Anxious to help small credit unions with compliance and day-to-day operations, the Illinois Credit Union League this week launched a new advisory panel to enhance CU collaboration as well.
The league also tweaked its chapter network to try to draw more participation.
The newly formed Small Asset Size Credit Union Advisory Group – a first for the league – began work this week following its formal debut at the league’s annual conference at its offices in Naperville.
“Beyond what is offered through the listserv and other vehicles, our goal is to reach out in new ways to more of the many small credit unions in Illinois that can benefit from peer-to-peer workshops, mentoring and marketplace forums,” said Joni Senkpeil, ICUL director of small CU development.
Illinois, she noted, is home to one of the nation’s largest groupings of small CUs, with 271 credit unions – 72% of the total – holding less than $25 million in assets. Their need for assistance in handling mounting regulatory concerns and financial challenges prompted new attention by league leadership, said Senkpeil.
Joining Senkpeil and Vicki Ponzo, senior vice president of member services, on the SAS Advisory Group, are three CEOs: Michael Daugherty of the $14.5 million Community Plus FCU in Rantoul, Kimberly Hocking of the $7.8 million Kaskaskia Valley Community CU in Centralia and Karen Jurasek of the $16.9 million Generations CU in Rockford.
Daugherty noted that a key problem under the league’s existing 26-chapter network is that few CUs have a real opportunity to discuss “sharing and collaboration on practices that work.”
“I know I am the only small credit union left in the John L. Kelly Chapter but there used to be many more,” said Daugherty, noting other chapters have seen a marked decline in participation as their numbers shrink.
Under a new multi-chapter framework, groups of chapters with more small CUs represented can participate in a new series of workshops being developed, said Daugherty, who also is vice chairman of the Kelly Chapter.
One area being explored for sharing, he said, includes CU experience with vendors “and that’s something new for us whether it be on a phone service, marketing programs or ad rates,” said Daugherty.
In forming the SAS Advisory Group, the president/CEO of the league, Dan Plauda, stressed that “the existence of a viable, healthy small credit union community is not only vital to the financial well-being of the members they serve, but also to the political and cooperative strength of the movement.”
Plauda added, “We look forward to the advisory group being able to provide this additional level of service to such an important segment of credit unions.”