Thursday, June 29, 2017

Planning Strategically in a Changing World

By Tim McAdow, VP, Marketing

The world is changing faster than ever, and it’s hard to keep pace. For many, the focus is often set to execution mode, with little to no time to focus on long-term strategy.

My time as a credit union volunteer has helped me recognize that taking the time to develop or freshen your strategic plan is crucial to staying focused on what is most important for your credit union and its members. Strategic planning helps ensure you have the right conversations as a credit union leadership team and that all stakeholders are aligned.

So where can you turn to glean insights on what’s most important for your credit union as you plan, strategically, for your future? Our Discovery Conference has a history of inspiring leadership team and board discussions on important, strategic topics.

This year we’ve sharpened that focus both logistically and from a content perspective. We moved the event from October to August 17th to better align with credit union planning timeframes. But, we’ve kept the online format and complimentary attendance so you can participate anywhere and with anyone. We’ll deliver some of the latest thinking on subjects that are relevant to credit unions both today and in the future.

Our keynote speakers, Peter Sheahan and Dr. Julie Williamson of Karrikins Group, will open and close the conference with insights on how to rethink your strategy in a changing industry.

And, we’ll bring some of the most critical industry topics to the forefront such, as:
  • Data and analytics
  • The economy
  • Members’ financial health
  • Fintech
  • Lending to Millennials
  • And much more
Our goal is for attendees to leave the conference with more confidence in their strategic plans or inspired to make changes or additions that can strengthen them.

In fact, Mike Lawson of CU Broadcast and I had the chance to sit down with Brian Hall, CEO, Foothill Credit Union, who attended last year’s Discovery Conference. He shared how Discovery guided his credit union’s strategic planning in 2016. See how in the clip below or watch the full video

Discovery will provide the ideas, insights and inspiration you need to take your credit union to the next level.

Register for your free Discovery Conference pass today.

Wednesday, June 21, 2017

Managing Through a Time of Rapid Change

By Bob Trunzo
President and CEO, CUNA Mutual Group

When I look back to the start of my career with CUNA Mutual Group 12 years ago, the rate of change has grown faster with each passing year. 

Within the last ten years, the way we access information and live our everyday lives has shifted dramatically. Social media has amassed an active user audience of 2.7 billion (for perspective, that’s more than one-third of the world’s population), autonomous vehicles are being tested more frequently and emerging companies are threatening traditional business practices by digitizing their services.

Click here to read the full post.

Thursday, June 15, 2017

Our Employees Share: Best Financial Wisdom From Dad

Last month, we shared how powerful an influence women are on their families’ finances. They drive 70-80 percent of all consumer purchasing and act as the “CFO” in the majority (51 percent) of households. 

Mom is big part of our life when it comes to money, and she has given us some amazing advice over the years. But, Dad has also shared some great (and sometimes unique) financial wisdom.

So, in honor of Father’s Day, we collected some of the best advice our employees have received from Dad.

Wednesday, June 14, 2017

Strengthening the Credit Union-Member Relationship with Data

 By Theran Colwell, Vice President, Credit Union Loan Growth

The financial world around us is evolving at breakneck speed. Today’s consumers not only demand a convenient loan experience, they expect it. At the same time, they have more options than ever to finance their big purchases. The challenge – and solution – lies in connecting with members where, how and when they prefer.

“Through predictive analytics, we know that members are clicking on sites,” said Brett Lee, Chief Retail Officer for CoVantage Credit Union. “We need to utilize that data to meet members on their terms, when they’re in the market, and ultimately, reach out to say ‘we’re here for you.’ And, if we don’t do it, someone else is.”

As credit unions continue to increase their lending portfolios, loan generation remains a top strategic growth priority. Today’s deeper access to data allows credit unions to identify targets, drive leads and implement smart campaigns with daily triggers to drive direct mail along and a unique online member experience. From there, credit unions can provide members with pre-approved loan options.

Predictive analytics not only allow credit unions to refine their target audience and grow more loans, they provide active credit bureau monitoring. This allows credit unions to extend members timely, firm credit offers. And, ultimately, it can improve efficiency, saving time and resources.

Of course, the true advantage lies in merging data with one of credit unions’ long standing strengths: their strong relationships with their members.

 “We’re starting with a relationship that been established over many years,” said Lee. “By using data, we are able to tell members’ ‘Here we are, you trust us, we trust you, let’s go on this journey together.’ If we can do that, members have no reason to go anywhere else.”
Theran Colwell is the Risk Management Director for CUNA Mutual Group. He can be reached at

Thursday, June 8, 2017

Data and Analytics: It’s About Insights and Execution

We recently spoke with Insurance Innovation Reporter (IIR) about AdvantEdge Analytics, LLC, the new business we've launched that offers data management,reporting and performance management and advanced analytics for credit unions.

In the story, CIO and president of the new tech services business, Tim Peterson, says the mission ahead is about, not only providing analytics-driven insights, but also execution based on those insights.  

For more of his perspective -- and details on the new business -- read the full article here.

Thursday, June 1, 2017

Pride is a Powerful Concept

By Brad J. Krueger 

From the time I started my credit union career as a front-line employee, to when I joined CUNA Mutual Group as an intern 20 years ago; serving the greater good has given me a personal sense of pride. That’s something we talk a lot about in our industry: pride.

We’re proud to be different – the financial movement that has always placed people before profit. We’re proud of our legacy – one of social and financial equity. And, we’re proud of our founding cooperative principles that enable us to collaborate in ways our competitors cannot fathom.

In June, the word ‘pride’ will take on an additional meaning for millions across the world. For countless credit union colleagues and members, friends and family, it will symbolize authenticity, dignity, and the inherent right LGBTQ people have to achieve their life ambitions and pursuit of love and happiness.

Pride Month is an opportunity to come together and honor our achievements in equity, rights and awareness, but also to build momentum for the long journey ahead. We cannot confine accepting our diversity and embracing the strength in our differences to only one summer month each year. To create positive, lasting change, it’s something we must publicly stand for every day.

At CUNA Mutual Group, we have a strong set of values that shape our decision making, but we recognize that for us to be the best employer for our people, and the best partner and provider for those we work with, we must continually seek to improve.

An aspect we are actively working on is how we support diversity and inclusion in the workplace. How we empower our people to be who they truly are, not who they think we want them to be. One way we do this is through our Employee Resource Groups (ERG) – teams of colleagues advocating for specific interests, communities or needs. Of course, our ERGs are as diverse as we are covering age, disabilities, gender, professional focus, race and ethnicity, and, of course, sexual orientation and identity.

As the chair of Prism – our LGBTQ ERG – I’m personally very proud (there’s that word again) to work for a company that values broad backgrounds and perspectives, and encourages its employees to embrace them.

To mark the start of Pride Month, we raised a rainbow flag today (June 1) to publicly demonstrate our support for an inclusive LGBTQ work environment. We will share information with our fellow colleagues throughout June to increase awareness of both LGBT concerns and provide our allies opportunities to visibly show their support for an inclusive work environment. But further still, we will encourage our business leaders to better understand LGBTQ consumers and think of the impact we could have in the community with new products and services for credit unions and their members.

What are the challenges our LGBTQ friends and loved ones are experiencing? What are the needs that traditional financial institutions cannot, or unfortunately sometimes will not, provide?

I hope that throughout June, credit union colleagues, nationwide, will ask themselves these same questions, and challenge one another to seek an answer. Our credit union movement’s founders sought to serve those who would not be served elsewhere. Let’s make them proud.

Note: This post originally published via

Brad J. Krueger is the director of corporate ethics, compliance, and resilience for CUNA Mutual Group, the leading provider of insurance and financial services to credit unions and their members. He joined CUNA Mutual Group in 1997 as an intern in IT. Over the last 10 years, Brad has managed teams responsible for enterprise business resiliency, information security, and IT internal audit programs. In the past year, Brad earned a MBA degree from the University of Wisconsin-Madison and took on additional responsibility for leading the company’s ethics and compliance programs. Connect with him on LinkedIn.

CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, its subsidiaries and affiliates. Corporate headquarters are located in Madison, Wis.

©2017 CUNA Mutual Group, All Rights Reserved.

Wednesday, May 31, 2017

Redstone FCU Delivers “Big Wow” to Community

By Scott Albraccio 

Redstone Federal Credit Union, Huntsville, Alabama has a strong tradition of generosity in its home community. In 2016, with the credit union’s 65th anniversary on the horizon, President/CEO Joe Newberry and his board of directors wanted to make a significant charitable donation to commemorate the credit union’s milestone.

“We needed to do something big — a ‘Big Wow’ — a special contribution to benefit our community — not just for today, but for the next 65 years,” he said.

Newberry had been talking with the Huntsville Library Foundation about its fund drive to build three new library branches. He realized it was the perfect opportunity to donate some of the earnings from the credit union’s new charitable donation account (CDA).

A few months later, Newberry announced a $2.5 million donation to help build the three new branches at a news conference held at the Huntsville Madison Public Library. With $1 million from the charitable donation account as the seed money, the credit union plans to donate the remaining $1.5 million over the next five years. You can learn more about the significant impact of this donation on the community in this video of Michelda Johnson, Capital Campaign Consultant at Huntsville-Madison County Public Library.

In the past, when the credit union made charitable contributions, the funds came from its net income. But Newberry wanted to find a way to plan and structure Redstone's commitment to giving. He wanted to invest available funds for future charitable gifts in investments that are not typically available for credit unions. That’s when he began to look into investing in a CDA.

With a 39 percent increase in CDA investments in the past year alone, credit unions seem to be seeing the value in this new program. CDAs allow federal credit unions to take advantage of an expanded universe of investments. The accounts can potentially help them increase charitable giving and create additional operating income for the credit unions who use them. These investments provide the potential for returns higher than traditional investments available to credit unions, although they come with additional risk.

Newberry and the Redstone FCU staff did their due diligence investigating CDAs, including checking with other credit unions that were already using them and researching vendors. The credit union chose CUNA Mutual Group for one main reason: trust. “They always keep us in compliance. They always keep it very simple. And, they’re always willing to come in and talk to our community members and board members,” Newberry said.

Want to learn more about CDAs? You can learn more about them on our website right here!

Scott Albraccio is an Executive Benefits Sales Manager with CUNA Mutual Group. He can be reached at or 800.356.2644, ext. 665.8576.

i NCUA 5300 Call Report, 12/31/16.

Proprietary insurance is underwritten by CMFG Life Insurance Company. Proprietary and brokered insurance is sold by CUNA Mutual Insurance Agency, Inc., a wholly owned subsidiary. This insurance is not a deposit and is not federally insured or guaranteed by your credit union. CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, and its subsidiaries. Representatives are registered through, and securities are sold through, CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), member FINRA/SIPC, 2000 Heritage Way, Waverly IA 50677, toll-free 866.512.6109. Insurance and annuity products are sold through CMFG Life Insurance Company. Non-deposit investment products are not federally insured, involve investment risk, may lose value and are not obligations of or guaranteed by the credit union.