Arlington Community Federal Credit Union – headquartered in Arlington VA and with assets just shy of $500 million – thought it had its growth plan set. It would merge with $246 million First Federal Credit Union (headquartered in adjacent Alexandria VA). But then the First Federal members rejected the plan.
So we invited David Martinez, CIO at Arlington Community, on the show to address a fundamental question: is there life for a $500 million institution?
Sure, the vast majority of credit unions are smaller than Arlington Community – but increasingly experts say that the minimum viable size for a credit union is $1 billion.
Spoiler alert: Martinez is here to tell why he believes Arlington Community has a bright future and it starts with knowing the community and serving that community.
Yes, that is the historic credit union success formula but listen to Martinez and he tells that it still is the way to success.
It’s an upbeat show.
Martinez also talks about being CIO at a credit union Arlington Community’s size. Yes, an institution that size just about always will be on the buy side of the build or buy question when it comes to tech but Martinez is convinced his institution has the tech it needs to satisfy members’ needs. Does it have the latest and glitziest – an AI chatbot for instance? It does not – although Martinez admits he has his eye on some possibilities involving non fungible tokens (NFTs) but probably that implementation will be delayed for some time. His point is that an institution can satisfy its members with good, reliable tech that does the job that members really need and want. It’s a good reminder to deliver the basics and do them well.
How is tech recruiting going at Arlington Community? There, Martinez has good news. Reports had been that credit unions were finding tech recruiting to be a tough slog but not at Arlington Community, not now.
If yours is a smaller credit union – anything under $1 billion – be sure to tune in for what will be a feel-good show. Martinez is realistic but he also is optimistic.