CUES SKYBOX BLOG

Page 1 of 20

Demo or Die

CUES’ Strategic Innovation Institute explores the importance of prototypes and pilots. By Lisa Hochgraf The motto of the MIT Media Lab, “Demo or die,” suggests an important innovation concept–that only the act of trying an idea out can transform it into something truly valuable. Conversely, a demo (or prototype or pilot) could also show you why the idea you love really isn’t the best path for your credit union. At CUES’ Strategic Innovation Institute I (slated for Sept. 20-25 at MIT), Zeynep Ton will take attendees through a case study of the highly successful Spanish grocery chain Mercadona. An adjunct associate professor in the operations management group at MIT’s Sloan School of Management, Ton suggests that the Mercadona corporate culture makes sure employees have time to look for improvements. And they are encouraged to take their ideas and pilot them. One Mercadona employee, for example, worked with his manager to pilot a change in the packaging for the store’s brand of cold cream. The new package allowed the store to stack more bottles of cold cream on a shelf, saving space and ensuring available inventory for a customer. Another employee explored putting stew vegetables near the meats so customers could […]

Read Full Entry

It’s a Board Choice: High Performing or Not?

If you don’t choose high performance, circumstances may eventually force your hand. By Deedee Myers, Ph.D., MSC, PCC A high-performing organization is directly connected to a high-performing board. So how can you know which type of board yours has chosen to be? A high performing board is obvious because the room is vibrant, the organization’s performance is strong, and the board and CEO have a viable leadership relationship. Unfortunately, high-performing boards are a minority, as most boards could be described as “entrenched.” (For more on the five personalities of boards, including entrenched and high performing, read my “Know Your Rubber Band” post, also on CUES Skybox.) When a CEO is asked about the quality of the board of directors, the answer is spontaneous and open when the board is high performing. The CEO’s face brightens, and he or she smiles while expressing three to four of the board’s best attributes. Read the statements below: How many apply to your board? If I missed some attributes, write them in the comment box at the end of the blog. Let’s share what we see as high performance for all our boards. makes a difference in challenging assumptions; adds tremendous strategic value; offers […]

Read Full Entry

Defining–and Achieving–Omnichannel ‘Consistency’

For success with member service delivery, high touch and high tech don’t have to match, but they do have to meet. By Stan Cowan Sponsored by D+H When it comes to consumer experiences, consistency through every channel is key, right? The best answer to that question may be the dreaded “Yes, but….” Think about it. Does it make sense to squeeze everything that a branch can offer onto your digital channels? Maybe, if it’s your website or your online banking platform, viewed on a laptop/desktop. But what if your member is on a 4-inch smartphone screen? Thinking about it in reverse, you also wouldn’t offer remote deposit capture (mobile deposit) to those accessing their accounts with you via a desktop PC. Not offering every feature through every delivery system isn’t pure consistency, is it? Yet a “consistent” omnichannel experience is still ideal. A key thing to think about as you try to give members the experiences they expect from each delivery channel is how high- touch (personal) experiences fit together with high tech (delivery using the best and most exciting new technology). For example, when your members visit your branch, they may go through the drive-up and interact with a […]

Read Full Entry

What Do Designations Demonstrate?

The “CSE” behind Chris Chippindale’s name shows he has taken time to add useful tools to his leadership toolbox. And he’s continuing on that path. At CEO Institute II: Organizational Effectiveness at Cornell University earlier this month, attendees learned a variety of techniques for decision-making, leading change and negotiating. During one of the class discussions, CUES member Chris Chippindale, CSE, described the value he’d found in a previous course, CUES School of Applied Strategic Management™, slated for Sept. 14-17 in San Antonio. Participation in this program in 2007 earned him his Certified Senior Executive designation. We followed up with Chippindale—SVP/strategic initiates at $4.25 billion Ent Federal Credit Union, Colorado Springs—to learn more. What did you like about CUES School of Applied Strategic Management? The simulation exercise was excellent. Being able to test out theories and have discussions on decisions that have short- and long-term impacts and then see the ramifications was enlightening. It was helpful to see the impact of a decision over multiple quarters in just a few minutes. What was your key takeaway from the program? You need to think long term. It’s easy to be reactive when things start happening but, if you have a good foundation, you need […]

Read Full Entry

Do You Have a Culture of Health?

Or do you just have a wellness program? By Jill Lackey Sponsored by Allegacy Business Solutions An HR manager named Carl says: “We’ve had a wellness program now for two years and we haven’t saved a dime. Our insurance carrier promised lower rates if a certain percentage of our employees participate in the wellness program. Any savings from the carrier due to participation was offset by the fact our overall claims costs went up. We implemented a weight loss challenge, offered a lunch-n-learn on heart disease and we have an employee assistance program as part of our benefits plan. What more could I have done?” Carl’s story is very common. So what’s the problem? Arbitrary wellness offerings do not create a culture of health. Yes, having a culture of health includes some of the same things that Carl invested in, but it is so much more. Health and well-being is not just about one’s physical health. As a result, a culture of health is holistic. It includes having a sense of purpose, as well as emotional, social and financial health. If an employee is deeply in debt, fearful of losing his home and unable to pay his monthly bills, he […]

Read Full Entry

EMV: A Stepping Stone to Mobile

Consumers continue to expect faster point-of-sale payments. By Mark Sievewright U.S. credit unions are gearing up for the transition to EMV-compliant credit and debit cards (aka “chip” cards) – a move that has the potential to reduce fraud and increase security in certain payment transactions. A newly released Association for Financial Professionals report shows that 62 percent of surveyed financial professionals reported their firms were targeted by payment fraud in 2014; this same report also shows that 92 percent of respondents “firmly believe” EMV cards will be effective in reducing point-of-sale fraud. But in addition to helping reduce fraud, EMV is part of a broader change in how consumers are paying for goods and services. Consumers can use an EMV card at the point of sale to conduct a contactless “tap and go” transaction. These contactless EMV transactions will feel similar to smartphone-enabled payments, such as Apple Pay, Samsung Pay and Google Wallet, both in terms of how they take place—and how fast. For consumers, the convenience of “tap and go” smartphone and EMV transactions will ultimately drive a demand for faster, real-time financial services – including enhanced mobile banking and payment applications, remote deposit capabilities, loan application approvals, person-to-person […]

Read Full Entry

3 Considerations for Commercial Real Estate Lending

Is your credit union prepared for these? By Lisa Hochgraf Most financial institutions distinguish commercial real estate loans from commercial loans because of their unique challenges, Jim Devine told attendees of the recent CUES Webinar, “Commercial Real Estate Lending Challenges and Growth.” CEO of Hiperion Inc. and a co-presenter for CUES Advanced School of Business Lending: Commercial Real Estate Lending, (slated for Sept. 21-25 in San Antonio), Devine identified six ways commercial real estate loans differ from member business loans. Here are the first three: 1. Loan size. A member business loan might be $250,000; a commercial real estate loan might be $400,000 and up. 2. Net operating income vs. cash flow. A commercial real estate loan will be considered based on net operating income (all revenue from the property minus all reasonably necessary operating expenses); a member business loan will be considered based on cash flow (movement of money in and out a business). NOI will be different for an industrial complex, a multi-family rental unit, and an office complex. 3. Balance sheet dynamics. Commercial real estate has virtually no related balance sheet changes to consider: Decisions about commercial loans, in contrast, can be affected by dynamic changes to […]

Read Full Entry

The 4 Pillars of the High Performing IT Organization

It’s the brutal truth: IT is a key player in aligning delivery systems for your CU’s survival. By Lisa Hochgraf Making delivery systems both serve members well and be truly efficient requires credit unions to have several factors in place. One of these, according to CUES Supplier member and strategic provider Cornerstone Advisors, Scottsdale, Ariz., is a truly high performing information technology function at your credit union. Cornerstone Director of IT Leadership Butch Leonardson has identified four pillars of the high performing IT organization: 1. The priority. According to Leonardson, the high performing IT group will have the members’ experience as top of the list. The chief information officer will look in from the outside to make sure members are delighted by their interactions with the CU. As a result, IT becomes a positive player in unifying the CU around key initiatives 2. The ‘therefore.’ A high performing IT organization will have a strategy that is a direct result of its member focus. For example, our members need similar experiences with us regardless of delivery system; therefore we will choose vendors and configurations that support this vision. 3. The project leadership. In a high performing organization, implementation/project management becomes a […]

Read Full Entry

Take Off the Lid

Remove the hassle factors for members. By Laura Lynch In a room full of conference attendees, jars of candy are placed around the room. At the end of the day, some jars are almost empty; others are nearly full. A simple factor influenced which jars where nearly full: Those jars had lids. “Hassle factors really matter,” said Tansley Stearns, chief impact officer at Filene Research Institute, Madison, Wis. She related the candy jar story to attendees of the CUES Webinar “Developing a Great Member Experience” on July 24. Stearns was part of the candy jar experiment at the hands of behavioral economists at a recent conference. “When you’re looking at member experience, you’re not even competing against the credit union down the street, Stearns said. “You’re not competing against the big banks and community banks; you are competing against that very easy, simple, engaging experience that folks like Amazon have built.” Stearns challenged webinar attendees to remove hassle factors for members–even if it’s just one a month that gets taken away. She pointed to a new measure for gauging consumer loyalty: customer/member effort score. The measurement is composed of a single question: How easy was it to do business with […]

Read Full Entry

Know Your Rubber Band

What’s holding your board back from becoming high performing?. By Deedee Myers, Ph.D. Change of any type creates tension between what is and what wants to be. Change is like the tension in a rubber band. The way your board operates today is familiar, and yet a board may often discuss the need to change—and to become a high-performing board—yet still not take steps in that direction. Why? Ray Davis, CEO of Umpqua Bank, wrote: “I believe that each of us has a rubber band with one end attached to our back side and the other nailed firmly to the wall of tradition. Even when we want to change, and do change, we tend to relax and the rubber band snaps us back into our comfort zone.” Understanding your board’s conditioned tendencies–what Davis terms “the comfort zone”–is a major step toward change. When we help boards make transformative change toward being high- or higher-performing boards, a key first step is for every director to know what style the board has now. We have developed an easy survey form, based on the work of Beverly Behan, that we use to help boards consider their current style of governing: A hostile board […]

Read Full Entry

Overcoming 5 Barriers to Workplace Wellness

You and your employees will both benefit from having a culture of health and well-being. By Jill Lackey Sponsored by Allegacy Business Solutions A healthy workforce is an asset. Fewer sick days mean more productivity, innovation and profit, which we have seen first hand at Allegacy Business Solutions. Since beginning our wellness culture five years ago, we have saved almost $500,000 in health care insurance costs, seen a 12.5 percent decrease in absenteeism, enjoyed a 95 percent participation rate in the program and, most importantly, celebrated having employee health risk factors go from 2.4 to 1.2 per employee. One of many success stories is Berlinda, who was previously inactive, overweight, and on several blood pressure medications. In two years, she has lost 40 pounds, no longer needs her medications, and regularly participates in 10k runs and half marathons. That is a difference that truly matters! Because we believe so passionately in building a culture of health, Allegacy Business Solutions created a credit union service organization with a staff of wellness experts to help credit unions do what we have done. For example, we have experience in overcoming the following five barriers to wellness. Costs. According to the Bank of America […]

Read Full Entry

Assess for Success

8 surefire times you need to evaluate your board’s performance. By Michael G. Daigneault, CCD In a recent study conducted by Quantum Governance, only 22 percent of credit unions rated themselves as “effective” or “very effective” at conducting a regular process of self-evaluation. Comparatively, 34 percent felt they were ineffective or even “very ineffective” in doing so. With the long tenure of credit union board members and the continually evolving business climate that faces today’s credit union, remaining relevant, current and ahead of the curve is more important than ever. In fact, it is incumbent upon every credit union director to do so. A board assessment is a critical component in an ongoing process of board renewal, strengthening and improvement. Done well, it can provide an objective and comprehensive perspective that ultimately will help your board and senior management team focus your efforts, activities and precious resources. Together, you will identify your credit union’s strengths and challenges and, in doing so, find ways to move forward collectively to the betterment of your members. You can frame your issues in a new way, generating bright ideas and insights that will lead your credit union effectively into the future. Plus, you will […]

Read Full Entry

Creating Mobile ‘Moments’

A good CU app reaches out to members–and responds to them–at just the right time. By William Wille Sponsored by LSC Today’s members value access and have higher expectations than ever before when it comes to carrying on a conversation – especially when it’s convenient for them. Your credit union can be part of the decision process, even when you can’t be there. Imagine the following scenarios. Right Touch, Right Time Your member is sitting in a dealership feeling nervous and uncertain. Their family has outgrown their current car which they paid off years ago. Now they need a bigger vehicle, which means a new car payment. Member’s concerns: What can I afford? What will I need to sacrifice for it? Will I qualify? Most of all, is this offer the best I can do? With a mobile loan request form like the one on the CU Mobile Apps platform, your credit union can be part of this process. With a few taps on their mobile device, your member can not only find out your current rates and terms, it puts them one step closer to loan approval. One-on-One Discussions There can be many circumstances that stop your members from […]

Read Full Entry

Innovation ‘Judo’

Disarm roadblocks on the path to creativity. By Lisa Hochgraf It turns out that innovation isn’t just about coming up with some new ideas. It’s also about forging a path to their success. That means selling them to the decision-makers and—long term—developing a culture that truly embraces trying something new. Neal Thornberry, Ph.D., is an innovation expert who advises not letting organizational “wackiness” kill great ideas. “Organizational design wackiness is not usually generated on purpose or with malice; instead it usually develops over time and starts out with the best of intentions,” writes Thornberry in his book, Innovation Judo: Disarming Roadblocks and Blockheads on the Path to Creativity. If the unintended consequences of wackiness “are not monitored and modified, then the wackiness factor grows.” Faculty director for innovation initiatives at the Naval Postgraduate School’s Center for Executive Education, Monterey, Calif., Thornberry cites the following example of organizational wackiness: “All organizations need financial control systems, but when the finance people produce so many forms and reporting requirements that it takes away from selling the product, then this is wackiness.” To combat the sort of wackiness that gets in the way of implementing new and useful ideas, Thornberry offers seven principles of […]

Read Full Entry

3 Red Flags Signal Inadequate Member Service

Eliminate these inefficiencies in the back office. By Alissa Fry-Harris Sponsored by Bluepoint Solutions What does back-office inefficiency have to do with attracting new members? Or retaining existing members? It’s a matter of priorities–time your employees spend on busywork can’t be spent on serving members. But in a world where every dollar is also in demand for mobile technology and community outreach programs, it can be difficult (or seem impossible) to prioritize process investments. Here are three red flags that mean you should dig deeper to unearth hidden sources of inefficiency and uproot threats to superior service: You need more resources. Catering to new and prospective members takes money. Ovum predicts global retail banking IT spending to hit a record high by the end of 2015 ($131 billion), largely composed of investment in mobile and digital channels. These services can be partially self-funded as new members and deeper relationships bring incremental increases in revenues. But growth also brings increased pressure on staff, which in turn magnifies the effect of any currently broken processes. What member-facing programs could you fund if you freed the equivalent of one, two, three (or more) full-time employees even while you grow? You see paper, paper, […]

Read Full Entry

A Common Goal: Growth

CUES programs—including this summer’s CEO Institute I—bring together executives who want to grow their knowledge and their organizations. By Noel Andrew Sanger, CSE What a ride it has been from the first day (in August 2011) that I accepted the position of market vice president/Arkansas at United Federal Credit Union. From purchasing a bank to adding branches across the country, the growth has been amazing. United FCU was named NAFCU Credit Union of the year in 2013, one of the Best Places to Work in Arkansas in 2014 and, as of this year, a top 100 CU! The organization’s growth has been supported by my own professional growth through CUES programs. I earned my CSE designation (certified senior executive) by attending CUES School of Applied Strategic Management in 2013. In that program, we actually “ran” a virtual credit union using a computer simulation. Last year I was a finalist in the CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec (#NTCUE) competition, an awesome personal and professional growth experience. I was excited to learn about winner Alex Castley’s full scholarship to two segments of CEO Institute, CUES’ flagship learning experience for growing executive talent. I thought to myself, “How am I going to […]

Read Full Entry

Capture Commercial Loan Potential

Many signs point to small business and commercial real estate lending as a good next step for credit unions. By Ryal Tayloe When I look at the marketplace, I see many indicators suggesting that credit unions’ role in offering member business loans has already improved and will continue to grow. For example, the second graph in this Callahan and Associates report shows member business lending was much stronger in 2013 and 2014 than in prior recent years. Additionally, on June 18, the National Credit Union Administration approved a new business lending proposal designed to bring significant changes to oversight, including the placement of responsibility on credit unions to write their own business loan policies without prescriptive regulatory limits, removing loan-to-value limits, and removing the cap consideration for participation loans. These changes are currently out for a 60-day comment period. Meantime, all signs point to the outcome of increased opportunity for credit unions to expand member business lending activity, while also putting the burden of sound policies and processes on the credit unions making business loans. The economic downturn may have presented the most promising opportunity for credit unions to realize they can do much more! As banks tightened their credit […]

Read Full Entry

Two Tips for Getting the Trust of Millennials

Offer money management education and use analytics to target individuals within Gen Y. By Laura Lynch Many credit union mission statements include the words “trusted financial partner,” observed Jesse Boyer, president/CEO of CUES Supplier member and partner DigitalMailer, Inc., during his presentation of CUES webinar “Marketing Your Credit Union to Millennials.” “Millennials are looking for a partner who will provide them with tools to manage their money and share knowledge on investing wisely,” Boyer said. Gaining members’ trust is a credit union strength. Leverage it to attract young members by offering financial education and personalized service, using analytics. According to the 2014 TD Bank Financial Education Survey, 30 percent of Millennials say they need help budgeting. Offering money management workshops is one way to show Millennials you have their best interests in mind, Boyer suggested. What’s more, this group is currently underbanked: 56 percent of 18- to 24-year-olds do not own any banking product and, when they do, it’s usually just a savings account (41 percent). The percentage of those without any banking products jumps to 70 percent in the 25- to 29-year-old range. “The big task for CUs is to use analytics to find out what makes members tick and […]

Read Full Entry

Metrics on Mobile Adoption

What they mean for credit unions By Mark Sievewright It’s shaping up to be a memorable year for mobile technology in the credit union industry. We’ve witnessed a more powerful consensus emerge on the need for innovative and scalable mobile technology, which can deliver an enhanced member experience in tandem with growth. That’s good news when you consider that many studies, including our soon-to-be released 2014 Fiserv Consumer Trends survey, show that interest in and demand for mobile banking and payments is growing across the board. Fiserv conducts its consumer trends study annually. The 2014 results are representative of 106 million U.S. households that use the Internet. Let’s examine what the new metrics tell us about the demand for mobile banking, and what credit unions might do about it. The number of mobile banking users continues to increase in tandem with smartphone ownership. In 2014, 68 percent of households owned a smartphone, a 7 percent increase from 2013. Of these households, 48 percent–approximately 35 million households–reported using mobile banking in the past month. For credit unions, this means member demand for high-quality mobile banking is greater than ever before and now is the time to deliver an exceptional mobile experience. […]

Read Full Entry

CUs Can Learn from Apple Watch’s Onboarding

Personalized training could really pay off. By Tim McAlpine Apple did a fantastic job making sure that my experience with the Apple Watch was amazing. From the online shopping, order tracking, unboxing to initial setup, every detail was easy and thoughtful. A couple days before the watch arrived, I received this email message from Apple:          Dear Tim, Your Apple Watch will be in your hands shortly. Once it is, we can help you get started right in the comfort of your own home with online Personal Setup. It’s a video session where we show you how to set up Apple Watch with your iPhone, walk you through some key features, and answer your questions. We’ll also point out some great apps, and help you personalize your device. I took Apple up on the offer. I signed up online and I immediately received a personalized message from my Apple Watch specialist, Taylor. The message included instructions about the session and finished with a smiling photo of Taylor in his email signature. The next day I logged into the training session on my computer and was greeted with live video of an Apple Watch on a desk being controlled by Taylor’s […]

Read Full Entry

Exercise: Gain Strategic Clarity

As fall strategic planning sessions approach, try this approach to remove any distracting ‘shiny objects.’ By Jeff Rendel, CSP If “shiny object syndrome” is distracting your credit union from discerning its true goals, here’s a surefire way to whip it: Embrace it, but only for a little while. The late Steve Jobs was known to bring together his top 100 executives for a retreat each year to flesh out new and refined ideas for Apple’s future. During a session, he would give his executives an assignment: Draw up a list of 10 strategic ideas that Apple should be doing next. Jobs would take to the white board and write down all of his executives’ thoughts. After much jockeying and lots of ideas crossed off this list, the group would finalize a list of 10. As Jobs looked over the list, he would insist that Apple could only focus on three. When asked if he was proud of what Apple chose to do, Jobs would reply in the affirmative, but further emphasize that he was equally, if not more, proud of what Apple chose not to do. Focus was key in the midst of great ideas. Perhaps saying “no” was more […]

Read Full Entry

Your CU Doesn’t Need an Apple Watch App

But you might want to consider text notifications and Apple Pay for this wearable. By Tim McAlpine My Apple Watch arrived in early June. I ordered it on the release date (don’t judge me), and waited and waited for it to arrive. Meanwhile, I read the good, the tepid and the bad reviews. I did my best to reserve judgment. When it came, I installed many of the available watch apps, tried them once and haven’t been back. The capabilities of most apps are limited and, in most cases, navigating the tiny screen is harder than just grabbing your iPhone. This will likely change with operating system upgrades. For now, I find myself using the clock (go figure), notifications, and the built-in health and fitness tracking capabilities the most. I’ve worn a Fitbit on my wrist for the past couple of years, and I do like the Apple Watch better for basic step and calorie-counting. Having a built-in heart-rate monitor is a nice bonus. Apple Watch notifications, including text messages and calendar alerts, are very handy. I often miss text messages from my wife and kids on my iPhone. When wearing the watch and a notification comes in, I get […]

Read Full Entry

Bridging the Brand Gap

Thoughts on how to keep your efforts from falling flat. By Mark Arnold Branding can change a credit union. The key word is “can.” Many times a credit union embarks upon a new brand or recreates an existing brand. Perhaps the board, management team or marketing department decide key targets, develop a new look and even draft a catchy tagline. But then the brand falls flat. What happened? In many cases the credit union has fallen into “the brand gap.” Brand Gap The brand gap is the tension between the operational nature of banking and the creative/strategic skills of branding. There can often be a gap between key areas of the credit union. For example, there are possible brand gaps: between branding and strategy, between branding and staff and between branding and operations. The brand gap essentially becomes a leadership challenge for credit unions. Gap Between Branding and Strategy Branding is a strategic process. The brand plan must tie directly to the strategic plan and the strategic plan must incorporate the brand plan. There is no one without the other. As Marty Neumeir says in The Brand Gap, “The secret of a living brand is that it lives throughout the company, […]

Read Full Entry

Capitalize on 4 Trends to Ensure Wallet Share

Member experience, channel integration, security and personalized solutions are key. By Samantha Paxson Sponsored by CO-OP Financial Services Credit unions can compete with any financial institution in terms of wallet share for their plastic and digital payment cards, but they must constantly expose members to the range of services and technology they provide. We can begin to do this by remembering that we truly are in business as “people helping people.” So, we need to ask ourselves, “How are we naturally engaging with our members to help them navigate their financial lives through our industry’s wide array of offerings and platforms?” Credit unions have a better opportunity than any other services provider to help members solve their financial life goals. In doing so, we can propel them organically across products and platform, to the benefit of members and credit unions. There are four key consumer and technology trends today that need to be leveraged if credit unions are to sustain wallet share–and truly help our members. First, deliver an unmatched member experience, one that is consistently “fast and brilliant.” Consumers are impatient and want financial technologies that are real-time, delivered in a pleasing way, and built to easily address and […]

Read Full Entry

4 Tips for Fall Strategy Session Success

Your mindset, business model, people management efforts and ‘focusing on the why’ all matter to strategy planning. The July issue of Credit Union Management magazine will include a feature story about how to use online board portals to support boards in making time to focus on strategy–rather than getting into the weeds. As a bonus to that article, Michael Hudson, Ph.D., sends us this video about how to make your fall 2015 strategy planning session a real success. Hudson is president of Credit Union Strategy, Rehoboth Beach, Del.   Talk strategy with Hudson–who will be a presenter–plus with your peers and other experts at Execu/Net, Aug. 30-Sept. 2 in Jackson Hole, Wyo. Learn more about the roles of directors in strategy setting by attending Director Risk and Compliance Seminar, Sept. 14-15, and CUES Director Development Seminar, Sept. 16-18 in Savannah, Ga.

Read Full Entry

Page 1 of 20