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I entered the financial industry a few months before the infamous “Black Monday” stock market event in 1987. We felt the ripples all the way to my neck of the woods in Eastern Washington. Not only do those types of events have a material effect on the financial industry as a whole, but they also affect the national mood and our confidence levels. Confidence – as we’re witnessing even today with recent bank failures – is often more difficult to rebuild than the market. In many ways, as I look back on my career I’ve been most thankful for how those challenging times shape our thinking. It forces us to innovate and create programs that restore trust.

In the 36 years since I started my career as a junior accountant at Gesa Credit Union, it’s safe to say just about everything in our industry has changed – technology, the types of products we offer, the dynamics of remote work, the landscape of competitive offerings and more – but one thing remains completely unchanged: The needs, motivations and desires of our members. Technology changes and we have to stay on top of that to evolve and innovate, but equally important is doing the work to understand the state of our members. Just like I mentioned about the recovery of 1987, it’s the confidence side of things that can often be more fragile.

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