CU 2.0 Podcast 23: Sitting Down with Gabe Krajicek, CEO of Kasasa

It’s the Credit Union podcast! CU 2.0 is excited to bring you the twenty-third 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.

If Kasasa were a bank branch network, it would be the nation’s fourth largest and it says that sometime this year it will overtake Bank of America and be the 3rd biggest.

Surprised? You bet. Probably you know that Kasasa has been building up its customer base for digital banking products – checking in particular – but now it is big enough where it’s tooting its horn.

This”branch network” isn’t a consumer-facing product – CO-OP Shared Branching it is not – but what’s interesting is that lots of FIs, some 907 community banks, and credit unions, now have joined together to offer Kasasa products, particularly the free, rewards-based checking.

And that’s also where Kasasa has a real plus – according to company CEO Gabe Krajicek, Kasasa consumers have free access to essentially every ATM in the US. When fees are imposed, the consumer is reimbursed.

And that’s an enormous perk for credit union members when many institutions have ATM fleets that can be counted on one hand.

Think about the enormity of that plus for credit union members in Kasasa institutions.

Kasasa also aims to put high-quality digital products in the hands of consumers because, said Krajicek, often consumers say they couldn’t belong to a credit union because the digital is no good.

But what if it, in fact, is good? With the right digital products, community institutions can and will survive, said Krajicek.

Along the way, Krajicek- whose company serves both community banks and credit unions – says community institutions would better serve their interests if they recognized that they have more in common and in particular they have in common a shared enemy and that’s the money center banks.

It’s an interesting thesis. So often community banks and credit unions are reflexively Hatfield and McCoy. But what if they joined together to oppose a shared foe?

What if? What if cooperation flourished? It’s a big vs. small battle, he said.  And nowadays it’s becoming a life or death struggle where many community institutions are vanishing.

Krajicek tosses out big ideas. Come along for the ride in this CU.0 podcast.

Listen here.

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CU 2.0 Podcast 22: Talking Payments and Data Analytics with Trellance’s Lou Grilli

It’s the Credit Union podcast! CU 2.0 is excited to bring you the twenty-second 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.

What do you think when you get an alert from your credit union offering you a 2.9% car loan – and you already have a 1.9% car loan that you got two years ago from the same institution?

Duh, right?

Lou Grilli, an executive at payments CUSO Trellance, thinks a lot about exactly those kinds of questions and he believes that for credit unions the solution will come through smarter, faster data analytics.

His opinions are rooted in information gleaned from the experiences of the roughly 2000 credit unions that own Trellance.

What your member will do, or need, tomorrow already is known in today’s data. You just have to look at it.

And Grilli thinks data analytics can unlock tactics for encouraging more member use of your institution’s cards – which is a goal of just about every credit union.

Along the way, Grilli also talks about the future of contactless cards, also what to expect from digital wallets such as Apple Pay.

Payments in the past five years have changed much more dramatically than they had in the preceding 25 and Grilli has a ringside seat.  That’s why he is worth a long listen in this podcast.

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CU 2.0 Podcast 21: Ron Shevlin on “Is the Party Over?”

It’s the Credit Union podcast! CU 2.0 is excited to bring you the twenty-first 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.

Cornerstone Advisors’ Ron Shevlin’s report on “What’s Going On in Banking 2019. Is the Party Over?” is out and he’s in the CU2.0 Podcast to share some of his findings.

Read the report here.  It’s free.

To compile the report Shevlin surveyed some 300+ senior executives in financial institutions – around 120 in credit unions – and they spill their views of their tomorrows.

Has the Trump bump become the Trump slump, asked Shevlin.

A lot of the report focused on technology and what financial execs see as musts.

Some 63% of credit union executives describe their digital banking as future ready – which prompted this reporter to choke and then ask, are they doing marijuana-related banking and smoking too many samples?

Listen to the podcast to hear Shevlin’s views.

As always, Shevlin is an independent, sometimes quirky viewer of financial services. That’s why his viewpoint matters.

Listen up and learn. Here’s the podcast.

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CU 2.0 Podcast 20: Up in Smoke, Credit Unions and Cannabis, Part 2

It’s the Credit Union podcast! CU 2.0 is excited to bring you the twentieth 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.

Welcome to Up in Smoke, Part 2 – more formally, Credit Unions and Cannabis, Part 2.

In last week’s episode, we heard from lawyers, a lobbyist and two credit union consultants in a no holds barred exploration of the potential, and pitfalls, of cannabis accounts in credit unions. Catch up with that podcast here.

This week we are digging deeper into a pair of interviews. One is with Judy Britt Cavanaugh, VP of Compliance with the Connecticut Credit Union which is actively attempting to educate its members about the realities of cannabis and credit unions.  The Connecticut League also is working with Green Check Verified – which talks at length in Part 1 – to establish safe, compliant procedures for handling marijuana accounts.

Also in this podcast is Katrina Skinner, interim president of Safe  Harbor Services, a CUSO set up by Sundie Seefried.  It also is working to provide credit unions with the tools needed to stay compliant when servicing marijuana businesses.

Marijuana business just may be the answer for some credit unions. But it could also be the ruin of some. That’s why you need to listen to the podcasts.

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CU 2.0 Podcast 19: Up in Smoke, Credit Unions and Cannabis, Part 1

It’s the Credit Union podcast! CU 2.0 is excited to bring you the nineteenth 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.

Call this podcast Up In Smoke, Credit Union Style. The more formal moniker: Cannabis and Credit Unions: The Opportunities and Risks, Part 1. That’s right. There is also a Part 2 because there just is so much to report about cannabis and financial institutions.

In Part 1, you will hear from a couple of lawyers, a cannabis lobbyist, a pair of credit union consultants, and more. Why the hubbub about a little weed? For one, a commonly tossed around market size estimate is $50 billion in the US and much of that is unbanked cash. For two, there are big differences between state laws regarding cannabis and federal. In two-thirds of the states, cannabis is legal – either for medical uses or, in some cases such as California and Colorado, for any use. That’s right. Recreational use is legal in some states. And yet marijuana remains illegal in federal law.

There’s the sticking point. Pragmatically speaking, few oppose medical use of marijuana. But many still oppose recreational use of it. So what happens if the federal government comes in and arrests a bunch of credit union employees for drug trafficking? Don’t say it can’t happen because it could. Is it probable?

Right now credit union executives are wrestling with exactly such questions. Answers don’t come easily. Know this, however: around 110 credit unions now have marijuana-related businesses as members. The core argument for doing this is that it’s good for the community.  It takes cash off the streets and it also helps small, local businesses stabilize. The only downside is that marijuana remains illegal in federal law. Uggh.

There’s the dilemma. A credit union can do a lot of good by plunging into the marijuana business. But it also may be risking all. Thus this podcast series.  There may be no knottier problem for credit unions than marijuana. There is information to know and that’s what we are delivering.  In a two-part series.

In Part 1, you will hear a range of viewpoints.  Listen to the end so you hear all the perspectives. It’s a 45-minute podcast but the content is rich. In Part 2 you will hear in some depth from the Connecticut Credit Union League, which is helping its members serve marijuana businesses, and also Safe Harbor, started by credit union veteran Sundie Seefried to help financial institutions serve the needs of marijuana businesses. And then what will you decide to do? Listen up to make smart choices.

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CU 2.0 Podcast: Series 18 – Al Pascual on Biometrics

It’s the Credit Union podcast! CU 2.0 is excited to bring you the eighteenth 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.

**Pop Quiz**

How long have passwords been around?

How many credit union members want never to use one again?

What are the three must-have biometrics modalities?

When will biometrics effectively supplant passwords in financial services?

Flashback time: when did Apple introduce Touch ID, a tool that thrust biometrics into everyday use for tens of millions of consumers?

Consider the above your pop quiz. How did you score?

Al Pascual, a researcher with Javelin, who recently co-authored a report on biometrics and financial services, knows the answers to these questions and he tells all in this CU 2.0 podcast.

It moves fast, you’ll want to hear it.

A sliver of good/bad news: it’s the biggest financial institutions that are carrying the weight of persuading regulators about the efficacy of biometrics and that just may be a blessing for smaller institutions – credit unions included – who can follow behind.

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CU 2.0 Podcast: Series 17 – Victor Corro on Hispanics and Credit Unions

It’s the Credit Union podcast! CU 2.0 is excited to bring you the seventeenth 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.

Ask Victor Corro, of Coopera, the Hispanic focused consulting firm for credit unions, on why Hispanics matter to credit unions and he gets impassioned.  Hispanics need credit unions, he says, just as credit unions need Hispanics.  He tells in detail exactly why that is so in this edition of the CU 2.0 podcast.

Note: the audio quality has imperfections in parts of this podcast.  We live in a world of imperfect telephony. But the audio is understandable. So give a hard listen and you will be rewarded.

Corro also tells exactly what a credit union needs to do to really pursue the Hispanic demographic.  It’s a multi-step process and he spells it out.

And he explains why many Hispanics are cellphone first consumers – and savvy credit unions need to truly get that if they hope to prosper in their pursuit of Hispanics.

Just remember: you need each other. And that makes this a perfect scenario for doing credit union good.

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CU 2.0 Podcast: Series 16 – New Year’s Resolutions with Robert McGarvey

It’s the Credit Union podcast! CU 2.0 is excited to bring you the sixteenth 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.

Make some New Year’s Resolutions. That’s advice for you in this podcast, brought to you by CU2.0, all about re-imagining and reinvigorating today’s credit unions for tomorrow’s victories.
First, feast on New Year’s Resolutions. About 40% of us make them, according to research by the Marist Institute.  Many of us, in fact, get what we resolve to do.  Reported the researchers: “Do Americans keep their New Year’s resolutions? Among those who say they made a resolution for 2017, 68% said they kept at least part of their promise. Similar proportions of men (69%) and women (66%) remained true to their word for at least part of 2017. More men (75%) compared with women (62%) said they kept their New Year’s resolution last year.”
What this podcast is about is getting you to make a resolution involving your credit union.
Here’s how this is going to work. I’ll start out by enumerating some possible resolutions for you – and this is a situation where cribbing a buddy’s test answer is a-ok. Of course, you can always create your own. Either way, this is a perfect time to think anew about how to make your credit union better.

What resolutions do I suggest?

  1. Embrace artificial intelligence.  There’s Erica at B of A.  There’s Alexa at Amazon. There’s Siri at Apple (well, Siri is a kind of also ran – but she will get smarter and better). AI is a trend to ride. An easy starting point is debuting an Alexa skill for your credit union. Many credit unions are doing this. It’s cheap. Hear more about credit unions and AI in two podcasts: Coalesce and Posh.
  2. Accept that today technology makes or breaks credit unions. But know you don’t have to be a follower; you can be a leader. That’s the message of the DCU Fintech Innovation Lab, featured in an earlier podcast.
  3. Accept that mobile is your biggest, most important branch. Spend money to upgrade it. Make it different from other credit unions. Make it your own. Hear a lot of cool insights about mobile and how to go special in the podcast with Tanan Miles of Ent.
  4. Think digitally. Accept that analog banking is fading away. Don’t fight tomorrow. Very good insights into this are in our podcast with CU2.0 founder Kirk Drake. Amy Downs at Allegiance also talks about this in her podcast.
  5. Fire up your board of directors. You’ll hear a lot on this in the podcasts with Chris Otey and Trudy Soupcoup.
  6. Go local.  You can’t compete on the national stage with national banks.  No can do, But you can compete and win in your local community. What can you do to make life better for your neighbors? Know that and know that you are building a credit union that matters. Bill Bynum of Hope and Scott Budde at Maine Harvest offer powerful perspectives on going local to win.
  7. Embrace Hispanic members. One in 6 of us are Hispanic. What’s your credit union doing to cultivate that membership? Find out how to succeed with this demographic in a podcast that will post soon, with Coopera CEO Victor Corro.
  8. Know your mission. What is the credit union movement to you? It always has been about working cooperatively to better serve the underserved, everyday people.  What are you doing to hit that goal? Inclusiv’s Cathie Mahon has much to say about this in her podcast.

 

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CU 2.0 Podcast: Series 15 – Cathie Mahon CEO of Inclusiv, the association of community development CUs

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

Talk to Cathie Mahon and it’s a fast ride into what mission makes a credit union special, distinctive and in her mind, the answer is clear: serving the underserved and usually that means economically disadvantaged.

She has tantalizing insights too. For instance: she tells why the business model of community development credit unions may, in fact, be primed for greater success than the model followed by most credit unions.

She also tells how the NCUA handcuffs newly chartered credit unions and this may set some up for failure.

And she has advice on designing a mobile banking app that betters serves the economically disadvantaged.

Listen up, it’s a good podcast that just may persuade some struggling conventional credit unions to investigate tweaking their business model and to embrace more community development outreach.

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CU 2.0 Podcast: Series 14 – AI for Credit Unions Part 2

It’s the Credit Union podcast! CU 2.0 is excited to bring you the fourteenth 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. Today’s topic is talking about the real credit union mission. Today’s subject is AI for credit unions.

Welcome to AI, Part 2 in the CU 2.0 Podcast series.  Last week our podcast explored email and AI through the eyes of Coalesce, a DCU Fintech Innovation Lab company. This week, in Part 2, we explore voice and AI through Posh Development, another DCU Fintech Innovation Lab company – a podcast about the Fintech Lab can be found here.

Either way, great stuff is happening that you need to know about to stay current.

Bank of America is pushing its AI bot Erica hard. But just maybe you can fight back with your own voice bot. That’s part of the Posh promise.

This is a podcast you can’t miss. AI definitely is the future. It’s up to you to understand and control it.

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