chief marketing and creative officer for Marquis, and Ryan Housefield, senior vice president of sales, describe how credit unions that use data on the front lines can provide the engagement tools employees need to drive sales and decision-making while improving the bottom line. As Rizzo says in this interview, the best way for credit unions to compete with big banks is to stay focused and local. Data integration is the best way to do that.
15 minutes | 3 months ago
Sponsored: Build member engagement with cards
The coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has accelerated both the move from cash to cards, and the use of advanced card technology including contactless cards, central issuance, and instant issuance. But it hasn’t changed the need for credit unions to be top of wallet with their cards. The best way to achieve that goal is by building member engagement, according to Nicole Machado, executive director, product strategy card services, for Harland Clarke, a CUNA Strategic Services alliance provider. In this episode of the CUNA News Podcast, sponsored by Harland Clarke, Machado explains how to build a best-in-class engagement strategy through payments, how to become top of wallet, new developments in the card arena, payment trends accelerated by COVID-19, and more.
26 minutes | 3 months ago
Pathways to growth
No two credit unions approach growth the same way. That’s especially true of three credit union CEOs who recently spoke with the CUNA News Podcast about how their credit unions have achieved growth in recent years. Platinum Federal Credit Union in Duluth, Ga., relies on virtual branches and committees to attract and retain members in areas that can’t support brick-and-mortar branches, says CEO Kabir Laiwalla. Founded in 2000 to serve the Ismaili sect of Shia Muslims nationwide, the credit union has grown from less than $1 million in assets to more than $150 million in assets today. When building a new branch, MED5 Federal Credit Union in Rapid City, S.D., created a space with a twist—a coffee shop open to the community, says CEO Pam Brown-Graff. The coffee shop brings potential members into the credit union for a jolt of java while also giving back to the community. Lisa Brown has experience lifting credit unions from the brink of insolvency. As CEO of Tallahassee-Leon (Fla.) Federal Credit Union, she’s guided the credit union toward growth, doubling assets and growing capital from 6% to nearly 11%. Her experiences with the National Credit Union Foundation’s International Credit Union Development Education (DE) program has taught her to think creatively to develop solutions for the credit union’s membership. Laiwalla, Brown-Graff, and Brown are among 39 credit union leaders named as 2020 Credit Union Rock Stars by Credit Union Magazine. Sponsored by Fiserv, the Credit Union Rock Stars program recognizes outstanding credit union professionals and volunteers from a wide range of disciplines for their exceptional creativity, innovation, and passion.
23 minutes | 3 months ago
The 2020 election & credit unions
As with nearly every aspect of life, the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has affected how candidates campaign, how people vote, and, as a result, how credit union leaders advocate. But one constant remains amid these changes: The nonpartisan approach CUNA and the leagues take to support credit union-friendly candidates with messages of how credit unions advance their local communities and transform the financial lives of members—elected officials’ constituents. This episode of the CUNA News Podcast, recorded shortly before the 2020 election, features a conversation with Trey Hawkins, CUNA’s deputy chief advocacy officer for political action. He takes us through possible election scenarios and their implications for credit unions, priority races for the CUNA/league advocacy team, advocacy advice for credit union leaders, and more.
28 minutes | 3 months ago
Meeting the COVID-19 challenge
As difficult and devastating as the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic has been, it’s also brought out the best in many credit union leaders. Take Tillery Durbin of 121 Financial Credit Union in Jacksonville, Fla., and Amber Rahn, culture and organizational development manager for Blue Federal Credit Union in Cheyenne, Wyo. Durbin was promoted to business services director in April, when the pandemic arrived alongside a crush of SBA Paycheck Protection Program (PPP) loans. That’s when the brutally long hours began. Durbin typically worked 13 to 16 hours a day processing PPP loans for 121 Financial’s small business members and those at other institutions. Her goal: To help as many people as possible. Rahn made it her mission to support employees struggling with remote work situations, home schooling, anxiety, and, in some cases, financial distress as spouses lost their jobs. Rahn organized multiple virtual events to engage staff and build camaraderie, including a weekly series of musical sessions featuring in-house talent. She’s also helped many Blue Federal employees gain financial freedom with the Smart Dollar financial training program, through which staff have eliminated more than $750,000 in debt and saved $250,000. Durbin and Rahn are among 39 credit union leaders named as 2020 Credit Union Rock Stars by Credit Union Magazine. Sponsored by Fiserv, the Credit Union Rock Stars program recognizes outstanding credit union professionals and volunteers from a wide range of disciplines for their exceptional creativity, innovation, and passion. The 200th episode of the CUNA News Podcast highlights the exceptional efforts of Durbin and Rahn to serve members and employees during this challenging time.
29 minutes | 4 months ago
Jayne Hitman, Paul Robert on getting people in the right roles
From the bottom to the top of an organization, getting the right people for the right job is critical. It’s also much more difficult than it seems at first glance. In this podcast, our latest in a series focusing on service culture, we explore how putting people in the right position should be a deliberate strategy that shapes an organization’s culture. Jayne Hitman, national program manager for Creating Member Loyalty (CML), a development strategy program from CUNA focused on increasing employee engagement and the member experience, says high performers bring their best every day, and they need to work with other high performers. At the same time, passion and teamwork also drive culture, adds Paul Robert, CEO of FI Strategies, a strategic partner of CML. Organizations should invest in people who can influence others in a positive way. As Hitman says in this podcast: “When culture is done right, employees want to be in the right seat and they want to contribute.”
19 minutes | 4 months ago
Sponsored: Stronger digital engagement
As social distancing continues, many credit union members are increasingly turning to digital banking options as an alternative to in-branch service. With more members embracing online and mobile tools, credit unions have an opportunity to drive stronger digital engagement. This episode of the CUNA News Podcast, sponsored by Fiserv, features insights from Colin Murphy, vice president of product marketing for digital channels at Fiserv. Murphy says that meaningful member interactions start with a human-centric approach and proactive communication. He shares strategies for reimagining member relationships in a digital-centric world, strengthening digital engagement through innovative service, and achieving growth in a “new normal” environment. "We're at a point now where behavior has changed and things will stick," Murphy says. "We have been seeing consumers visiting the branches less and less for over a decade. The pandemic has really just rapidly accelerated that trend. And it's extended that behavior not just to young consumers, but to older segments."
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