"Ten years ago you might have seen a handful of credit union people here. Now there are probably more than 200," said Rudy Pereira, senior vice president of operations and technology at $7.3 billion Alliant Credit Union in Chicago. About 100 credit unions were on the attendee list, many sending two or three staff members.
"For me, mobile has been the buzz of this conference, especially around check deposits," Pereira said.
Cutting costs and generating new revenues also were hot topics, and while eliminating free checking was bandied about by presenters at many of the sessions, another BAI attendee said he didn't see that likely to be commonplace at credit unions.
"We don't want to turn into a bank," said Robert Reh, chief information officer at $357 Nassau Financial FCU in Westbury, N.Y. "We're very member focused and as an industry we generally don't rely on fee income."
Karen Davis, vice president and branch center director for $3.7 billion ESL FCU in Rochester, N.Y., echoed that sentiment. "We've grown so fast and we need to manage costs but we're not going to do it in a way that jeopardizes our relationships," she said. "For us it's about balance, about doing a good job of balancing the needs of our members and our employees and, of course, our business."
She also said, like Reh and Pereira, that she was impressed by the range of offerings at the technology show. "I'm a visual person," Davis said. "It helps me understand what real innovations are out there when I can see it working on a screen."