FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Janine Williams, Vice President of Marketing
UVA Community Credit Union
“Credit Unions at the Crossroads Symposium” Held at University of Virginia’s Darden School
The Credit Unions at the Crossroads Symposium encouraged candid discussion on how to address the system's most-pressing issues, including slow growth in market share, reaching today's youth, addressing capital needs, key regulatory issues, and cooperation within the system.
"We all see the harsh realities of the marketplace," said Alison DeTuncq, CEO of the University of Virginia Community Credit Union, one of the Symposium's sponsors. "Many of us are painfully aware that our memberships are aging, that our regulatory burdens are growing, and that the traditional credit union business model poses its own unique challenges. The Symposium sought to lay a foundation on which we can build a research-based framework that answers the question: What's next for America's credit unions?"
During the coming months, the event's co-sponsors -- the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business and the McIntire School of Commerce -- will work with the Filene Research Institute to analyze information and audio recordings from the event, identifying current research from Filene that best speaks to the "credit union of the future," as well as topics that beg for new or additional research.
"Credit unions emerged from the financial crisis and the recession with a sense of urgency to better position themselves as a force within the financial services industry," said Dr. Ronald T. Wilcox, a professor at the University of Virginia's Darden School of Business. "The consumer finance landscape was changing long before the turmoil of the past few years; that change will only accelerate, forcing financial services providers to prove themselves by being innovative, responsive and adaptable. The credit union industry seems eager to accept that challenge and test its own limits."
Symposium presenters and panelists covered a wide variety of topics, including financial and market share trends for credit unions, the characteristics of top-performing credit unions and community banks, current credit union research that best speaks to the system's future, legislative and regulatory issues, credit unions' ability to adapt to the marketplace, marketing, the role of credit union service organizations and trade associations, staff development, governance and more.
Symposium participants were also strongly encouraged to offer their own unique insights on the system's future, and to examine and analyze their own ideas and opinions about the credit union system with a more informed and critical eye.
"The credit union industry has matured to a point that it needs answers to fundamental business questions," said Dr. George A. Overstreet Jr., a professor at the University of Virginia's McIntire School of Commerce. "Some of the industry's core values are being challenged; its business model faces real and significant threats; and credit unions are struggling for relevance among the next generation of Americans. Credit unions understand the stakes, and fortunately, there's neither a shortage of passion within credit unions, nor a shortage of capable leaders ready to blaze the trail for the industry's future."
Comments from a former League President:
BACK IN THE "OLD DAYS" OF THE MID 90'S I WAS A MEMBER OF CUNA'S "RISK COMMISSION". IT WAS A HIGH LEVEL THINK TANK OF CU LEADERS FROM ACROSS THE COUNTRY CHAIRED BY ADMIRAL JOE SCOGGINS, FORMER CEO OF NAVY FEDERAL. ( NEVER DID FIGURE OUT WHY I WAS ON IT.) WE MET EVERY 6 MONTHS OR SO TO IDENTIFY THE KINDS OF RISKS THAT COULD POSSIBLY BRING DOWN THE SYSTEM. E.G. FAILURE OF HUGE AMERICAN BANKS, FAILURE OF U.S. CENTRAL, FAILURE OF EUROPEAN MONETARY SYSTEM, STOCK MARKET CRASH, HUGE POWER FAILURES, ETC. ALL GLOOM AND DOOM.
WHILE ALL KINDS OF EVENTS WOULD SEVERELY DAMAGE CREDIT UNIONS, AT THE TOP OF OUR LIST--EVERY TIME WE REPORTED TO THE MOVEMENT--THE GREATEST RISK TO THE CREDIT UNION MOVEMENT WAS ...IF WE LOST OUR SENSE OF PURPOSE. THE NON-PROFIT, MEMBER FOCUSED PURPOSE OF A CREDIT UNION WAS FUNDAMENTAL TO SURVIVAL. TOO BAD THE MOVEMENT DIDN'T HEED THE ADVICE OF OUR COMMISSION.
CREDIT UNIONS NEED TO RETURN TO FUNDAMENTALS. GO BACK TO BEING MEMBER DRIVEN--NOT REGULATOR AND BOTTOM LINE DRIVEN.
THEY NEED TO RE-LOOK AT THE SIGNS AT THE CROSSROADS... AND CHOOSE THE RIGHT ROAD.