Collaborative Model Still Believed to Best Way to Boost Member Value, NACUSO Reiterates
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- Having an organizational structure that facilitates the management of collaborative efforts is one way to ensure members' financial needs are being met, NACUCO President/CEO Tom Davis told attendees at the group's CEO Collaborative here Sept. 27-29.
Fifty-eight credit union and CUSO leaders representing hundreds of credit unions and clients attended the Sept. 27 opening session held in the Crowne Plaza Hotel. This is the conference's third year. Davis
spoke on how multi-owned CUSOs are one way to redefine "credit union reach, range, and robustness
"The primary reason for cooperating is to provide the member with more value and the best possible experience, through advocacy, credibility, service and convenience," Davis told attendees. "Coming together collectively, rather than each credit union doing things independently, is a more efficient and effective way to
NACUSO Legal Counsel Guy Messick of Media, Pa.-based Messick and Weber P.C., continued to encourage the development of a collaboration policy that penetrates the entire credit union.
"It's very important that credit unions dedicate staff to keep current on collaboration opportunities, to know who is doing what and coordinate strategic collaborative relations, so that you have a coherent way to deal with the opportunities," Messick suggested.
The mindset of the new credit union model is to think collaboratively first to determine if there is an existing collaborative solution, Messick told attendees.
"If collaborations are essential to credit unions and will remake the way credit unions operate, they need to develop a collaboration policy and reorganize the organization's structure to include a staff position that will implement the policy throughout the credit union," Messick said.
'From Strength, Not Crisis' Amway Exec Shares How Company Transformed
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- A yearlong transformation for Amway Corp. started from a "position of strength, not crisis."
Jon Voskuil, vice president of Global Sales and Business Intelligence for Amway, was among the keynote speakers at NACUSO's CEO Collaborative Sept. 27-28. He provided attendees with insight into "Building and Reinventing a Business," delivering a different perspective on critical thinking and innovation within an organization that can launch ninety new products in a period of two months.
Voskuil stated that the decision was made just over a year ago to transform
the Ada, Mich.-based
company to a position of strength.
"The lessons learned included that you should transform from a position of strength not crisis, build a vision and the case for change, confront reality, define your customer, and think about how change will occur,"
Amway is considered a global leader in direct selling, with more than three million Independent Business Owners in more than 80 countries and territories around the world. Alticor Inc., its parent company and Alticor's subsidiaries, reported sales of $6.3 billion in 2006, according to the company's Web site.
Right Blueprint Out There for Collaborative Technology Model
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- While there continues to be much buzz about the concept of collaboration, can an organization really grow with a collaborative
business design and can the credit union industry realistically redefine itself to reach more members?
These were some of the questions posed by Randy Karnes, CEO of CU*Answers, a solutions provider CUSO serving more than 175 credit unions, during a session titled "Do We Have the Right Blueprint for Designing Collaborative Technology." Karnes spoke on three recent instances that focused on collaboration and how the concept is working. The Filene Research Institute has a number of projects currently in place and spearheaded by several industry leaders including effective practices in alliance building, franchising concepts, bank holding company concepts and several case studies.
"It's a two-sided sword," Karnes explained. "Driving out the ideas and the philosophy of working together as well as direct tactics for doing it now."
CU*Answers is in the midst of a redesign with its 2008 business plan emphasizing looking for solutions and making sure the CUSO's model is focused on mining the appropriate opportunities, Karnes said.
"Hunting for innovation also means inspiring others to hunt, gathering an audience of hunters, then responding to their lead...and benefiting from them recognizing both our response and leadership in driving executable solutions," Karnes said.
An invitation from the Credit Union Reciprocal Transactions or CURTS, a trade association for small to mid-size credit unions, asked several poignant questions about collaboration, Karnes used as another example. With networking, "It's not just talking with your peers. Can you be a network and earn with your peers?" the invitation read. When it comes to cooperating, "It's not just getting along with like-minded people. Can you be a cooperative and drive returns to like-minded people?"
"Sometimes it's uncomfortable to be called out on the difference between talking the talk and walking the walk...but it's time to be uncomfortable," Karnes said.
Karnes shared five ideas of how to inspire "credit union cooperation" including instant auctioning of opportunity, lead-mining across membership bases and bartering and balancing fulfillment versus relationship continuity in a network.
"Can you attract outsiders to invest in your opportunity at their own risk...and make it pay," Karnes asked attendees.
Another consideration for credit unions is their own perceptions of barriers that may exist to prevent collaboration. Citing data from Callahan & Associates, Karnes said charter expansion has not necessarily translated into attracting new members.
"Are the barriers to opportunity real, or simply our own perception?" Karnes asked. "Can we shift and invest in the customer of our customers through a collaborative point of view?"
Fertile Ground Exists for Credit Union, CUSO Collaboration
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- There are a number of CUSOs that have paved the way for collaboration and knowing what areas of expertise are needed and where to collaborate are key areas of focus.
During a session on where to collaborate, Judy Sandberg, vice president of strategic direction at Gateway Services Group, and Vic Pantea, president/COO of Members Gateways, LLC, touched on what essentials are needed for certain CUSOs.
For instance, with payroll, technology and electronic delivery system CUSOs, a large capital expenditure is typically required. Specialized and technical expertise is critical for member business lending initiatives as well as investment and insurance program management CUSOs and engineering and technology capabilities. A thorough understanding of complex legal and regulatory issues is paramount for efforts involving national trust company initiatives and realty matters.
Sandberg and Pantea also told attendees at the CEO Collaborative that CUSOs go hand in hand with risk management. For instance, with member business lending, credit unions can segment credit risk and with fixed-rate mortgage loans, they can better manage interest rate risk. A loan participation network aids in diversifying risk while trying new products offered by a CUSO helps to manage brand and business risk.
Mark Schieffer, executive vice president/CFO at SunCorp Corporate CU, also weighed on where to innovate.
"Free your mind...be a kid," Schieffer said during his session. "Accept failure...throw out bad ideas in the stage-gate process. Allow the culture to develop."
The corporate network, for example, is one way to leverage competencies, Schieffer said, especially in the areas of investment management and
NACUSOMatch Enters Second Phase, Idea Exchange Forum Latest Addition
GRAND RAPIDS, Mich. -- The development and beta testing of the new, Web-based NACUCOMatch Forum is expected to be online by the end of the year.
NACUSOMatch Forum is the second phase in NACUSOMatch's development to allow members the means to communicate and explore solutions, said Lisa Renner, CEO of CU Holding Company, LLC, speaking at NACUSO's recent CEO Collaborative.
"From general CUSO issues and answers thread to specific topics like financial services and technology, the NACUSOMatch Forum provides the meeting place and toolset to assist in an ongoing collaborative process," Renner said.
Earlier this year, as part of its activities through the National Center for Collaboration and Innovation, NACUSO established NACUSOMatch, a collaborative Web-based networking tool that allows members to communicate service offerings and investment opportunities for credit unions seeking strategic partnerships. Designed as a unique and comprehensive resource of solutions providers for credit unions, NACUSOMatch delivers a clearinghouse of NACUSO member information and knowledge that fosters collaboration. NACUSOMatch currently provides more than 150 detailed listings through its Web site [www.nacuso.org].
NACUSO President/CEO Tom Davis said the intent behind NACUSOMatch and NACUSOMatch Forum is tied to critical thinking being a prelude to innovation, adding "which along with collaboration and implementation form the foundation of NACUSO's National Center."