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”


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.


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!


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