As Buddha said, “Nothing is forever except change.” Sometimes change can be anticipated from miles away. For instance, if your credit union’s CEO announces his or her retirement months in advance, you’ll have ample time to seek a quality replacement. Other times, it hits you over the head out of nowhere. Take the recent hit and run incident in Elko, Nev., which claimed the life of 58-year-old Doug Schwartz, president/CEO of the $147 million Elko FCU. That credit union faces the unexpected task of replacing its CEO – a reminder to credit unions of all sizes to implement a strong succession plan – in addition to dealing with the pain of such a tragic loss.

One change the credit union community can see in the distance is the growing threat of competition from nonbank financial services providers. By now, the community is well aware it has to innovate to avoid getting squashed by emerging competitors. And offering the same services as the competitor next door isn’t going to cut it – you must strive to differentiate yourself.

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian has worked in the credit union space for over a decade. She joined CU Times as managing editor in 2015 and was promoted to executive editor in 2019. Before that, she served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta Federal Credit Union) in Los Angeles from 2013-2015, and as a CU Times freelancer from 2011-2013. She has been a professional writer and editor for more than 17 years, specializing in news and lifestyle journalism as well as marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space.

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