NASHVILLE, Tenn. — Compliance, collaboration and recruitment are just a few of the top concerns for leaders of credit unions under $75 million.
During the Small Credit Union Roundtable during NAFCU’s annual conference this week at the Gaylord Opryland Resort attendees shared that regulatory pressures has been the greatest challenge.
“We were looking into putting a courtesy pay program then realized the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is looking into it, so I’m not going to waste my time,” said Patty Dawson, president/CEO of the $29.4 million Taylor Model Basin Federal Credit Union in Bethesda, Md., who moderated the roundtable event. “This corporate stabilization is killing us. I didn’t belong to a corporate credit union, yet I’m paying for it.”
Others shared their NCUA examiner woes.
“I had six examiners come in, and at the end of the day, they claimed we didn’t have the skills to do loans, which we’ve been doing for years,” said one CEO of a $32 million credit union. “We always get the new examiners who nitpick about why procedures aren’t embedded in policies or insisting we need to have an Internet gambling policy in place but miss the big stuff. They chewed up an inordinate amount of time bringing my job to a standstill for three months appealing the exam with still no resolution.”
Attendees were encouraged to write to the CFPB so that they’d have a stronger voice and help promote regulations tailored to meet small credit union resources.
Small credit unions were also advised to reach out within the community and find ways to share ideas and collaborate on a more sophisticated level.
One chief financial officer of a $26 million credit union shared how his credit union joined forces with three other credit unions to outsource and share a part-time collections officer and compliance officer.
“My first credit union opportunity was at a $30 million credit union, and I was always networking, calling on other CEOs to share procedures and policies,” said Jeanne Kucey, president/CEO of $135 million Miami Lakes, Fla.-based JetStream Federal Credit Union and NAFCU board secretary. “You’ve got to help each other out whenever you can. The majority of people are willing to help and share information. Networking is critical because, especially with everyone wearing so many hats at small credit unions, there isn’t enough time to do it all on your own. I know I still get by with help from my friends.”
Another top concern for many small credit unions has been recruiting top talent.
One CEO of a $28 million credit union has had success tapping former bankers who have been laid off and getting referrals from their existing staff.
“Treat them right,” said Dawson. “I have a great staff [who are] always willing to pitch in and value what they do. But part of it is that we treat them well so they want to stay. I had about three former employees wanting to come back.”