CUES SKYBOX BLOG

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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. […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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 […]

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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, […]

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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 […]

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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.

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Six Expectations of Business Owners

Does your credit union meet these six needs? By Theresa Witham According to data from NCUA call reports, 2,300 credit unions are engaged in member business services. The credit union industry holds $54 billion in loans with an average loan amount of $240,000. Jim Devine and Bob Hogan, lead faculty at CUES School of Business Lending, have over 30 years of experience in business lending and have worked with thousands of small business owners. They have explored the questions: What is it that small business owners are looking for and why would they pick you? Devine and Hogan say the answer boils down to the following six things business owners expect to receive from their financial services provider: 1. Access to credit: “They will be looking for you to help them with their capital formation strategy and develop for them the types of credit products that will address their needs. This will vary dramatically,” says Devine, founder, chairman and CEO of Hipereon, Inc., and include term and short-term loans, lines of credit, and real estate loans. 2. Be valued: Business owners want to be valued as a member of your credit union and acknowledged for their economic commitment to the […]

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Digital Marketing Gets Results

It’s no longer just a trend, but a vital tool. By Amy Neale Sponsored by CU Solutions Group If more and more of your credit union’s marketing budget is going to digital, you’ll want to read this article. Financial institutions nationwide increased their online advertising spend from $2.4 billion in 2013 to $2.9 billion in 2014, according to eMarketer. While this figure may not seem overly impressive, the study also shows a decline in media ad spending in all other categories: television, newspapers, magazines and newspapers. Pick Pandora It’s become obvious that digital marketing can no longer be seen as an industry trend, but should be viewed as a vital marketing tool instead. One of the best bets for your digital marketing dollar is quickly becoming Pandora Internet Radio. Many advertising dollars are being shifted toward Pandora media buys, and here are some reasons why it’s worth it: You can target your marketing efforts with almost pinpoint accuracy, with segment and sub-segment choices that include household income, auto preferences, ethnicity, education levels, and home and business ownership. 28 percent of U.S. adults who are online stream music on their computer or smartphone; yet only 6 percent are willing to pay […]

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Bridge Over Troubled Water

CUES members with a problem to solve can turn to the CUES Net listerv and CUES Members Share. By Lisa Hochgraf The 1970 Simon and Garfunkel hit “Bridge Over Troubled Water” makes me think about how CUES members help each other out. As the moderator of the members-only CUES Net listerv, I see it every day. In the last week, CUES Net participants have helped  each other with ideas and perspectives about everything from forms vendors to cash recycler security to who should attend supervisory committee meetings. Many times “CUES Netters,” as they are affectionately called, help other members by submitting a policy or document to CUES Members Share. Just in the last two months, documents related to CEO performance, loans to employees, indirect lending and anti-harrassment have all been contributed. The really cool part is that these CUES members also celebrate successes together. I guess this fits Simon and Garfunkel’s song lyrics, too: “Your time has come to shine/All your dreams are on their way/see how they shine. Oh, if you need a friend. I’m sailing right behind.” Lisa Hochgraf is a CUES senior editor. It’s a great time to join CUES. New members get the rest of 2015 […]

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A Deep Definition of ‘Governance’

How does your board use its formal and informal authority for the good of the credit union? By Michael Daigneault, CCD While there are as many definitions as governance as there are consultants in this world, here at Quantum Governance, we believe that governance ultimately deals with the legitimate distribution of authority throughout a system–whether it’s a country, a corporation or a nonprofit like a credit union. We believe governance is ultimately how organizational leaders use both the formal and the informal authorities vested in them. How they think, make decisions, develop strategy, persuade, develop future leaders, structure their board and execute initiatives. How they communicate with key stakeholders … with their staff … with their customers … with their marketplace … with their constituents … and even with each other. Good governance also applies to how your board oversees your CEO; tracks its own performance and the CU’s results; conducts its budgeting process; allocates its resources; addresses membership or constituent needs; moves in and through its community; adheres to ethics and financial integrity standards. And, yes, good governance is even about thinking in a genuinely strategic manner. There are some who say “good governance” centers on legal issues–bylaws and conflict-of-interest policies–and how […]

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Are Your Gen Y Staff Satisfied Enough to Stay?

Education and training can help make sure Millennials not only like their jobs but plan to keep working at them. By Lisa Hochgraf As you look around your credit union office, are your Millennial-aged employees looking pretty happy? If they are, you probably should give yourself a pat on the back. But a Harvard Business Review survey suggests you might want to look deeper. It found that 69 percent of Gen Y professionals working in Fortune 500 companies reported being satisfied at work. At the same time, 48 percent said they planned to stay at their current job two years or less. One of the reasons, according to another Harvard Business School report, “Danger in the Middle: Why Middle Managers Aren’t Prepared to Lead,” is that many of these “satisfied” but “planning to leave” staffers are in middle management–a place where more training is needed if staff are to do two key things: a) find success in executing strategy and b) transform from “order givers” to leaders. Amy Fox, CEO and founder of Accelerated Business Results, Cincinnati, offers three insights for better training these members of your team: 1. Teach “how” as well as “what” and “why.” Middle managers need […]

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To Connect With Millennials, Stay Connected!

Go where they go; know what they know. By Lauren Giannini Sponsored by CU24 You can’t ignore the Millennials. Also known as Generation Y, Millennials make up the largest generation, more than 80 million people. This is certainly a large enough group to play a critical role in the future of the credit union movement. What does it take to attract and keep these key members of our society as part of our community? Well, as with every other market segment, you’ve got to play on their level. If you’ve ever spent time with any Millennial friends, you’ve surely noticed a common, recurring theme: They are connected, whether it’s via a smartphone, tablet, or laptop or–maybe soon–a watch. Millennials are rarely seen with their heads behind a newspaper. They have mastered and prefer having their lives at their fingertips: texting for communication, Uber for transportation, Pandora for music, Urbanspoon for restaurants, Googling for information. Heads down, fingers flying, they’re connected. So, you think you’ve figured it out and the answer is Facebook? Then you’re behind in this game. You’ve got to go beyond. Tech-savvy as they are, Millennials are using multiple social media platforms for not only networking and communication, […]

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Redefining ‘Small’ a Big Help for Many CUs

One expert says NCUA’s new definition will give ‘small entities’ a better chance of survival. This is bonus coverage from “Looking to Launch” in the upcoming June issue of CUES’ Credit Union Management magazine. By Diane Franklin The National Credit Union Administration Board’s unanimous approval of a proposal to raise the “small entity” asset ceiling from $50 million to $100 million is good news for the credit union industry, according to Barb Lowman, SVP/account processing solutions for financial services technology provider Fiserv Inc., a CUES Supplier member based in Brookfield, Wis. Lowman observes that, based on NCUA figures, adoption of the proposal will raise the number of federally insured credit unions in the “small” classification to 77 percent from its current 65 percent. “We’re still waiting to see clearly what those benefits will be,” Lowman says. “We anticipate that some of it’s going to come in the form of less stringent requirements from a compliance perspective, but it also may include financial relief, such as funding through grants and programs that will help small credit unions launch some of the technology solutions that are vital to their survival.” Some in the industry were hoping that the “small” designation would go […]

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Millennials Value Coaching and Talented Colleagues

Get more of both for yours: Nominate them by June 5 to participate in the CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec challenge. By Lisa Hochgraf According to a February Harvard Business Review article, motivating Millennial employees boils down to one thing: coaching. Importantly, the article suggests that the coaching Millennials want is not about telling them what to do, but helping them to achieve all they are capable of doing and being. This makes me think about what Alex Castley said during his acceptance speech after being named the 2014 CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec last November. Engagement and communications manager at $602 million Integris Credit Union, Prince George, British Columbia, Castley thanked his CEO, CUES member David Bird, CCE, for being the kind of coach that Millennials want. “Here’s really the reason I’m here today, because without him I wouldn’t have the autonomy to do the funny good things I do on a daily basis,” he said, adding with a quavery voice: “Thank you, David.” The Harvard Business Review article also reported that Millennials value coaches who help them spend time with talented people–with the idea that those talented people will help Millennials up their own game. Castley’s […]

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Are You Ready for Hispanic Homebuyers?

Begin your strategy to connect with them today. By Wallace Jones Sponsored by CU Members Mortgage As a leading mortgage partner within the credit union industry, we are often asked what the future of home lending will look like. Will rates go up? Will compliance struggles prevent growth? Will lending thrive? Thriving depends in part on this key question: How well do you know the future borrower? While rates remain historically low, it’s inevitable that they will go up. Compliance struggles continue to be a part of the lending atmosphere, but they will be managed and eventually become less burdensome. Therefore, lending will continue. Whether or not it thrives will be up to your credit union and how well it adapts to the marketplace. Sounds simple enough, but without the proper research and preparation, your credit union’s home loan program could become stagnant or even shrink. Determining the future borrower starts with knowing about household growth. The growth of households is one of the most important predictors of potential home ownership gains. Knowing exactly who your borrowers are, what they need, and how to reach them will decide your success in lending. These facts about the growth of the marketplace […]

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