Educational Sessions – Something for Everyone

Fintech: Friend or Foe
With 20-25% of credit unions doing nothing to address fintech, CMFG Ventures’ Brian Kaas advised session attendees that investigation and knowledge around the space is the first step in understanding this industry that will continue to grow and take more marketshare.

With roughly 6,000 venture-backed fintech companies in the US and $40 billion in venture capital infused in these types of businesses, the evolution in the banking environment is clear. Kaas advised attendees to become educated on and seek out potential mutually beneficial partners in this space, keep an open mind to the new and informative ideas of startups, and use caution when pursuing opportunities with eager young companies and seek validation and advise from others throughout the process.

Leading the Leaders
In his pre-conference seminar on best practices for directors, Ancin Cooley, Synergy Credit Union Consulting, Inc., suggested credit unions develop an appropriate governance model, defined as a combination of policies, systems, structures and a strategic operational framework. For credit union success, promote a culture that emphasizes a ‘growth mindset’ over a ‘fixed mindset’ by developing the emotional intelligence of board members and resisting the tendency toward group-think. Ensuring all understand the mutual purpose of the board and encouraging a culture of mutual respect will yield the best possible results for the credit union.

Supervisory Committee Best Practices
Supervisory Committee effectiveness is based on how well committee members use their capabilities to achieve desired risk management results for the institution. Ancin Cooley, Synergy Credit Union Consulting, Inc., suggested supervisory committees ask if the right risk management system is in place for growth, and to make sure it is properly managed. To that end, he recommends internal audit functions reports to supervisory committee. However, committee members must understand the information provided by their auditor and consultants to ensure the accuracy of board reports.

Beyond the NCUA requirements, supervisory committee members should also be curious, and not afraid to challenge management – in fact, they should beware of situations where the CEO is the only voice – which means they need to do their homework.

In addition, the supervisory chair needs to be an independent and proactive leader who promotes financial literacy. The chair needs to develop and monitor the committee agenda; and be tenacious and ask tough questions. Cooley suggested creating and implementing a Supervisory Committee Charter.

Adding Data Strategy to Your Strategic Plan
Focusing on data quality and policy and procedure information can have a direct impact your productivity and bottom line. Pat Lapomarda, Consultant and Managing Director of Data Science with Arkatechture, noted that a solid data analysis program should help your credit union automate operations to allow you to move employees into more profitable positions and /or productive work.

Michelle Smith, Strategic Account Analyst with Silvercloud, Inc., noted proliferation of policies and procedures across multiple areas leads to employees referring to the “University of MSU (Make Stuff Up)” when trying to help members. Inventorying policies and procedures, finding and filling the gaps in content, and then providing a real-time storage solution will help break down silos of information, and give employees and members a more consistent and satisfying service experience.

Exploring Enterprise Risk Management
An effective enterprise risk management (ERM) program can help a credit union manage risk and maximize opportunities. In simple terms, ERM is a way to effectively understand your credit union’s risks and how to manage risk throughout the credit union using an organized and common risk management framework. Charlotte Whatley, Vice President, Compliance Services for the Cooperative Credit Union Association, explained what an ERM program is and how to create risk categories; as well as the benefits of, and the latest thinking on, building an effective ERM program.