Trades Paring Expenses While Advising CUs on How to Do the Same
CUNA and NAFCU have been tightening their respective belts in response to the recession. They've also ramped up programs to help credit unions do the same.
The most dramatic cuts have come at CUNA, where 26 employees were laid off and all employees were forced to take five unpaid days off between now and September. The association has also eliminated bonuses for senior managers and cut contributions to employee 401(k) plans and travel to close a $200,000 budget gap.
NAFCU President/CEO Fred Becker said that while his organization hasn't faced the challenges that CUNA has, it has cut expenses in a range of areas as well.
NAFCU now sends members messages electronically, eliminating print versions. When the receptionist left, the association didn't hire a new person for the job, but divvied out the responsibilities to other employees.
"We've always tried to spend our members' money as if it were our own," Becker said. "We see our approach as that of managing costs, not cutting costs."
CUNA also revamped its accounting and management systems. It brought in a new association management system, Personify, which streamlined internal operations and is expected to make providing member services, such as fulfillment, easier.
The association's new financial management system streamlined accounting procedures, shortened the payment processing time and instituted a system of paperless time sheets and paychecks.
"CUNA saw lower expenses and increased net margins and reserves as a result of the many process improvements," CUNA Chief Financial Officer Joanne Duncan said in a statement. "We feel confident that we are positioning CUNA for the future and are still on track to meet our business plan by the end of year 2010."
Both trade associations have also taken steps to help their members save money.
NAFCU has created 30-second generic broadcast and web advertisements-for as little as $150-that credit unions can customize cheaply. Some credit unions have posted them on their Web sites and others have used them in their mix of television advertisements.
NAFCU also established an online training program for credit union employees and volunteers to save CUs travel and eliminate the need for credit unions to develop their own courses. Credit unions pay between $500 and $4,000, based on assets and NAFCU membership status, for a year of unlimited access to the courses. So far, 18 credit unions have signed up.
CUNA has increased marketing and reduced prices for courses. It has instituted a buy-one-get-one-free offer for its Seminars in a Box, which provide customizable CU training.
The prices for CUNA statement stuffers has also been cut in half.