The new year has brought some changes at Callahan & Associates as Co-Founder/President Chip Filson has been elected to chairman and Bruce Mancinelli has been named interim CEO.
Described by Filson as a natural professional evolution, the move, which has been part of the strategic plan for over a year, is designed to allow him to focus on the company's external initiatives, including opportunities for credit union cooperative reforms.
"It's been 25 years, and I don't want to keep doing the same thing day in and day out. And I think we have a senior management team that wants to and is prepared to take on more responsibility and accountability in operations," said Filson. "More importantly, I think there are external opportunities for credit unions that need more attention and focus by credit unions themselves. Now is the time to make that strategic move and focus on what I do part-time today, such as speaking and consulting, and free up more time to work on those initiatives that are vital to the credit union system's future."
He added that there are three immediate challenges that he plans to take on in his new role: identifying opportunities for collaborative innovation, helping to frame why financial reform is important and how that reform might apply to the credit union system, and putting in the sweat equity of developing partnerships with companies that can help credit unions deliver innovative solutions.
"The past three years have been some of the most consequential in credit union history," Filson said. "In the final two quarters of 2010, credit unions helped members and communities pull out of the economic downturn by refinancing member mortgages and consumer loans at a rate of over a billion dollars per business day. When credit dried up around the world, the credit union system originated over $525 billion in loans-a record amount-to more than 39 million members. The fact that is not a talking point or not immediately understood is to understate the critical role credit unions played. To allow some problems to be front-page news and dominate D.C. consciousness is a tragic mistake."
Mancinelli, who has been CEO of several high-technology companies over a 40-year period and who serves on the board of DigitalMailer Inc., a Herndon-based CUSO, will focus on internal operations.
According to Filson, the realignment, which includes a sales and marketing team expansion, is a proactive step to help credit unions better serve members and meet business demands.
"The financial reform is a way to bring for-profits closer to the credit union model and there is an opportunity here for credit unions to really show our member focus model and that credit unions are one of the shining stars," said Filson. "We have to be an advocate and have a point of view that is substantiated, not just an opinion. I think that when you are able to articulate the power cooperatives have and can produce a story we can all be proud of and talk about in broader media and landscape in D.C. it's clear we're not just another financial alternative."