By Rich Mohr, Business Development Account Manager
CU Service Network has relationships with credit unions in a multi-state region, giving us a unique opportunity to stay abreast of hot topics in the field. I hear the stories about what’s keeping CEO’s awake at night, key areas of focus and strategies to grow and thrive, and insight into the future of the credit union movement. Each credit union is unique and I hear different things in every conversation, but after a while, I begin to notice some similarities. We thought it would be helpful to share a few with our readers.
Compliance – In the ever-changing arena of compliance, a few key areas stand out. CEOs are worried about website ADA compliance. This is really challenging because much of this is up to interpretation by the examiner. There are also a lot of questions as to regulatory relief. CEOs are getting ready to exhale, but are still holding their breath...waiting to see exactly what the new regs will entail and the impact they’ll have on future operations.
Cyber-Security and Fraud – This is a never-ending worry for credit unions across the country. Criminals are getting smarter and braver and credit unions are trying to stay ahead of the threats. Technology helps combat these threats, but it tends to be complicated and expensive. CEOs are frustrated that a portion of their budget has to be allocated to something that doesn’t generate revenue.
Lending – Some regions are thriving and others are struggling. One things remains consistent however and that is competition for loans, especially indirect loans, is fierce. Everyone wants the A and B paper and loan managers are creatively finding ways to stand out and attract these borrowers. Many CUs are going back to their roots and taking chances on C and even D paper, trusting their members and common bonds to get them re-paid. These loans are a bit riskier, but the margins make it worth exploring.
Accounting – CECL is throwing credit unions for a loop. Thankfully, CFOs and accounting managers have until 2020 to figure it out, but changing how you allocate for loan losses is a challenge. Credit unions are also finding it hard to stay fully staffed. According to Arizona State University, accounting majors have dropped and fewer students are studying the fine art of debits and credits. How will credit unions remain staffed with quality individuals in this key area?
HR and Staffing – No matter where you’re located in the country, finding and keeping quality staff is challenging. In the current job market, the pool of qualified candidates is miniscule. Therefore, it’s critical to keep and develop current employees. Credit unions are thinking outside the box, cross-training staff and offering opportunities to people in new roles.
In general, it’s apparent that CEOs and executive leaders must think differently in order to survive in this ever-changing and competitive environment. Finding new ways to increase efficiency and develop talent is critical. Gone are the days when you hire a person as a teller and require them to do nothing more but manage a cash drawer all day. The good news is the credit union movement has always embraced collaboration and people helping people so the answers are out there.
CU Service Network is uniquely positioned to help credit unions deal with some of these challenges. Our key partnerships and services directly solve some of these issues and can potentially allow CEOs a few extra hours of sleep knowing their funds are secure, their people are thriving and they are more efficient than ever. Collaboration is critical and our back-office accounting, compliance, IT and HR services have never been more relevant. It feels good to deliver services that can really make a difference.