Fagan Says Market Focus Is Key to Success
From the looks of it, Chuck Fagan plans for CUES to learn as much from credit union professionals as they will learn from the organization. He will officially take over the helm at CUES in January.
“I really want to have a collaborative environment with credit unions. I want a lot of advisory group-type feedback so we can bring what the market wants,” Fagan, currently executive vice president of PSCU, told Credit Union Times.
Fagan freely admitted, “I know payments. This is all new territory.” However, he added, “I think the CEO role at CUES is in large part relationships. The 684 credit unions that PSCU works with and all the others I’ve met along the way are a good start.”
“I plan to be very market focused…I think we have an opportunity to broaden our member-facing personnel,” Fagan said of his plans for CUES.
Fagan has been a member of CUES since 2007 through the supplier channel with PSCU and attended a couple of conferences. He’s planning a much deeper look at CUES’ offerings and what’s working and what’s not.
“The great team [at CUES] is the big thing for me,” Fagan said, but right off the bat, he’ll have to fill a key role. Lavonne Stodola who serves as executive assistant and head of human resources will be retiring in the next few months.
Many CEOs in the credit union community will be following in Johnson and Stodola’s footsteps over the next several years, Fagan noted. With his re-envisioning of CUES, “I think it starts with the number of CEOs that will be retiring in the industry. How can CUES play a role in making sure those spots are filled by other credit union future leaders and keeping that movement philosophy in the family?”
Fagan pointed out during his interview with Credit Union Times at CUES’ CEO Executive Team Network, “This is the industry I know, working at a credit union right out of school for nine years, learning what a member was and learning from the other side from the PSCU perspective. The money that we spend is the members' money.”
Fagan served at PSCU under Dave Serlo. “I learned so much from him about the culture of an organization and that the little things matter. Dave was a constant writer of cards and note cards recognizing people throughout the industry as well as at PSCU.”
The combined cultural background is a winning combination to Fagan. “I know it’s working when you don’t have to constantly say ‘people helping people,’ that it’s just embedded in what you do every day. You see that at many credit unions, and you see it in others where it’s not quite as strong. It’s very important for that next generation leader to know what that difference is.”
As such, Fagan would like to explore how CUES could expand even further, such as handling HR. Credit unions’ world is changing rapidly as evidenced by increased use of third-party call centers, he pointed out, something that was unheard of in credit unions not that long ago. He added that CUES could tap the CO-OPs, PSCUs and other players for speaker support and video vignettes to help educate credit union executives on near-field communications and what EMV is.
Other potential changes are coming in delivery as well. Budgets are a constant challenge he noted, and using his 22-year-old daughter as an example, he said that age group wants to learn differently. There will always be a need for face-to-face interaction but the maintenance in between can come other ways.
The attitude toward online learning is changing. “In today’s environment…you’ve got to adapt to the way people do things. If you look through a consumer standpoint and consumers want to get what they want when the want it.”