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CUNA News Podcast
23 minutes | 4 days 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 | 5 days 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 | 11 days 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 | 18 days 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 | 19 days 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 | 25 days 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 | a month 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 | a month 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 | a month 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 | 2 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 | 2 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."
19 minutes | 2 months ago
Sponsored: Automation and the month-end close process
At the end of every month or quarter, credit union finance professionals tackle the close process, or the preparation of the credit union’s financial statements for publication. It requires extensive research and reconciliation on the part of the finance team, and completing these tasks manually can be challenging. Nancy Wu, head of sales and customer support for SkyStem, says many credit unions experience pain points in their close processes. This is where automation tools can help to streamline the close process, removing inefficiencies and allowing teams to work more effectively together. For $551 million asset 121 Financial Credit Union in Jacksonville, Florida, implementing automation made the close process easier on the finance team. Chief financial officer Benjamin Munday says this led to smarter ways of working, improved morale, and happier team members. In this episode of the CUNA News Podcast, sponsored by SkyStem, Wu and Munday share best practices for identifying an automation solution that fits your credit union’s needs, getting employees on board with new tools and processes, and working through potential challenges like the coronavirus pandemic.
30 minutes | 2 months ago
Jim Nussle and Gigi Hyland on financial well-being
As credit unions work to assist members through the challenges of the coronavirus pandemic, a focus on member financial well-being has come to the forefront. For CUNA and the National Credit Union Foundation, advancing the concept of financial well-being isn’t a new initiative, but it’s one that has taken on increasing importance in recent days. On this episode of the CUNA News Podcast, CUNA President/CEO Jim Nussle and Foundation Executive Director Gigi Hyland explain the meaning of financial well-being and why it’s a key idea for credit unions to understand and consider. They also discuss how credit unions are working toward member financial well-being during the pandemic and what credit unions can do to share their stories with members, communities, and lawmakers. You can listen and subscribe to the CUNA News Podcast in Apple’s iTunes Store, Spotify, Google Play, and Stitcher Radio.
16 minutes | 2 months ago
Sponsored: Sustainable payment cards
Max Michieli remembers the moment he realized the shocking amount of single-use plastic being produced, a realization that ignited his passion to develop a payment card that limited the amount of new plastic used in production. Michieli, director of new card development and sustainability products at CPI Card Group, was visiting with a supply chain partner CPI Card Group was working with on its new eco-focused payment card solution. He recalls seeing plastic fly off the production line at a rate of one mile of plastic film every five minutes and learning that this warehouse—which was nearly 50,000 square feet with 23-foot ceilings—turned over all this single use plastic each month. “My stomach churned at the thought of all this plastic being thrown away just seconds after it was consumed,” Michieli says. “That’s the moment I realized the impact not only of the problem that we were trying to solve, but of the solution we have to offer.” The solution CPI Card Group came up with was integrating upcycled, recovered ocean-bound plastic into the production of payment cards, in an attempt to use and divert plastic that would typically end up in oceans, shorelines, and waterways. While there were hurdles to overcome, Michieli says it was worth the effort. “I feel like we’re changing the industry,” Michieli says. “The suppliers were, quite frankly, nervous and reluctant to start running eco-focused materials, but I think once you engage them and walk with them through the process, it’s a very compelling argument to say that we can make sustainable business decisions and not sacrifice on quality.” In this episode of the CUNA News Podcast, sponsored by CPI Card Group, Michieli discusses eco-focused card solutions, the process of developing these cards, and what benefits offering a more, sustainable card solution has for credit unions.
18 minutes | 2 months ago
Sponsored: Finance technology leader
As with virtually every other area of the credit union, finance is increasingly driven by technology. CPA.com is a leader in providing technology that drives innovation within the finance space. Its RIVIO Clearinghouse has helped support the transformation of financial information exchange in the U.S. market. Kalil Merhib is the leader of CPA.com’s sales organization. He was instrumental in leading the launch of RIVIO. In this episode, sponsored by CPA.com, Merhib discusses how RIVIO facilitates the audit process at credit unions and improves the member service experience. Digital technology is disrupting the traditional business model in the finance ecosystem, says Merhib. This agile environment requires a willingness “to learn, relearn, and unlearn” to keep in step with the shifting demands and increased complexity of data. “You're seeing more data and metadata around the information that's being exchanged,” says Merhib. “That allows for stakeholders to make better decisions and have more insights into what's going on in their ecosystem.”
25 minutes | 3 months ago
Samira Salem on DEI
The credit union movement is currently engaged in crucial conversations about structural racism and social justice. As credit unions consider how they can better support their employees, members, and communities, many are also learning more about diversity, equity, and inclusion—or DEI—and how it can guide credit unions in their efforts. In this episode, Samira Salem, CUNA’s vice president of diversity, equity, and inclusion, joins the CUNA News Podcast for a wide-ranging discussion of DEI principles. Salem defines the elements of DEI, explains how to review the member experience through a DEI lens, shares why credit unions should prioritize DEI during the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic, and more. "It should come as no surprise that diverse and inclusive organizations are more collaborative and more innovative," says Salem. "They're better able to avoid risks. We see better team performance, customer orientation, and improved decision-making." Salem emphasizes that implementing DEI practices is both a journey and a lifestyle. "Once you begin to intentionally do this work, it will become part of how you move forward," she says. "It's continuous, and we don't have a road map. We may run into challenges, and we need to be able to pick ourselves up, make course corrections, and continue moving forward."
22 minutes | 3 months ago
Sponsored: Components of a healthy contact center culture
High employee turnover is a common and challenging problem for many credit union contact centers, often harming member service and raising operational costs. While many reasons exist for high turnover, the best way to address this issue is to focus on culture, according to Terri Panhans, vice president of contact center solutions, and Tracy Gudmundson, vice president of contact center operations, for Harland Clarke. This episode of the CUNA News Podcast, sponsored by Harland Clarke, examines the reasons for high contact center turnover, why culture is so important, the components of a healthy culture, and more.
25 minutes | 3 months ago
Empathy as a differentiator
During a time when our country is experiencing a national health emergency, economic decline, and civil unrest, consumers and employees are feeling anxious and uncertain. Empathy is a word that we hear more often in terms of creating value for an organization’s culture. “Empathy is ultimately about stepping into somebody’s else’s shoes and understanding their emotions,” 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. With that understanding, organizations are better able to propose solutions, engage employees, and capture members’ loyalty, according to Paul Robert, CEO of FI Strategies, a strategic partner of CML. As Robert says, empathy is nothing short of a differentiator for organizations in today’s marketplace. It’s a way to attract and retain top talent and enhance the member experience.
13 minutes | 4 months ago
Editors present DEI stories
As populations that constitute credit union members and employees become more diverse, it’s important to understand what diversity, equity, and inclusion, or DEI, mean for the movement. In June, CUNA held a Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion eSchool to explain what DEI is, why it matters for credit unions, and how DEI practices can be implemented. CUNA News editors provided coverage of the DEI eSchool to help credit unions start conversations and consider actions they can take to incorporate DEI principles. This week on the podcast, CUNA News presents audio versions of three DEI-focused stories to come out of the eSchool. The CUNA News team will continue to follow ongoing conversations about diversity, equity, and inclusion. CUNA is also a founding organization of the CU DEI Collective, a group devoted to furthering DEI within the credit union movement.
20 minutes | 4 months ago
Renée Sattiewhite on the Commitment to Change
Much like the rest of the country, the credit union movement is engaged in crucial conversations about understanding structural racism, advancing social justice, and prioritizing diversity, equity, and inclusion. Leading many of these discussions is the African American Credit Union Coalition, or AACUC. In June, the AACUC launched Commitment to Change: Credit Unions Unite Against Racism. This initiative focuses on unification, education, conversations, and investments that will move the credit union movement into a future where diversity, equity, and inclusion can thrive. In this episode, guest host Lauren Williams, CUNA's media relations manager, speaks with Renee Sattiewhite, president and CEO of AACUC. They discuss the philosophy behind the Commitment to Change initiative, how credit unions can support communities of color, advice for allies, and more.
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