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The CU2.0 Podcast

Author: Robert McGarvey

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This podcast explores contemporary, critical thinking and issues impacting the nation's credit unions. What do they need to be doing to not just survive but prosper?
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Ask Larry Nichols, CEO of Member Driven Technologies, a Michigan based CUSO, what's in the future for credit unions and he has a one word answer: Digital.Actually, that oversimplifies the answer because in this podcast Nichols and I talk for about 40 minutes about what's next and he in fact ticks off four basic themes:* Digital banking - by which he means many, many things besides mobile and online banking. E-signatures for instance. Also digital account opening.  Digital is the future of banking.* The evolution of the branch* The new need for business continuity planning* The need to find new ways credit unions can support their communities in this time of need.Along the way, Nichols evangelizes for cloud based core systems, the central MDT focus.  Around 106 credit unions are MDT core customers and, Nichols says, this is a way to have the latest technologies - but to leave the hefty lifting to professionals.He's probably right. Many credit unions would benefit from turning their cores over to a third party to manage in the cloud.There are explanations about why that is so in this podcast.The podcast starts with the question: How many member owners are there for your CUSO? The answer will surprise you.A technical matter: after the podcast was recorded, Nichols emailed to say he had misremembered the date when MDT first offered mobile banking.  That wrong date has been erased and, in my voice, you will hear the right date, 2008.  Larry's voice did not inexplicably change.  It's my voice.Also for the record, the Apple iPhone was introduced in 2007.Listen up.Get your FREE ticket to the December 9th CU2.0 Fintech Mastermind Presents Showcase Day 2020.  This is the first of its kind event where CU 2.0 has brought together the industries' top leaders form well known Credit Unions and paired them up with top Fintech experts in one place! Our subject matter expert will help you and your organization tackle the top issues we face today with unique master classes, tailored for folks just like you.Get your ticket at Eventbrite. Click here.Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available. Email rjmcgarvey@gmail.comAnd like this podcast on whatever service you use to stream it. That matters.Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It's a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto
 This is a special CU 2.0 Podcast where the aim is to take listeners inside the CU2.0 Mastermind group where credit union executives and fintech executives join together to explore new ideas, to review problems, and together - by sharing wisdom and experiences - join in reaching higher levels of success.In this episode Ray Crouse, CEO of Parsons Federal Credit Union and board chair of NACUSO, Darryl Hicks, CEO of fintech FlexPay, and Kirk Drake, founder of CU2.0 talk candidly about Mastermind groups and along the way you will get a sense of the flavor of what a Mastermind group really is and how it works.Consider this a glimpse into how a group works.In this podcast you will hear personal testimony from all three on what they are getting and have gotten out of Mastermind groups - and both Drake and Hicks, longtime members of Mastermind groups, offer vivid reports of exactly how Mastermind groups have benefited them, personally and professionally.Hicks, in the podcast, males mention of Johari quadrants. Info on that is here.  Listen here.Get your FREE ticket to the December 9th CU2.0 Fintech Mastermind Presents Showcase Day 2020.  This is the first of its kind event where CU 2.0 has brought together the industries' top leaders form well known Credit Unions and paired them up with top Fintech experts in one place! Our subject matter expert will help you and your organization tackle the top issues we face today with unique master classes, tailored for folks just like you.Get your ticket at Eventbrite. Click here.Read up to learn more about Mastermind groups here in this CU2.0 blog post.Hear the first CU2.0 Mastermind podcast here.  In this episode Kirk Drake and Dr. Patty Ann Tublin, who facilitates the CU2.0 Mastermind groups, talk about why and how Mastermind groups work and who will benefit from them.Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available. Email rjmcgarvey@gmail.comAnd like this podcast on whatever service you use to stream it. That matters.Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It's a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto
Branches are not going away.  That's a firm belief of Nathan Rogers, a longtime financial services executive who has spent many years in shared branching - a feature he calls a significant credit union strategic advantage.Yet now, amid the pandemic, many credit union executives are talking. about pulling out of the shared branching networks.  Why bother with it if nobody is using the branch?Ask Rogers and he sees that thinking as short-sighted and in fact now is the optimum time to offer shared branching and thereby provide more member service without the expense of opening and staffing a branch that may in fact have an uncertain future.Back up a step. Know that there are around 1850 credit unions participating in the CO-OP shared branching network.  They have around 6000 branches collectively and that is bigger than any branch network in the US.  Feast on that. The credit union shared branch network is the biggest in the country.Along the way in this conversation we also explored the credit union shared ATM network - another industry advantage that often is inadequately explained to members and prospective members. And we discuss new trends in digital banking and the branch of the future.Listen up here.Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available. Email rjmcgarvey@gmail.comAnd like this podcast on whatever service you use to stream it. That matters.Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It's a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto
 Go big or go home.  That's the bold message from investment banker Peter Duffy of Piper Sandler and for some years he has been in the thick of credit union mergers.And Duffy is here to say there's a new trend.  Used to be, most credit union mergers involved a shoebox credit union getting devoured by a bigger one.  You know why that played out. Usually the small credit union had reached a point where its viability was questionable and the regulator, with winks and nods and maybe a shove, engineered a shotgun marriage with a bigger, healthier institution.According to Duffy, that is changing and now very big credit unions - some with well over $1 billion in assets and healthy balance sheets - are talking "mergers of equals" with like sized institutions.Why? It just is getting tough to compete with the money center banks who control an ever expanding piece of the financial pie. Add in the competition of fintechs and, suddenly, institutions with assets under, pick a number, $500 million? $1 billion? $5 billion? Are finding it ever tougher to thrive.And $5 billion, by the way, often is the number that survival oriented big credit unions have their eye on, says Duffy.Duffy also posits that what he calls Covid fatigue is wearing out many credit union senior managers and lots of board members. A merger to them may appear to be a great exit strategy. Along the way in this podcast Duffy throws out lots of Piper Sandler research findings on what it takes to succeed today.  Take notes. This is excellent stuff.You won't sleep well after listening to this - but you just may hear your path to institutional survival.Listen up.Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available. Email rjmcgarvey@gmail.comAnd like this podcast on whatever service you use to stream it. That matters.Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It's a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto
 Do it for me. That is exactly what more and more credit union members expect from their financial institution. Especially around payments.Amazon's Alexa is smart enough to remind us that, based on our order history, it's now time to re-order cat food.  Why can't my credit union remind me to pay my car lease, my mortgage, and the Discover bill that is always due on the 15th?The insight of Payrailz, a Connecticut based fintech, is that the credit union in fact probably has all the tools it needs to do those reminders - even to initiate the payments for members that choose.Enter the world of AI powered payments.Mickey Goldwasser, chief of staff at Payrailz, said we are entering into an era of "Do It For me" - and AI makes that a very possible reality.A member forgot to pay his/her American Express card bill - but won't that member welcome a nudge? "Usually you have paid American Express by now?  Is that bill due?"Smart payment rails can also be called upon to actually make the payment.The beauty is that drudgery is being taken off the member's plate - and smart machines are running with it.13 credit unions are in CU Railz, a CUSO that owns Payrailz. A few other credit unions, and a smattering of banks, also have adopted the technology. But, says Goldwasser, 90% of Payrailz business is with credit unions.Size varies from small to the $12 billion Sun Coast.Listen up. The time is now for smarter payments tools that anticipate what members want to pay and help them do it.Do it for me is now a reality in payments.This, clearly, is the next evolution in payments.Dig deeper into AI and credit unions in earlier CU2.0 Podcasts - with Posh Development and Coalesce, both DCU Innovation Lab companies (our podcast with the Innovation Lab director Vasilios Roussos is here).A recent podcast with Fahd, the CEO of Abaka, tells more about AI and how credit unions can sell smarter. Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available. Email rjmcgarvey@gmail.comAnd like this podcast on whatever service you use to stream it. That matters.Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It's a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto
Here's the fast track to making members feel they are being sold to: offer them products and services they have no interest in or use for. How often does your credit union do exactly that? But if you want a member to feel understood, valued, offer him or her something they honestly want or need.If only it were so simple, you grumble.Maybe it is exactly that simple.Meet Fahd Rachidy, the CEO of London-based ABAKA, a company in the business of harnessing AI to help financial institutions - credit unions included - better serve their members.Fahd also is a strong believer in democratizing his tools.  He proudly says ABAKA serves small financial institutions and giants.  The company uses a SaaS model - software as a service - so users pay as they go and for what they consume.  Some FIs spend low five figures in a year with ABAKA. Others may be high six figures and beyond.So what you want to know is how offer members what they want. Really.  Listen to the podcast where Fahd tells about ABAKA's tools for zeroing in on what he calls the next best action - that is, pinpointing what this member wants now.How? By using account data the institution has on hand, supplemented with publicly available third party data (from social media posts to credit scores and history).Crunch that data right, says Fahd, and an institution can jump from a 3% conversion rate to 30%.You want to hear more about this.Along the way in this podcast Fahd also talks about ABAKA's conversational AI chatbot tools - and many members in fact prefer to talk with a machine - and also about how AI is making PFM tools, at long last, easy to use and actually useful.The theme of this podcast is that AI has come of age and now is ready for credit union deployment.Listen up.Dig deeper into AI and credit unions in earlier CU2.0 Podcasts - with Posh Development and Coalesce, both DCU Innovation Lab companies (our podcast with the Innovation Lab director Vasilios Roussos is here).Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available. Email rjmcgarvey@gmail.comAnd like this podcast on whatever service you use to stream it. That matters.Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It's a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto
 Most credit unions continue to wrestle with too many deposits and too few places to park that money profitably.  Call this Part 3 of the CU2.0 deep dive into lending in the pandemic era and that is because Barclay Keith, CEO of Artis Technologies, has developed tools that will enable a credit union to empower business members - think home improvement retailers, contractors, jewelers, etc. - to initiate personal loans to consumers, typically in the range of $3000 to $65,000.For the credit union, this just may be a high yield lending arena that also may well bring in new members.For the business, a fast, convenient way for a shopper to borrow may bring in bigger and more sales.For the consumer, this may be a quick and easy way to borrow at competitive rates.Win-win-win.For the consumer it typically takes minutes to complete a loan app, a process that can be initiated and completed at the retailer.  The underwriting is AI powered, there's instant KYC verification, and the lending institution - the credit union - gets to set its own policies. Some may not want to lend to subprime borrowers, others may.  Some may want to lend only to super-prime borrowers, many will have a broader standard. Artis Technologies lets the lending institution set the policies it is comfortable with.The conversation with Keith in this podcast is a broad look at how the Artis tools work and the benefits that may come to credit unions that deploy them.Part 1 of the new lending tactics series is #113 with Sherif Hassan on small business lending.  Part 2 is #114 with Nicholas Hinrichsen on opportunities in refinancing car loans and also lending to subprime car buyers.   You know you have money on hand you want to put to work.  Listen to the CU2.0 trilogy for ideas you can use today.Barking alert:  There is some barking and growling in this podcast, noises that defied filtering software used in editing the podcast.  The podcast is clearly audible.  And no animals were injured in recording the podcast.Listen up.Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available. Email rjmcgarvey@gmail.comAnd like this podcast on whatever service you use to stream it. That matters.Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It's a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto
Call this the best of times for digital member service company Glia and that is because, in the pandemic era, credit unions' traditional member service tools have fallen out of favor and so just about all of us have become significantly more digital, said Dan Michaeli, Glia CEO and co-founder.Just a couple years ago, many credit unions looked at digital customer service tools as a "nice to have." That's changed for many and, suddenly, these tools are must haves.Especially at credit unions, says Michaeli and that's because credit unions have always had a member centric attitude. And digital tools just may be the best tools around.Here is what Glia says it does: "Glia creates digital-first moments that simplify and transform conversations between institutions and their customers using Messaging, Video, Voice, CoBrowsing, and Artificial Intelligence." Even better, as service switches from channel to channel - as often happens - the context and history are retained. No more maddening moments for a member who just spent 10 minutes explaining a problem to a rep and now is asked by a new rep to  tell about the problem. From scratch.  How frustrating is that?Right now, we are in a shift from telephone based member service into a variety of digital channels, including oldfashioned voice, but with text, AI and more claiming ever larger roles.An upshot is that members may find themselves experiencing better service and now they will be able to pick their own channel.Are these tools that mainly will abound at only the biggest financial institutions? Michaeli believes otherwise. He in fact believes that this technology levels the playing field and a $100 million credit union just may have member service tools that rivals that of a big five money center bank.How cool is that?You want to know - indeed, in the Covid era you need to know - about digital member service and that's why this half-hour is a must listen.
Call this Part 2 of our smarter lending for credit unions. The recent episode, #113, explored small business lending with Capiform's Sherif Hassan. Listen here. This week it's time for something entirely different.Happy with your car loan portfolio?Many credit unions are anything but and this has become a crucial issue as most are awash in deposits and now are hunting for profitable places to put that cash to work.Car loans could be it. But indirect lending...not so much.Enter Nicholas Hinrichsen, an online car sales veteran who co-founded an online used car marketplace in 2015 when he raised $10 million in venture capital. They sold that business in 2017 to Carvana, which by now has grown into one of the nation's biggest used car retailers.After logging three years at Carvana he is again starting up a new company, with $5 million in venture funding, where the aim is to help credit unions better sell car loans to their members.Hinrichsen knows car loans and he also knows about credit union dissatisfaction with indirect loans.  He has a better idea: helping members refinance existing car loans issued by third parties, converting them into credit union owned loans.Credit unions can win that fight, said Hinichsen, because usually their loans are better, at lower interest rates.Most credit unions, he admits, do "spray and pray" marketing, sending out mailers to all pre-qualified members. In this podcast he tells a smarter, more cost effective way to contact the right members, ones who just might be prospects for car refinance.Keep listening because he has an idea for tools that will essentially pre-populate a loan app for a member, using data the credit union already has. So filling out a loan application literally takes seconds.And another - intriguing - idea he has is about how to profitably make sub-prime loans to existing members and, in the process, to create a path for them to get lower interest rates going forward. Just that may be a core credit union mission, especially as more members deal with economic pains of the pandemic.You know you want to issue more and more profitable auto loans. This is a podcast you have to hear.Contact Hinrichsen here.  The company is named ClutchLike what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available. Email rjmcgarvey@gmail.comAnd like this podcast on whatever service you use to stream it. That matters.
Call this Part 1 of our smarter lending duet.  Part 2, posting tomorrow in podcast 114, is on smarter car loans with Nicholas Hinrichsen. You don't want to miss that one. PPP loans just may have awakened credit unions to the immense opportunity there is in small business lending.  That's what Sherif Hassan, CEO of fintech Capiform, believes.  The opportunity is there.But to win that business credit unions need to speed up their lending process, said Hassan, and they also need to create a more efficient process that cuts costs.Automation - smart technology - is the key.  At many credit unions, the typical cost for funding a small business loan is around $3600, said Hassan.  Capiform's tools  get that cost down to maybe $360.At that cost, suddenly making smaller loans - maybe $50,000 or $75,000, loans that often are what small businesses want - is realistic.Community banks have long had a lead in small business lending, but CU2.0 Podcast listeners recently heard Steve Bruyn of Foresight Research say that his data shows a huge drop in customer satisfaction at community banks. That's an opportunity for credit unions.Add in the comfort many credit unions gained in the PPP program - where they learned they could successfully deal with small businesses and also with the federal government - and the path to more loans for credit unions is clear.It comes at an ideal time. Many credit unions are drowning in deposits. Small business loans are a profitable path to safety.Don't many fintech lenders want that same market? They do. But credit unions - with their community focus - have a fast track to succeeding in that battle. Listen up as Hassan tells why.You may have heard Hassan's earlier podcast. Here's a link.Listen up to this new podcast here.Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available. Email rjmcgarvey@gmail.comAnd like this podcast on whatever service you use to stream it. That matters.
 Now just may be the worst of times but it also is an opportunity for credit unions to reinvent themselves, by reimagining their roles and taking an active part in helping to limit what many experts see as a coming eviction crisis, as renters who have suffered enormous economic hardships in the Covid-19 pandemic are put out on the streets. What if credit unions made available emergency loan funds to help renters avoid that outcome?That's the question Jake Schlachter, executive director of We Own It, an organization devoted to reinvigorating the cooperative movement, asks.A starting point is that many credit unions have more set aside than the 7 to 8% excess capital required by the regulator. What if those institutions used some of that money to help renters avoid eviction. What if....Credit unions just might be seen as community heroes.Suddenly, many would know exactly the difference between banks and credit unions.Schlacter has sent out a letter to the CEOs of 1430 credit unions with assets above $100 million and significant excess capital. Here's a link to the letter.Now what happens? Listen to the podcast. You will hear Schlachter's hopes and dreams.This is a challenge to just about every credit union.  But the need is real and the possible payoffs are also real.Want to hear more Schlachter? Here's a podcast I did with him for a different series a year ago.  This one focuses on cooperatives in general with minimal direct references to credit unions.Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available. Email rjmcgarvey@gmail.comAnd like this podcast on whatever service you use to stream it. That matters.Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It's a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto
Bank Transfer Day 2020, Bigger and Better?By Robert McGarveyYou remember Bank Transfer day, that 2011 movement that brought in perhaps one million new credit union members, possibly more.Something a lot bigger may be about to happen.That’s the opinion of Steve Bruyn, CEO of Foresight Research who, writing in The Financial Brand, said that its extensive polling had found nearly a doubling of the number of consumers who say they intend to change financial institutions. Now 22% say they are heading to the exit of their present financial institution, per Foresight Research.  Foresight Research elaborated: “We have surveyed almost 11,000 banking customers and credit union members in 44 markets to find out what is really going on in the world of banking from the customer/member’s point of view.  Then we added another survey of almost 700 customers and members to find out what the pandemic had changed in the banking industry.  We found a hot spot of churn.  Churn increased from 12% (over two years) to 22% expected churn in the next year or two.”Hear the Bruyn podcast here.The news gets sweeter still: “Of the people who intend to leave their financial institution almost 3 out of 4 are Gen Z or Millennials - the very block of business that drives the future of your financial institution,” said Foresight Research.Foresight Research added: “So, what drove the high churn?  Even though satisfaction declined greatly (except at credit unions) that was not the culprit.  Customers and members were generally empathetic, likely thinking ‘we are all in this together’. It was all about financial issues like interest rates and fees.  The switchers while forgiving also are looking to reduce cost or increase interest on items like money market accounts, CDs, etc.”This makes sense. The economy is the worst it has been since the Great Depression. Millions of us are unemployed and millions more are underemployed (working fewer hours).  It’s tough to balance the household budget when less money is coming in so a shrewd step is to slash unnecessary outgo.Bank fees are prime to be trimmed. And that is a potential bonanza for credit unions.Ask yourself this: where can credit unions beat banks, consistently?  The answer is and has long been on pricing of everything, from account fees to NSF fees and loan interest rates.  Credit unions are member owned, they have no shareholders who demand dividends.  Most have unpaid boards of directors.  Most pay their employees fairly but rarely lavishly - and here’s a CNN round up of bank c-suite compensation and note that the CEO of Bank of America had total compensation of $24.8 million but he was by no means the highest paid in the group.Big salaries, big dividends to shareholders, and bloated, inefficient branch networks add up to huge expenses on the books and that means customers have to pay through the nose for the privilege of having a bank account.Ac
No more cookie cutter solutions.  And put a branch in the member's hands with mobile tools that allow the member to do pretty much anything he/she could do in a branch.When Wildfire, a $900 million credit union in Saginaw Michigan, set out on its omnichannel journey four or five years ago it dreamed big, says Mark Schuiling, VP of technology.  A lot of the process was doing hard thinking about what the institution wanted to be and what it wanted to provide members. From the start, however, Wildfire knew its future would be digital and it also wanted to provide members with a unified consumer experience, not the fragmented experience many credit unions offer because they have pasted together solutions provided by third party vendors.At $900 million, however, and with only three programmers, Wildfire also knew it had to carefully pick a vendor and a tool that would suit its budget and its internal skills.About a year ago, the process turned serious and Wildfire went all in on its digital transformation, working with Backbase as its technology partner.Listen up to the Backbase podcast, number 110 in this series. This Wildfire podcast tells the story from the institution's perspective and Wildfire candidly tells about its hopes, its challenge, and also why it now is going slow in the roll out of its omnichannel solutions to members (because it wants members to want the solution and to know they want it).Listen up here.Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available. Email rjmcgarvey@gmail.comAnd like this podcast on whatever service you use to stream it. That matters.
 For how many years have you heard about omnichannel banking - and you also know not many institution have done this more than pay lip service to an idea of the digital first financial institution.About 90% of financial institutions in the US in fact fall very short of really getting omnichannel, says Vince Bezemer, head of strategy at Backbase, a digital platform provider with the tagline "Become the Bank that People Love."That means about 10% of US FIs are in fact digital first and of course that includes many of the biggest.But it does not mean that credit unions can't succeed in embracing a digital first strategy.In fact now, in the Covid-19 era, many are going forward at high speed to become digital first.As for Backbase's pedigree, know that its clients include Navy Federal, State Employees Credit Union of North Carolina, and Schools First.But Bezemer in this podcast stresses that Backbase has tools and services for smaller institutions too. This podcast is Part 1 of a two part series on digital first.  In this podcast Bezemer talks at length about what digital first means, why it is important, what institutions need to really do it, and why you don't want to define your credit union with cookie cutter tools and apps that literally hundreds of other credit unions use.In Part 2, you will hear from Wildfire Credit Union, a Backbase client that is deep into its transformation into a digital first institution. It's a rare, candid look at what the process really is.You know digital first matters.  Listen up.Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available. Email rjmcgarvey@gmail.comAnd like this podcast on whatever service you use to stream it. That matters.
 Paul Ablack knows big data and fintechs.  He served as CEO at OnApproach, a big data company aimed at credit unions that was acquired by Trellance.Ablack left OnApproach after the acquisition and is now noodling new opportunities in fintechs and especially in commercial lending for deposit rich credit unions.  In that latter regard he is bullish on what he sees as major opportunities in lending for new senior care facilities and, yes, that industry has taken a beating in the Covid-19 era but that, too, may well fuel the need for new, more smartly designed senior care facilities.The need for senior care will only grow for some years to come as Baby Boomers age (and the oldest Boomers are now 74, the youngest 56).  Throughout, Ablack sees unique opportunities for credit unions, in part because of their cooperative character. If enough credit unions share data, a powerful big data lake would be an industry asset that will help credit unions compete with the biggest banks.If credit unions come together into what Ablack sees as a Venture Capital CUSO that manages many fintech investments, big successes could come to the movement, he said, where today's piecemeal, every credit union for itself fintech investing produces scattershot successes.  Bold thinking? You bet. That's why Ablack is a fun podcast guest. He throws out a number of good ideas you may not have heard before.Covid-19 is triggering huge changes in financial services. Tomorrow's services won't be today's.  Think new, think fresh - and this Ablack podcast will nudge you in that direction.From our archives, here's a podcast with Lou Grilli of Trellance.  It predates the OnApproach acquisition. But there's good info on payments.Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available. Email rjmcgarvey@gmail.comAnd like this podcast on whatever service you use to stream it. That matters.
 Before he was 40, Ralph Swoboda was named CEO of CUNA in Washington, DC.  That was in 1986 and he held the job until 1994.  That was when CUNA was a big association, with a head count upwards of 1400 because it provided a lot of assistance for credit unions with back office operations.His next job after leaving CUNA was chairman of the management committee of the Association of British Credit Unions, based in Manchester, England.Later, he moved to CUNA Mutual where he was head of international operations, directing operations in some 30 countries, from China to the Caribbean.Now Swoboda is managing director of CUFA Ltd., a fintech based in Dublin, Ireland which creates lending analytics software running on big data for credit unions in Ireland but expansion into the United Kingdom and the United States is afoot.Buckle your seatbelt for this wide ranging conversation that covers upwards of 35 years of high level involvement with credit unions, literally in dozens of countries. You will hear about differences between Irish credit unions and American credit unions, about the importance of community banks to US credit unions, and how the US payments system is something of a Third World embarrassment.We wind up discussing the lending analytics tools Swoboda now is involved in and the timing could not be more ideal as many credit union executives awaken to the reality that lots of once solid loans on their books may be turning bad as Covid-19 takes its toll on many national economies.Probably no podcast in this series covers so diverse a range of topics, countries, technologies.You may not always agree with Swoboda. But you will definitely have fun listening in on this conversation.Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available. Email rjmcgarvey@gmail.comAnd like this podcast on whatever service you use to stream it. That matters.
 When Bert Hash, Jr. took over as CEO of MECU in 1996 it was a $400 million institution with one branch that served municipal employees of Baltimore. In this podcast he tells about the institution he took charge of. It had exactly zero ATMs.  It did not dispense cash to members - if a member wanted a withdrawal, they were issued a check and most went across the street to a bank to cash it.  Hash, who came to MECU after a long career with banks, knew there had to be changes.  Within his first six months he put cash in the branch, installed the first ATM, brought in computers and prepared the institution for the battles ahead of it.When he retired in 2014, MECU had assets of $1.3 billion, a membership of 106,000, and it had grown from one branch to 11.I knew I had to talk with him even before I heard that story and that was because retired SECU North Carolina CEO Jim Blaine and Renee Sattiewhite of AACUC  enthusiastically seconded the motion.When I initially asked Bert, he momentary hesitated - did he belong in the company this podcast features? Of course I knew he did. But he is a decent, modest man and you will hear that personality throughout this podcast.  In one section he tells of taking a call from an irate member who believed MECU had made a mistake with his account. Bert agreed with him but still the man went on and after 30 minutes, the man was still threatening to move his account to a bank.  Bert told him he was sure he would find at least one thing different at a bank. What, asked the man. "You won't have a half hour conversation with the bank CEO trying to convince you to stay," said Bert.His is a credit union life and it is made all the special because, as an African American, he faced challenges in his career path and in his leadership of MECU.  He tells his story in this podcast which is an especially personal document.At the end, you will hear a podcast paste on where a recording of a call Bert made to me is.  That's because as he reflected overnight about what he had said when asked if he witnessed racism in financial services, he decided he had more to say. His perspective is thoughtful, nuanced, realistic. (Sound quality is different. But the recording is audible.)He offers a brief summary of the 100+ year of African American credit unions, tells why he think them important in reaching out to the underserved, and offers a stirring perspective on the real credit union mission.Along the way, you will hear mention of many past CU2.0 podcasts - Jim Blaine, Bucky Sebastian, Gary Oakland, Renee Sattiewhite, Bill Bynum, Cathie Mahon, and Marc Schaefer.This podcast is recorded in Phoenix - thus the first remarks from Bert.Tech note: this week the podcast switched to new software, Hindenburg Journalist.  Forgive any glitches - they are on me.Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available. Email rjmcgarvey@gmail.comAnd like this podcast on whatever service you use to stream it. That matters.
Are you ready to jumpstart your credit union's successes? How about your personal success?You want to know about the new CU2.0 Mastermind group - which is specifically created to help credit union leader and fintech leaders come together in small, working groups to hash out problems, solutions, opportunities.Listen up: we are in a crisis. A health crisis and a national, indeed global, financial crisis.  The impacts of what we now confront will be with us for years.  You remember 2008.  This is worse. And it will cause more disruption.That's why now is the time for a Mastermind group.  Because it's time for a big rethink and a Mastermind group will put this process in overdrive for participants.Mastermind groups work. They accelerate success. In this podcast you will hear personal testimony about the power of Mastermind groups from CU2.0 founder Kirk Drake.You also will hear from Dr. Patty Ann Tublin who shares her psychological insights into what challenges credit union leaders and fintech leaders face today and the barriers they face in succeeding.And you will hear about how these Mastermind groups will work, mixing small group sessions with larger ones and all done virtually, at least for now.You've heard of Mastermind groups? Indeed you have if you have read the great motivational writer Napoleon Hill who is credited with coining the term in his 1920s book The Law of Success.  He elaborated upon the idea in his later book, Think and Grow Rich.In its simplest form a Mastermind group is for peer to peer mentoring - meaning the same folks get together, in person or virtually, on a regular basis and hash out what is gnawing on them.  In the CU2.0 version, sessions are facilitator led to add more focus to every session.That will speed the results and, nowadays, who has time to wait?Listen up.Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available. Email rjmcgarvey@gmail.comAnd like this podcast on whatever service you use to stream it. That matters.Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It's a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto
 Ask Angela Russell, Vice President of Diversity, Equity and Inclusion at CUNA Mutual Group, a year from now what she would want to be able to tell us about progress made in the year and she did not hesitate with her answer.On a personal level, she said, she hoped her son would be able to go for a run outside without fear.Professionally, she said she hoped that the conversation about race and diversity and financial inclusion would be continuing and that credit unions would still be taking positive actions, rather than today's focus on race simply fading away as just another fad.Take a deep breath now. If you believe this will be a heavy podcast that challenges a lot of your beliefs you are right."We are doing better but we have a long way to go," said RussellBut also know this: Angela Russell is an engaging conversationalist (hear her personal podcast, Black Oxygen, here) who laughs often but who also puts our attention on issues we might want to ignore - but nowadays we cannot.The US is changing. We are fast on the way to becoming a minority majority nation. Credit unions that want to stay relevant need to adapt to this changing reality and that means, among other things, tuning into the changing demographics of their communities, seeking to engage minority board members, and seeking to improve representation of multiple races and nationalities on their workforces.It's a tall order. But now is the time.There are many related podcasts in this series, including #100 with Victor Miguel Corro of Coopera, another CU DEI Collective member, 101 with Renee Sattiewhite of the African American Credit Union Coalition, and also Cathie Mahon, CEO of Inclusiv, also a CU DEI Collective member. And a podcast with Cliff Rosenthal, a pioneer in the CDFI world. And there's a podcast with Pablo DeFillipa, also of Inclusiv.  Another don't miss is Bill Bynum of Hope CU.  The podcast also mentions a book titled Evicted, by Princeton sociologist Matthew Desmond.,Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available. Email rjmcgarvey@gmail.comAnd like this podcast on whatever service you use to stream it. That matters.Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It's a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto
You know the feelings - powerlessness, exasperation, maybe even anger - and know that these are typical for credit union staff involved in audits conducted by regulators.Those audits are routine but for many credit unions they are an ordeal.Why?  Maybe 8 in 10 credit unions still handle issues that arise in an audit the same way they did in 1990, that is, a  lot of email flies around to staff ("Handle the attached request from the auditor") and everything is logged into a tracking spreadsheet.Except some items never make it into the spreadsheet.  Some emails go missing. And anxiety and frustration boil over.Those credit unions are drowning in minutiae.Here's the life preserver.Enter Redboard, a software tool that automates the process and, says Redboard CEO Brad Powell, the software pays for itself in reduced staff time alone.Some audit software is hard to use. Not Redboard. When asked, Powell said it's "so easy even a caveman can use it."  He added that "we build our software on the same principle that Apple builds the iPhone," that is, there is significant sophistication but, for most users, what they experience is how easy it all is.  Listen up.Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available. Email rjmcgarvey@gmail.comAnd like this podcast on whatever service you use to stream it. That matters.Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It's a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto
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