That's the advice of two experts who discussed the subject at CUNA's America's Credit Union Conference & Expo.
Matthew Davidson, who has had extensive experience as a regulator and credit union executive, urged attendees to make use of technology to manage the analysis of product profitability.
Davidson, who is often called on by the NCUA to work with credit unions in conservatorship, said during difficult times credit unions need to be more vigilant about reviewing activities to ensure that they are cost effective.
He said that this kind of planning will make credit unions better prepared if they take some kind of financial hit. He also urged credit union executives and volunteers to think about the potential reaction of their regulators before making a difficult decision and, "Put yourself in their shoes."
Davidson also urged boards to "get the right leadership for the situation and realize that someone may be great during one period but not right for a difficult economic climate."
At the same session, Dan Leclerc, the chief financial officer of Lacamas Community Credit Union in Washington State, said executives should focus on five kinds of risks: interest rate, liquidity, credit, operational and regulatory.
He praised NCUA Chairman Michael E. Fryzel for doing the best he could with a difficult situation when handling the problems of corporate credit unions. While the additional costs will hurt the bottom line of natural person credit unions, the stabilization plan was needed to ensure their long-term financial health, he said.
Leclerc also encouraged credit union leaders to "think a bit more creatively-out of the credit union box'' when dealing with difficult financial periods, such as the one the country is currently facing.