A View From CUNA Mutual's Jeff Post
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As with all other credit union vendors, credit unions' pain is CUNA Mutual's pain. Without employment recovery credit unions' income will be flat to down according to Post, and so will credit union vendors' income. Credit Union Times Editor-in-Chief Sarah Snell Cooke recently sat down with CUNA Mutual CEO Jeff Post to discuss the near term for the credit union industry and CUNA Mutual's business.
SSC: Also, larger than the corporate credit union crisis, yet linked, is the general economy. How do you foresee that shaking out in the next year or two?
JP: I wish I could be optimistic about it, Sarah, to be frank. I'm sure you read the headlines in the paper [recently] that the recession's over but the pain persists. I believe you can't have a jobless recovery. I think we've got to get our hands around employment in this country. A lot of people talk about employment but it can't be underemployment. Just working in underpaying jobs is probably not the answer. I think you need to dig deeper than just the employment numbers. We continue-and I know credit unions especially in the most affected states-continue to be concerned about housing prices, and that doesn't look like it's going to recover anytime soon. In fact, I think some of the noted experts are saying that housing prices could go down for another three years. Bottom line: everything we look at, at best is neutral, maybe neutral to negative, so we actually think there's probably a fairly long road back here.
SSC: The agency has also put out a notice of proposed rulemaking regarding board member education requirements. What do you think should be included in minimum requirements, if at all?
JP: I don't think you need "education requirements" because I think people get educated many different ways throughout their life. I think at a minimum board members should understand financial institutions, should understand what the credit union stands for and how it delivers its products. I sit on a number of different boards, and I will guarantee you that in some of the discussions on those boards, I add very little value, because I don't have the experience in that realm. There are other places where I probably add more value than others, because quite frankly I've had that experience. So I think to necessarily put down a list of ten items and say you've got to check the box of all ten to be a board member kind of misses the point.