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How to Select a Credit Union Strategic Planning Facilitator?

It’s a wild world out there. Disruptive technologies are forcing us to completely reconsider our credit union strategies. If you want your financial institution to be ready for the rocky, futuristic road ahead, you may want to bring on a credit union strategic planning facilitator.

Each summer, hundreds of credit union boards and executives gather at a beautiful offsite location to dream about the future. First comes the icebreaker, then some tough questions. Along the way, we will cover industry trends and peer data before finally jumping into planning. We whip out our sticky notes, markers, and easels, and we begin to democratically home in on a future we can all (mostly) agree with.

Meanwhile, fintechs and non-traditional competitors are breathing down our doors. What if the age-old credit union strategic planning process is too slow. What if our modern world needs modern experts?

If you love the time-honored traditions, are afraid of different viewpoints, or simply don’t want to upset the apple cart, CU2.0 is probably not for you. However, if you want a bold view that focuses on transformational change that will leave a legacy decades from now, read on!

So, how do you select a credit union strategic planning facilitator?

5 Key Criteria to Select a Credit Union Strategic Planning Facilitator

strategic planning for credit unions

  1. Industry Experience
  2. Facilitation Technique
  3. Understanding of Key Trends
  4. Financial Model Understanding
  5. Credit Union Board and Management Expertise

Industry Experience

Credit Unions are a unique animal. We are half non-profit, half cooperative, and half bank. Yes, we know we can’t add. But every aspect of how credit unions plan, fund, and work is different from other businesses in many ways.

Our ways are both our strategic advantage and our Achilles heel. Because of this, having a facilitator that gets the “credit union difference” is essential. Without this alignment, you will waste precious time explaining to the outsider the difference between a credit union and a bank (or why we can’t just raise more capital).

Understanding of ALM, member onboarding, digital blueprints, board governance, and the NCUA are all key elements that your credit union strategic planning consultant should possess.

Facilitation Technique

If you have been through multiple credit union planning sessions, then many of these will feel familiar:

  • Action Planning
  • Brainstorming
  • Energizer
  • Flipchart
  • Go Wild
  • Ground Rules
  • Group Review
  • Ice Breakers
  • Meta-planning
  • Multi-voting
  • Ranking
  • Reverse Brainstorming
  • Round Robin
  • Structure Problem Solving
  • 3-Star Rating
  • Working in pairs or trios
  • All these credit union planning session facilitation techniques are key ways to derive engagement, get involvement, and make sure all key parties are excited and energized by the process.

Make sure you pick a facilitator that has a large bag of facilitation tricks and techniques. In our experience, each board or management team has different hot button issues. Being able to switch gears when one approach isn’t working is a key criteria for making your selection.

Understanding of Key Trends

Sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the trees. If your credit union strategic planning facilitator is still focused on issues and trends from 10 years ago, you might have a problem. It is absolutely essential to find a consultant who can provide a realistic view of the key trends facing the industry and your credit union.

These days, any realistic view should include artificial intelligence, CUSOs, fintech’s, ever changing demographics, and key disruptors. Now more than ever, the future of credit unions will be impacted by non-traditional competitors, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

Financial Model Understanding

While trends are essential at the end of the day, credit unions are member-owned cooperatives that must make some money to survive long-term. Picking a facilitator who can balance modern asset liability management needs with growth concerns is essential.

Credit Union Board and Management Experience

Stories are one of the best ways to relate and change perspectives. Whether it is a key question, insight, or lesson learned, having facilitators who have been on credit union boards, worked at credit unions, or consulted in solving real credit union problems is essential.

 Credit Union 2.0 — Credit Union Strategic Planning Facilitators

Kirk Drake and Chris Otey take a unique approach to planning sessions. Their goals are to deal with some of the real issues facing credit unions. These include:

  •                 Who is your ideal member?
  •                 How do we improve board governance?
  •                 How do we get our board to look more like our membership?
  •                 How do we deal with the onslaught of fintechs and technology?
  •                 How do we change our culture to be more like a fintech?

 As the author of Credit Union 2.0, head of a large technology CUSO, and founder of CU Wallet, Drake has great insights from both his time working at a credit union through his entrepreneurship and board experience.

As board chair of South Bay Credit Union and former CU Wallet and Fiserv executive, Chris has worked with hundreds of credit unions to help them deal with board governance, CUSOs, and other technology challenges.

Credit Union 2.0 — Options

DREAM (Based on the CU2.0 Book)

Credit Unions are under unprecedented attack from all angles. Thousands of fintechs are collectively hurting the bottom line. Regulators are slowing the industry down.

Credit Union 2.0 outlines the DREAM (Differentiation, Repeat and Reinforce, Educate and Excite, Automate and Motivate) methodology that will help your credit union begin the process of digitally engaging your members, building fierce loyalty, and making them feel the credit union difference.

The Credit Union 2.0 movement teaches why we need to change. It emphasizes key case studies from awesome credit unions, lessons learned from other cooperatives, and strategies for creating fierce loyalty.

Some highlights from Credit Union 2.0 include The ultimate first 100 Day Experience, Hacking your CU’s Repeated Mistakes, and Education = Trust | Trust = Sales.

Finally, Credit Union 2.0 will provide an optimistic outline of the credit union of tomorrow. Such a credit union digitally engages members, builds fierce loyalty, scales gracefully, and makes your members feel like they own the place!

PAINT

Kirk Drake, a serial entrepreneur focused on credit union technology and author of CU 2.0, reveals his P.A.I.N.T. strategy you can use to make your credit union more competitive, more creative and more in tune with today’s digital expectations.

If you have struggled with corporate culture, agility, moving faster, or competing with the onslaught of new Fintechs, the P.A.I.N.T. methodology will help your credit union quickly iterate and apply key “Operating System” Strategies to better engage your members.

Take home these 5 tools:

  • Painted Picture
  • Analytics Plan
  • Innovation and Agility Hacks
  • Nimble Algorithms
  • Terminate

Related Content

Credit Union Planning Session Facilitators Guide

 

Credit Union Strategic Planning Facilitators Guide

The leaves are falling.  The smell of warm toner is in the air.  Yup – its budget season and credit unions everywhere are diving into credit union strategic planning.  If you hate strategic planning or think off-site workshops that align all of the stakeholders’ interest – then this post is not for you!  However, if you are a credit union board chair, CEO, or the person responsible for selecting a credit union strategic planning facilitator than this post will be helpful.

Credit Union Strategic Planning FacilitatorsStrategy Planning for Credit Unions

‘Every year 3000-4000 credit unions embark on an annual ritual of thinking of the future, determining BHAGs (big hairy audacious goals) and trying to think how our great credit unions might be disrupted.  In our experience having been part of credit union strategic planning sessions at credit unions, fintechs, CUSOs and as management, board, and facilitators – we have seen all sides.  There is nothing worse than a facilitator that doesn’t get our pain points, industry, process, or our underlying challenges from the past.   So here is a guide to 9 credit union strategic planning facilitators that “get it”.

 Credit Union Solutions Group (CUSG)

CUSG is a CUSO owned by the Michigan Credit Union League  They do a great job helping credit unions focus on how to restart growth and find the right products and services for your members.   The process includes onsite facilitation, consumer research, business trends and disruptors, peer analysis, and best practices.

 Dollar and Associates (Dennis Dollar)

Dennis Dollar is the former board chair of the NCUA.  Dollar Associates are highly knowledgeable on key issues such as mergers, field of membership and other legislative and political issues.  Their credit union strategic planning facilitators follow the SWOT (strength weakness opportunities and threats) approach to planning.  Session included key information on the “condition and future of the credit union industry”

 Callahans www.creditunions.com

Callahan’s has a long history and background in the credit union industry.   Callahan’s has great peer level data and analytics that will help credit unions see critical insights and industry trend data that helps credit unions plan for the future.

 Cmeyers

C.Myers is focused on engaging individuals and teams and focuses on the financial services industry.  Their visioning, leadership development and board development are focused on “creating relevancy, sustainability, differentiation” for their clients.

 CU Strategic Planning (Mike Beall)

Mike Beall is a well-known expert and credit union knowledge source.  Mike focused on reviewing financials and looking at trends to develop strategies.   Loans, growth and profitability are key components of hiring Mike to be your credit union strategic planning facilitator.

Cornerstone Advisors

Cornerstone Advisors regularly helps credit unions develop and execute strategic plans.  Their process is more in depth then many and focuses on understanding the client, surveying executives and board members, performing an assessment and ultimately facilitating the meeting.

CU Strategies

Celeste Cook is a CU Industry Expert.  She focuses on one and two day plans for credit unions.  She works with teams to identify CSFs, critical success factors, focused on growth and retention.   Celeste is big on accountability and highlights her approach to building tracking, goals, and benchmarks in her process.

Credit Union 2.0 – Credit Union Strategic Planning Facilitators (Kirk Drake, Chris Otey)

Kirk and Chris take a unique approach to planning sessions. Our goals are to deal with some of the real issues facing credit unions.  These include:

  •                 Who is your ideal member?
  •                 How do we improve board governance?
  •                 How do we get our board to look more like our membership?
  •                 How do we deal with the onslaught of fintechs and technology?
  •                 How do we change our culture to be more like a fintech?

 As the author of Credit Union 2.0, head of a large technology CUSO, and founder of CU Wallet Drake has great insights from both his time working at a credit union through his entrepreneurship and board experience.

As board chair of South Bay Credit Union and former CU Wallet and Fiserv executive, Chris has worked with hundreds of credit unions to help them deal with board governance, CUSO, and other technology challenges.

Credit Union 2.0 -Options

DREAM (Based on the CU2.0 Book)

Credit Unions are under unprecedented attack from all angles.  1000’s of Fintechs are collectively hurting the bottom line.  Regulators are slowing the industry down.  Credit Union 2.0 outlines the DREAM (Differentiation, Repeat and Reinforce, Educate and Excite, Automate and Motivate) methodology that will help your CU begin the process of digitally engaging your members, building fierce loyalty and making them feel the CU difference.

The Credit Union 2.0 movement teaches why we need to change, key case studies from awesome credit unions, lessons learned from other cooperatives, strategies for creating fierce loyalty including – The ultimate first 100 Day Experience, Hacking your CU’s Repeated Mistakes, and Education = Trust | Trust = Sales.

Finally, CU2.0 will provide an optimistic outline of the CU of the tomorrow that Digitally engages members, builds fierce loyalty, scales gracefully, and make your members feel like they own the place!

PAINT 

Kirk Drake, a serial entrepreneur focused on CU technology and author of CU 2.0, reveals his P.A.I.N.T. strategy you can use to make your CU more competitive, more creative and more in tune with today’s digital expectations. If you have struggled with corporate culture, agility, moving faster or competing with the onslaught of new Fintechs – the P.A.I.N.T. methodology will help your CU quickly iterate, and apply key “Operating System” Strategies to better engage your members.

Take home these 5 tools:

  • Painted Picture
  • Analytics Plan
  • Innovation and Agility Hacks
  • Nimble Algorithms
  • Terminate

 

CU 2.0 Podcast: Series 8

It’s the CU 2.0 podcast! CU 2.0 is excited to bring you the eigth in a series of podcasts from Robert McGarvey. Welcome to the CU 2.0 Podcast, regular interviews with credit union leaders, thinkers, movers, shakers and more.

This week, Robert sat down with Scott Budde of Main Harvest. It has taken some years but finally, Maine Harvest may be in the final lap before gaining an official credit union charter.  That’s because it’s met its fundraising goal, $2.4 million, with last monies ponied up by the Maine Credit Union League and what’s remarkable is that just about the whole credit union movement in the state has supported the formation of this novel credit union.

Click the photo below to listen now!

cu 2.0 podcast maine harvest

Check out other podcasts in the series here!

Tropical Financial Credit Union turns to spare change to help make a dent in the student loan crisis

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:

Todd Templin or Lauren Berger

BoardroomPR

954-370-8999 or 954-290-0810

ttemplin@boardroompr.com

lberger@boardroompr.com

Students can take six years off a repayment term saving up to $14,000 using new technology introduced last year on Shark Tank

MIRAMAR, Fla. – (September, 2018) – Tropical Financial Credit Union is making it easier and faster for former college students to unburden themselves of crippling student debt, a few pennies and nickels at a time.

Americans owe nearly $1.5 trillion in student loans, which tops annual credit card and auto loan debt in the U.S.  According to StudentLoanHero.com, last year’s graduating class has an average loan balance of $39, 400, up six percent from the year before.  That figure doubles when you factor in 6.8 percent interest over a 25-year repayment term.

Now, the credit union is offering its student-loan paying members a solution to pay down their debt years sooner, saving them thousands of dollars in interest payments.

The Tropical Financial Student Round Up powered by ChangEd app converts one’s spare change into additional loan payments.  Members who sign up simply link their debit/credit cards to the app, and then every time a purchase is made, the amount is rounded up to the nearest dollar.  That spare change is set aside into a special FDIC-insured account. The rounded-up money maxes out at $10 per day.  Once the balance hits $100, the money is sent to the loan servicer and goes towards paying down the student loan.

“You spend $2.45 for a cup of coffee and 55 cents goes towards the student loan. Three cents here, 45 cents there, and soon it adds up,” said Amy McGraw, vice president at Tropical Financial.  “These borrowers could pay down their loans quicker if they regularly made additional monthly payments, but that takes disciplined planning and budgeting which is easier said than done.  We are providing a less stressful and more realistic solution using pocket change that won’t likely be missed.”

The technology was developed by a Chicago startup called ChangEd which received a significant investment by Mark Cuban last year during an appearance on the ABC program, Shark Tank.   The company says users can cut six years off of their repayment term and save $14, 000 in payments.

Tropical Financial Credit Union President/CEO Rich Helber said, the Student Round Up app signifies another way the not-for-profit financial cooperative is helping its members grow their personal wealth.

“The piling up of student debt is a crisis in our country,” said Helber. “Many people are still paying off loans well into their 40s and 50s affecting their ability to reach some personal milestones such as buying a home, getting married, or starting a business.  With this new technology, we are here to help our members relieve the burden a bit so that they achieve their milestones and financial goals.”

Anyone who opens a checking account at Tropical Financial Credit Union is eligible to use the app at no cost.  Even family members can sign up and direct their spare change to their loved one’s student loan balance.

For more information, visit tropicalfcu.com/changed.

About Tropical Financial Credit Union

Based in Miramar, Florida, Tropical Financial Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial institution whose deposits are federally insured.  Anyone who lives or works in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Lee, Collier, Hendry and Sarasota Counties is eligible to join. Tropical Financial Credit Union was formed in 1935 by employees of the former Southern Bell with just a few hundred dollars and has grown to over $659 million in assets.  For more information, log on to www.tropicalfcu.com.

Credit Union Fintech Friday: CU 2.0 & Energetic Insurance

It’s CU 2.0 Fintech Friday! Today, Chris Otey sits down with James Bowen, co-founder of Energetic Insurance to discuss all things credit union, fintech, and digital innovation.

The mission of Energetic Insurance is simple: they want to unlock solar financing options for unrated or below-investment-grade organizations. Their insurance policy is for asset owners, banks, credit unions, and developers who want coverage for offtake repayment risk as well as lost revenue on projects where there is a default on payment obligations.

Energetic Insurance aims to make it easier for solar and other renewable energies to gain funding. In the case of businesses with no or low-credit ratings, Energetic Insurance analyzes over a hundred years of electrical use data to better contextualize risk.

They’re a great partner for credit unions for two reasons: first, as lenders, credit unions benefit from the risk underwriting done on the part of Energetic Insurance. Energetic Insurance provides a better understanding of an organization’s ability to repay funding for energy projects. Second, both credit unions and Energetic Insurance emphasize the importance of social responsibility in business, so their philosophies align.

If this sounds like an intriguing credit union–fintech partnership, check out the video and Energetic Insurance snapshot below!

Credit Union Fintech Snapshot: Energetic Insurance

Top 3 Problems Solved

  1. Sustainable energy project financing
  2. Energy industry risk assessment
  3. Saving the planet

Energetic Insurance Founder: James Bowen and Jeff McAulay

Energetic Insurance Market Strategy

Community banks and Credit Unions

Credit Union Fintech: Energetic Insurance in the News

Energetic Insurance look to de-risk commercial solar

Energetic Insurance disrupts energy finance cycle

 

Interested in seeing more fintech entrepreneurship? Check out the CU 2.0 fintech infographic, Death by 1,000 Cuts. You can see firsthand the impact fintechs have had on the credit union industry, as well as how fintech innovation can improve your income statement, balance sheet, interest margin, services, and more.

Credit Union 2.0 believes fully in the power of credit union and fintech partnerships. With the shared goal to redefine multifaceted financial services models look like to members, more credit unions are looking to partner with forward-leaning fintechs.

If you want to learn more about credit union–fintech partnerships, click here.

Check out other fintech in the series here!

Do Your Credit Union Card Goals Match Your Members’ Needs? 

A recent survey showed that credit unions and their members are looking for different things from their credit cards. In fact, 76% credit union card goals were aimed toward growth, while the rest prioritized member services. But here’s the rub: 100% of members polled listed “false declines” as their number one service issue for credit cards. 

Clearly, there’s a disconnect between member experience and credit union card goals. Growth is a good end goal but making sure existing cardholders feel taken care of is paramount for retention.  There is nothing more frustrating to a member than a false decline in the middle of a busy day. 

Why Card Declines are a Problem 

Speaking from personal experience, I know how frustrating a false decline is. Recently, an old friend came through town. We caught up over drinks and because we were on my home turf, I offered to pick up the tab. My card was declined. 

It worked out in the end. I pulled out a different card and paid with that. Nevertheless, it was surprising and a little bit embarrassing. 

Imagine if I had been out to dinner with a new prospect or client. A hiccup as small as a false decline could have signaled that we weren’t ready or able to take on their business. 

False positives on credit cards can be as high as 90%. I’ve held my fair share of cards over the years, and I relegated any credit card that couldn’t consistently function properly to the back of my wallet. Credit union card goals should include reducing false positives to better align with member needs.  If you want your credit card to be top of wallet – focusing attention on reducing false positives is as important as your rewards programs. 

The Road to Redemption 

An unused credit card in the back of a member’s wallet costs a credit union money, reputation, and relationship trust. Unfortunately, many credit unions aren’t sure how to address false declines, because they want to maintain security and reduce the risk of fraud. 

Reassessing your credit card processor could be your best move. In your RFPs and vendor research, pay attention to false positive decline rates. Also, you can group issuers and acquirers together to see both sides of transactions. Strong data analytics and machine learning can aid in reducing these kinds of problems. 

Another option is to try a pilot with Flexpay to help find and tune your fraud prevention.  Matching up your transaction history with Flexpay’s merchant history will enable you to reduce fraud and improve the member experience.  Best of all, it’s a pilot – so there isn’t any cost! 

In an Ideal World… 

Nobody should have to rifle through their wallet to find a card that won’t mistakenly decline purchases. Or worse, nobody should be left without a way to pay because of an inadequate processor. 

Credit union card goals should align with member credit card needs. Members need credit union credit cards that they can trust. Problem-free credit card processing reflects well on the credit union and its sophistication, which will increase their confidence in other available services. 

The best part of reducing false positive decline rates is that it will inspire member confidence in their credit cards, which will aid growth and reduce attrition. 

There are two ways you can give members what they want: first, you can ask your card processor to prioritize false positive declines. Second, you can join our effort to connect merchant data and credit union data via machine learning. Together, we can reduce fraud risk while maximizing member approval. 

Are you interested in trying a pilot with Flexpay? Fill out the form below today!

 

CU 2.0 Podcast: Series 7

It’s the CU 2.0 podcast! CU 2.0 is excited to bring you the seventh in a series of podcasts from Robert McGarvey. Welcome to the CU 2.0 Podcast, regular interviews with credit union leaders, thinkers, movers, shakers and more.

This week, Robert sat down with Vasilios Roussos, executive director of the DCU Fintech Innovation Center in Boston.

The what?  You’re right: this is a major departure for a credit union and in this podcast you’ll find out why DCU launched a fintech incubator, how this is very cool for the industry and what other credit unions can do to achieve similar outcomes.

How can credit unions level the technology playing field with megabanks and giant fintechs? DCU may well be showing the way in Boston. Click the photo below to listen now!

cu 2.0 podcast 7

Check out other podcasts in the series here!

CU 2.0 Fintech Friday: Coalesce.ai

It’s CU 2.0 Fintech Friday! Today, Chris Otey sits down with Greg Woolf from Coalesce.ai to discuss all things credit union, fintech, and digital innovation.

Coalesce.ai helps credit unions introduce the power of AI and machine learning into their operational ecosystem. Their platform utilizes User-Defined Machine Learning, which allows clients to train Coalesce.ai’s automation platform how to gain expertise in a certain set of tasks.

Coalesce.ai’s systems helps credit unions and financial industries reduce error and increase efficiency while saving time. By reducing or eliminating the possibility for human error and the necessity for manual labor, Coalesce.ai lets ten credit union employees accomplish the work of a hundred.

For credit unions, Coalesce.ai found that “the operations of a financial services firm like a credit union today requires—especially in the middle and back office—a lot of tedious, manual, repetitive work: opening spreadsheets, scanning emails, filtering through PDF documents. And with this new AI technology, we’ve been able to automate the way that some of that gets done at credit unions.”

If this sounds like an intriguing credit union–fintech partnership, check out the video and Coalesce.ai snapshot below!

Credit Union Fintech Snapshot: Coalesce.ai

Top 3 Problems Solved

  1. Workflow automation
  2. AI and User-Defined Machine Learning
  3. Streamline operations

Coalesce.ai Founder: Greg Woolf

Coalesce.ai Market Strategy

Credit Unions.

Credit Union Fintech: Coalesce.ai in the News

Coalesce.ai introduces AI elements to workflows

Coalesce.ai works with IBM’s Watson

Interested in seeing more fintech entrepreneurship? Check out the CU 2.0 fintech infographic, Death by 1,000 Cuts. You can see firsthand the impact fintechs have had on the credit union industry, as well as how fintech innovation can improve your income statement, balance sheet, interest margin, services, and more.

Credit Union 2.0 believes fully in the power of credit union and fintech partnerships. With the shared goal to redefine multifaceted financial services models look like to members, more credit unions are looking to partner with forward-leaning fintechs.

If you want to learn more about credit union–fintech partnerships, click here.

Check out other fintech in the series here!

CU 2.0 Podcast: Series 6

It’s the CU 2.0 podcast! CU 2.0 is excited to bring you the sixth in a series of podcasts from Robert McGarvey. Welcome to the CU 2.0 Podcast, regular interviews with credit union leaders, thinkers, movers, shakers and more.

This week, Robert sat down with Trudy Soucoup, a member of the board of directors at Washington State Employees Credit Union, a top 100 institution with about $2.8 billion in assets. Trudy’s day job is as CEO of Homes First!, a nonprofit focused on low-income housing in Washington. The focus of this podcast: what’s it like to be a board member in 2018, a time of enormous flux for most credit unions.

Hint: it’s a lot of work.

You’ll hear about that and also a slightly embarrassing introduction to MRDC in this podcast. Board members are critical to the success of credit unions. But rarely are they heard from. So listen up.

One more thing: tune into the last bit of this podcast to learn about special sponsorship opportunities.  You’ll want to hear about this. Click the photo below to listen now!

cu 2.0 podcast

Check out other podcasts in the series here!

CU 2.0 Podcast: Series 5

It’s the CU 2.0 podcast! CU 2.0 is excited to bring you the fifth in a series of podcasts from Robert McGarvey. Welcome to the CU 2.0 Podcast, regular interviews with credit union leaders, thinkers, movers, shakers and more.

This week, Robert sat down with Geoff Caras, COO of CU 2.0 and a tech executive whose resume sports stints as CTO at leading credit unions. He also offers credit unions a fractional CTO service and, for many buying fractional talent is a smart way to bring in strong talent at prices that work even for modest institutions. It’s a trend that just may catch on at a lot of credit unions. Click the photo below to listen now!

cu 2.0 podcast

Check out other podcasts in the series here!