Wednesday, November 20, 2019

CU 2.0 Podcast Episode 65 John Weinkowitz on Credit Unions Buying Banks, Live from Finastra Community Markets

Credit unions are buying so many banks the Wall Street Journal refers to this as a "spree."

Just in the first eight months of 2018 there were 21 transactions, compared to 12 in the prior five years, by the WSJ count.

What is going on here?

We put that question to John Weinkowitz, Head of Product Strategy, Community
Markets, Finastra, and himself an m and a expert.

Is this doing business with the devil?

Should this put into jeopardy the credit union tax exemption - as many bankers are insisting?

What drives the transactions? The need to grow, said Weinkowitz. FIs below a certain size find it more difficult to compete. So some put themselves up for sale.  And others go hunting for acquisition partners.

The allure for credit union execs is an immediate increase in members, deposits, and also - in many cases - branches.

But are they factoring in predictable attrition?

Do they have a strategy for employee retention - which may be critical to making an acquisition work?

Before buying a community bank listen to this podcast. You don't want to ignore that advice.

The podcast is here.

Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available.

Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It's a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto

Tuesday, November 19, 2019

CU 2.0 Podcast Episode 64 Carla Bienz Partners 1st CU, Live from Finastra Community Markets

Can small credit unions survive?

Carla Bienz is CEO of Partners 1st Credit Union in Fort Wayne IN - an institution where she has worked since she graduated from college and where she now is CEO.  And she has keen insights into the plight of smaller credit unions and what they need to do to survive and prosper.

Partners 1st, by the way, now is approaching $400 million in assets after multiple mergers. It also has 24 branches in seven states.

One reality Bienz accepts: to stay relevant Partners 1st has to continue to grow.

Another reality: it needs a lot of help from fintechs but, says Bienz, the right fintechs level the playing field for smaller credit unions.

Along the way Bienz talks about why she is exploring CDFI status and she ponders the existential question: how can credit unions with under $100 million in assets survive.

She is exceptionally candid. Soft spoken but thoughtful.  Listen and learn.

The podcast is here.

Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available.

Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It's a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto

Wednesday, November 13, 2019

CU 2.0 Podcast Episode 63 Steve Hoke on Data and Mortgages, Live from Finastra Community Markets

There was a time when community financial institutions owned the home mortgage market. No more.  Fintechs dominate and mega banks aren't far behind. Most credit unions are left to squabble over crumbs.

But just maybe there's hope. At Finastra, Steve Hoke, Vice President, Product Management, Consumer and SME Lending, says the company's Fusion Motgagebot Data Insights puts the power of data analytics in the hands of a community financial institution and the upshot is just maybe it can compete - successfully - against the fintechs and mega banks when it has data at its command.

What percentage of your mortgages actually close? How does that compare with competitors? Don't guess. Know. That's the promise of this data.

Understand, the data is anonymized.  You cannot ask it to tell you how you fare against a specific competitor. But if you want to see how you do against others, it has the answer.

This is powerful stuff.  Hoke said Finastra is adding capabilities and hopes to extend it to more types of lending (auto loans for instance).

"We are giving community institutions insight into data that before they were flying blind about," said Hoke.

Listen to the Hoke podcast here.


This is one of a half dozen podcasts recorded at Finastra Community Markets in Chicago, October 2019.

Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available.

Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It's a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto

CU 2.0 Podcast Episode 62 Lucy Donaldson of Canvas Credit Union on Digital Banking, Live from Finastra Community Markets

What would it be like to go from being Head, Digital Customer Experience at Lloyds Bank in the United Kingdom - a trillion dollar institution - to being the VP for digital innovation at Colorado-based Canvas Credit Union, with assets around $2.5 billion?

Ask Lucy Donaldson, this week's guest at the CU 2.0 Podcast.

She made exactly that journey and she candidly talks about what a money center bank can do that a credit union usually can't - but she also talks about the huge advantages a credit union has, from much better agility to strong, genuine community ties.

She's seen both sides and she says what she likes about credit unions.

A key point Donaldson makes in this podcast is that it's time to stop talking about a credit union's digital transformation - and time to accept that has become its business transformation. A credit union is its bits and bytes and knowing that makes the job of plotting institutional success that much easier.

Listen to the Donaldson podcast here.

Here's a related podcast with Tanan Miles of ENT, Colorado's biggest credit union.

This is one of a half dozen podcasts recorded at Finastra Community Markets in Chicago, October 2019.

Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available.

Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It's a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto


Tuesday, November 5, 2019

CU 2.0 Podcast Episode 61 Allan Brown on the Digital Revolution in Banking, Live from Finastra Community Markets

Ask Allan Brown - a VP and GM, Digital Community Markets at Finastra - what keeps him up at night and his answer is simple: it's trying to stay on top of the digital revolution that is transforming credit unions and community banks.  Brown also is very optimistic. His belief: community institutions that partner with the right fintechs can not only keep pace with the big banks digitally, they very well may be able to beat them at this game.

Along the way Brown discusses mega trends that are changing how financial services are delivered and two key trends, he says, are real time banking (it's coming!) and much shrewder use of data to deliver better and smarter services to consumers.

"The future of financial services is going to be phenomenal," says Brown.


Listen to the Brown podcast here.

This is one of a half dozen podcasts recorded at Finastra Community Markets in Chicago, October 2019.

Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available.

Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It's a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto

Wednesday, October 30, 2019

CU 2.0 Podcast Episode 60 Mike Hatch on Core Systems, Live from Finastra Community Markets

Name the single most important IT system in your credit union.

Spoiler alert: it's not your core.  Not anymore.

Who says that? Mike Hatch, a VP and national sales manager at Finastra, and a core expert. Hatch  knows the core is crucial but he also believes that it's the institution's digital orientation that will shape its future.

Core is part of that.

But it is not the end all.

Another question: is your core system holding your institution back? Can you easily - and inexpensively - integrate cool fintech technology into your core?

Say no and you are telling the truth.

But it's the wrong answer. You want an open core that lets you deliver the tech your members want.

Credit unions are looking for ways to be different, says Hatch. An open core helps there.

Think cores are boring?  You won't think this podcast is boring - and you just may find yourself wondering if now is the time to initiate a core conversion.

Scary? You bet. But going out of business is scarier.

Listen to the Mike Hatch podcast here.


This is one of a half dozen podcasts recorded at Finastra Community Markets in Chicago, October 2019.

Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available.

Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It's a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto

Wednesday, October 23, 2019

CU 2.0 Podcast Episode 59 Daniel Ford CIO at Jovia CU on Cybersecurity

Can your cybersecurity keep hackers at bay?

Can cybersecurity be used as a marketing tool by a credit union?

Can a banker in fact become a credit union executive?

For answers, listen to this podcast with Daniel Ford, CIO at Jovia, a $3+ billion credit union on Long Island that you probably know as NEFCU.  The rebranding occurred a month ago.

Ford joined NEFCU via First Source Bank in South Bend (IN), where he was  the chief information officer, responsible for infrastructure, cybersecurity, and application development.  We asked him bluntly: can a banker in fact fit into a credit union's philosophy?  You can guess his answer but give it a full listen. He makes points to remember.

Podcasts in this series that explore bankers and credit unions include Jim Blaine, Bucky Sebastian, Gary Oakland, and Marc Schaefer.

Ford also talks, at length, about what a CIO needs to do to stay on top of cybersecurity and also how to work with vendors.

As for using cybersecurity as a marketing tool, don't be too quick to say no way. Ford offers a tactic that just might work. Of course you want to hear that.

Listen to the Ford podcast here.





Like what you are hearing? Find out how you can help sponsor this podcast here. Very affordable sponsorship packages are available.

Find out more about CU2.0 and the digital transformation of credit unions here. It's a journey every credit union needs to take. Pronto