Ex-WesCorp Rep Rapp Forms Education Consortium
In recent years, industry consolidation and the corporate crisis claimed a number of credit union positions and left experienced executives in its wake.
Amy Rapp, who ran Western Corporate FCU’s small- to mid-market credit union program and sold SimpliCD products for Primary Financial, is aggregating that experience into an educational consulting firm called VirtualCorps.
Armed with at least 16 existing workshops that source six industry veterans, Rapp said she is aiming for an untapped educational market sweet spot that addresses topics not currently offered or monopolized by most corporates or trade associations.
Workshops featured on the firm’s website cover a wide range of topics, from net worth restoration and loan and deposit pricing to corporate communications and community development certifications.
Rapp said the workshops can be condensed into one-hour webinars to help credit unions keep up with education while keeping conference costs low.
Workshop facilitators currently represented by VirtualCorps include former WesCorp executives Walter Laskos, who managed public relations, and Bob Penn, former WesCorp IT project manager. ALM and strategic planning consultant Randy Thompson, small to mid-sized credit union consultant Scott Butterfield, and National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions Director of Membership Pablo DiFillippi round out the current roster in addition to Rapp.
Other industry veterans are considering joining the group, she said, but are waiting to see how other full-time opportunities pan out, or have yet to ask their current employer permission to moonlight.
“There’s a lot more talent out there that were unemployed but now have full-time jobs or are working as consultants,” she said. “But they could do a one-day workshop and share their knowledge. This is all about aggregating industry expertise and sharing experience.”
Drawing upon the experiences of a group can also help VirtualCorps stay up to date as issues arise, she said. For example, rising rates have made the agency securities market attractive to all sizes of credit unions struggling with excess liquidity. However, small and mid-sized credit unions don’t necessarily have the expertise to properly manage the investments in their portfolios. With her background on Wall Street and working with smaller credit unions at WesCorp, Rapp said she can fill that temporary need.
Another hot topic is community development credit union designations, made popular by the Great Recession, which dropped household incomes and expanded eligibility to more credit unions.
“This isn’t just a small credit union issue anymore,” Rapp said. “We have $500 million to $1 billion credit unions that need these certifications so they can gain access to other opportunities, like secondary capital and grants.”
Information regarding proposed rulemaking by the NCUA and CFPB is another area of educational opportunity, she said.
Since leaving WesCorp in April 2012, Rapp has been hosting a monthly webinar for the NFCDCU and earlier this year, traveled to Africa with the National Cooperative Business Association to help agricultural cooperatives with strategic planning.