<p>By PAUL GENTILE CU Times Editor SAN JUAN CAPISTRANO, Calif. – There's been a lot of speculation about where former NCUA Board member Geoff Bacino, riding a wave of good feeling in the industry for helping dismantle CAP, would turn up. That question has been answered. Bacino is set to become an employee of credit union consulting firm Counter Intelligence Associates, San Juan Capistrano, Calif., a CUSO of Community America CU. He will focus on strategic planning, board governance, and take on speaking engagements for CIA. Bacino will maintain his PR/lobbying firm, Bacino & Associates, located in Alexandria, Va. The job does not call for Bacino to relocate to California. Bacino said a number of opportunities have come his way since leaving the NCUA Board. "I've talked to a lot of folks. I've been encouraged by the people who have been kind enough to contact me. Coming from the board brings with it a lot of information, a lot of knowledge, as well as the fact that I think we did a good job while I was there," said Bacino. His NCUA stint also brings him tons of visibility. "The notoriety of course is nice. A few more people know me these days." Bacino was active with CUs prior to his NCUA Board appointment. He started Bacino & Associates back in 1989, and his father Ted Bacino was an executive at NCUA for many years. He said he was attracted by the flexibility the CIA position offers in being able to maintain Bacino & Associates. He is confident that he can work out his schedule to handle his CIA duties and Bacino & Associates duties. "I have no question we'll be able to work it so I get what I want out of it, and they get what they want out of it. We're still putting the finishing touches on all that. Right now they don't do any type of lobbying. Bacino & Associates has the advantage of having that expertise," he said. CIA's only caveat with taking Bacino on as an employee is that anything he does for Bacino & Associates be outside the purview of CIA. Bacino is excited to work for a firm that he believes is making a difference in the industry, in working with the people that run credit unions. "They're a first-class organization. They do an amazing job," he said. An entrepreneur at heart, Bacino thinks CIA will quench his need for variety and new ventures. "I like being on my own, doing the entrepreneurial stuff. I was on my own before the (NCUA) Board, and you're sort of on an island of your own on the Board as well. At CIA there will be plenty of things to do. I don't think I'll ever get bored. If you do 20 strategic planning sessions a year, they're all going to be different." Strategic planning is an area Bacino is particularly interested in. "When it comes to strategic planning, one mistake credit unions make, I feel, is they go through the motions. They go through the process without looking at results and what they expect to get out of it. It's not the highlight for the board or the CEO that week," said Bacino. He believes credit unions have to become more results-driven with strategic planning, finding out what did or did not work and why. While many CUs may look five or ten years out, Bacino said these days three years is realistically as about as far as CUs can plan ahead. Bacino had discussions with credit union trade associations and some large credit union vendors about going to work for them. "That's a decision I had to make. Do I look to go with somebody, or do I continue to do things on my own, with the freedom and ability to control my own agenda." He said this job gives him a little bit of both. He did note that he could still do work for the very trade associations and vendors he had job discussions with by bringing them on as clients of Bacino & Associates. The jump from regulator to consultant fits, said Bacino. "The jump is one of common sense. Coming from the board I have a broad overview of not only credit unions and the way they operate, but the way the regulator looks at them." Bacino will join CIA Executive Vice President Jane Pannier, a former regulatory professional for NAFCU, in CIA's existing office located in Alexandria, Va. "We're thrilled to have him. He has an awful lot of contacts, and he wants to remain an active force in trying to make a difference for credit unions," said Diane Johnson, president/CEO of CIA. Bacino's star shining so bright right now is not lost on Johnson. "He will bring us visibility and additional exposure. I like his commitment. He sought us out. We did not go after him. He contacted us and told us he liked the work we do," said Johnson. CIA is celebrating its silver anniversary this year. Johnson founded the firm. "We've been around for 25 years, and we've been quite well-behaved in that time. We don't have any relationships with for-profit companies. We try really hard to be a legitimate, honest resource for credit unions," said Johnson. It is a 12-person firm that made headlines last year for becoming a CUSO of Community America CU. It was groundbreaking in that it was the first such CUSO to be involved with consulting on such a broad range of credit union issues. It also offers a variety of Web-based solutions, including site hosting and maintenance. It is making a name for itself of late in the evolving "Webcast" arena. (See related story below). [email protected]</p>

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