NEW ORLEANS – The 2004 CUES Marketing, Operations, & Technology Conference kicked off in New Orleans April 3-6 with a blend of history and mardi gras style fun -complete with beads for all. Interestingly, the conference attendees hit New Orleans at a high point. Thousands of visitors were in town taking in the women’s NCAA Final Four. In addition, Vice President Dick Cheney flew into town for a fund-raiser for U.S. Senate hopeful David Vitter April 5. During the opening general session, Decision Strategies International Managing Partner Roch Parayre advised credit unions to “make uncertainties your friends”. “It is not about predicting the future but provoking debate and thinking in new strategic ways about the future,” said Parayre. “Determining what to commit to and what to be flexible on in the future depends on how we see the external world.” A new DSI/CUES study to be released in May 2004 explores the possible future and has identified the following five major uncertainties that will have a huge impact on the CU world: * state of the economy * degree of regulatory intrusion * how society will continue to evolve * how will consumer preferences develop? * will terrorism remain abroad or become more of a domestic issue? Parayre says now is the time for credit unions to start thinking about how these factors will impact their credit union so they are not dealing with a reactive situation or worse become the next Britannica or General Motors. Please see below for other conference highlights:

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