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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 has served as an editor for CU Times since March 2015. She also served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta FCU) in Los Angeles from 2013-2015, and as a CU Times freelancer from 2011-2013. She has been a professional writer for more than 16 years, specializing in news and lifestyle journalism as well as marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space.

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