Thursday, July 20, 2017

2017 Q2 Market Update from CUNA Mutual Fiduciary Consultants

Managing Principal for CUNA Mutual Fiduciary Consultants Scott Knapp recently reviewed how the markets reacted to recent trends in the global economy. These market trends included:
·    Outperformance of international stocks
·      Shifts in investor sentiment

As a result, Knapp noted how diversification strategies paid off during the quarter.

Outperformance of international stocks
The table below highlights the outperformance of international stocks. This outperformance primarily was due to softening of the US dollar and economic recovery in developed international countries.

Shifts in investor sentiment
Shifts in sentiment also had a significant effect on markets, even though it may not be immediately apparent. Late last year and early this year, global financial markets had optimistic expectations for economic growth since last year’s U.S. presidential election. By the second quarter, those expectations have been tempered by political disruption out of Washington and mixed economic reports.

Nonetheless, interest rates actually fell during part of the quarter even though it was clear that the Fed would extend its current rate-hiking cycle. This gave investment grade bonds a small lift. Therefore, the shifts in sentiment that caused big changes within the indexes were nearly invisible on the surface.

Diversification pays off
The market trends benefited diversification strategies. Investors who maintained their exposure to international stocks in spite of their underperformance—as well as to growth and value stocks—finally benefitted.

Looking ahead, shifts in market leadership are anticipated as political circumstances become clearer and as the Fed begins its rate-hiking cycle. Investors should be prepared for a return of volatility in the future.

Market Update Summary
·      The outperformance of international stocks was due to softening of the US dollar and economic recovery in developed international countries.
·      Shifts in investor sentiment also had a significant effect on markets, even though it may not be immediately apparent on the surface.
·      Diversification strategies paid off for investors who maintained their exposure to international stocks in spite of their historic underperformance—as well as to growth and value stocks.
·      Investors are advised to be prepared for a return of volatility in the future.

About the Presenter
Scott Knapp is Managing Principal – Investment Consulting for CUNA Mutual Fiduciary Consultants. He’s responsible for CUNA Mutual’s overall investment philosophy and implementation of programs that help institutional investors meet their objectives. He’s also a lecturer at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

CUNA Mutual Fiduciary Consultants is a marketing name and service of MEMBERS Capital Advisors, Inc., 5910 Mineral Point Road, Madison, WI 53705, the registered investment advisor affiliate of CUNA Mutual Group. MEMBERS Capital Advisors has assets under management of more than $15.2 billion*, including the general account of CMFG Life Insurance Company.

Visit for more information.

*As of June 30, 2016. 401K-1848817.1-0717-0819

Monday, July 17, 2017

Know Your Data, Know Your Member

By Tim Peterson, President, AdvantEdge Analytics

The convenience economy continues to rapidly empower consumers with technological wonders to manage their hectic lives. And, businesses are struggling to keep up. Historically, companies have studied data to make business decisions based on what happened in the past. Today, however, they’re realizing that the data at their fingertips can help them make decisions based on what may happen in the future.

Part of the reason for this increasing adoption is simple—it works. The Harvard Business Review reports that nearly 50 percent of Fortune 1000 companies say their firms are achieving measurable results from big data investment. Over 80  percent characterize those results as “successful.” And, International Data Corporation notes that banks investment in data analytics was nearly $17 billion in 2016, and they are projected to increase spending to over $22 billion by 2019.

From card swipes to web site clicks to everything in between, your systems are filled with member data. Add to that the information available from your  various providers as well as publicly available data, you begin to realize the question you should be asking isn’t “do we have enough data?” The real question is “what are we going to do with all the data we have?” Remember - when you know your data, you know your member.

Learn more about what you can do with data as well the next big innovation coming for analytics. Read the full article here.

Thursday, July 13, 2017

TruStage Experiences Strong Traction with Online Term Life Insurance Product

Our consumer brand, TruStage, announced today that its simplified-issue term life product has surpassed $500 million in coverage for customers spanning 49 states. The product was unveiled in November 2016, and TruStage is among the first insurers to the market with a term life insurance product that consumers can purchase entirely online.

Featuring an online, automated enrollment process that takes just minutes to complete, TruStage’s simplified-issue term life insurance product helps demystify and simplify life insurance for consumers. After answering just two health questions, a completely automated underwriting platform delivers an instant decision. It offers coverage face amounts of $5,000 to $100,000 to provide protection for home mortgages, children’s education, income replacement and final expenses. 

Click here to read the full story.

Wednesday, July 12, 2017

Diversity and Inclusion: We Can Learn and Grow Together

By Jeff Peterson, Director, Sourcing & Vendor Management Office

Here at CUNA Mutual Group, we have made a commitment to build a more diverse, inclusive organization. It’s a fantastic initiative; but, in practice, it takes a lot more than just ideas. We need to understand why diversity and inclusion (D&I) is important – and how to take action to reach company goals.

Recently, I attended a local forum focused on diversity through the lens of advancing talent, opportunity and growth for all my local region’s citizens.

For me, personally, the summit was incredibly thought provoking. It challenged my beliefs and assumptions about Madison, where I live and work. The summit also offered perspectives from beyond my local area, examining case studies from some of the most successful communities the country. These programs inspired me. They embraced and encouraged diversity in all its forms and they spurred economic growth.

From mass transit and job accessibility strategies to financial marketing campaigns, many ideas shared at the summit were practical and proven. And, they could realistically be adopted and implemented by organizations anywhere.

One example that stuck with me was the Change the Sign inclusion campaign. Led by another financial institution, it offers a unique way for a company to support and focus on people with disabilities.

The campaign creates awareness for the need to update parking signs for people with disabilities. These signs haven’t been changed in 50 years and still display the outdated term “handicapped.” This simple initiative can bring about positive change. It demonstrates the lead organization’s commitment to people with disabilities. It also exposes an issue many people may not have considered before – how insulting this term and sign can be to the group it is intended to support.

I’m learning a lot as we travel down the path to greater diversity and inclusion here at CUNA Mutual Group. This session really showed me how important D&I is, not only in creating a better working environment for employees, but also for the continued success of organizations that care about people.

The summit I attended was just one opportunity to reach out, look deeper and learn more. I encourage anyone and everyone to make D&I a focus, both personally and professionally. By broadening perspectives, we’re creating change for the better.

Monday, July 10, 2017

Are You Focused on a Sliver of Your Workforce?

By Anne Corrigan-Watson 

Generation names sound a bit like alphabet soup. Gen X, Y and now Z. Then, we have the previous generation like the Baby Boomers.  What do they all have in common? By 2020, they’ll all be together in the workforce*. With the blended workforce, you need to be asking the question, “How am I developing this diverse group; and, am I focusing on the right learning channels?”
On-demand learning opportunities are growing exponentially to reach learners. The benefits of increased retention and productivity -- coupled with a faster learning curve -- has made it a go-to channel for learning. Beyond that, your audience demands it. To get you thinking about your direction, take a look at this infographic.

Who are you focused on? Not only do you want the right learning channels offered, you also want to know your staff is receiving accurate, consistent and compliant training resources.
So, what’s available? When I needed to learn how to tie a tie, I turned to YouTube. When credit unions employees need a quick ‘how to’, they can go to our MicroLearning hub. MicroLearnings are five-minute-or-less learning modules. They  can be quickly viewed, then immediately applied on the job. MicroLearnings  can assist the learner by increasing product knowledge, enhancing member conversations and improving leadership interactions. In short, they can find what they need, when they need it.
You don’t have to stop there! For additional, flexible and engaging training opportunities, check out our 2017 webinar series. It’s available at no charge to credit unions who use our lending solutions. So, be sure to register today!
You can provide an exceptional development experience for your blended workforce across today’s digital channels. Two of the four generations in today’s workplace have grown up with technology in their hands, and the other two are consuming digital information at record volumes. And, all of them expect  access to  information when and how they want. Learning for professional development  is no different. So, stay ahead of the learning curve.

*What Motivates Your Workers? It depends on Their Generation | South King County SHRM | May 2016

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.