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FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — At the NASCUS State System Summit here, Dr. Jim Likens, president and dean of the Western CUNA Management School delivered an assessment of CU balance sheet and growth challenges and some ideas for how they can be faced up to without losing the CU spirit. He did so in an amusing way, managing to make the audience laugh at some stark economic data.

Likens reassured listeners by saying, “The economy will not collapse,” but then gave a presentation of the usual CU ROA model, predicted on actual ROA and covered the squeeze on margins. He showed that it’s impossible to predict real ROA except when CEOs manage it by lowering deposit rates (usually downward) to gain ROA. “When loan demand was down credit unions didn’t need liquidity and it worked! But banks grew and credit unions didn’t, so what else?”

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