Friday, December 21, 2018

CU2.0 Podcast 16 - New Year's Resolutions to Get You Fired Up

Make some New Year’s Resolutions.

That’s advice for you in this podcast, brought to you by CU2.0, all about re-imagining and reinvigorating today's credit unions for tomorrow's victories.

Call this also a work in progress where you can participate. More on that below.

First, feast on New Year's Resolutions. About 40% of us make them, according to research by the Marist Institute.  Many of us in fact get what we resolve to do.  Reported the researchers: "Do Americans keep their New Year’s resolutions? Among those who say they made a resolution for 2017, 68% said they kept at least part of their promise. Similar proportions of men (69%) and women (66%) remained true to their word for at least part of 2017. More men (75%) compared with women (62%) said they kept their New Year’s resolution last year."

What this podcast is about is getting you to make a resolution involving your credit union.

In your personal life you may want to exercise more, lose weight, stop smoking - all pretty common resolutions by the way and all good ideas.

But that’s not what we are about here.

This is about applying the same principle to a credit union.

And what would such a resolution sound like?

Here’s how this is going to work.

I’ll start out by enumerating some possible resolutions for you - and this is a situation where cribbing a buddy’s test answer is a-ok.

Of course you can always create your own.

Either way, this is a perfect time to think anew about how to make your credit union better.

What resolutions do I suggest?

Here’s #1:

Embrace artificial intelligence.  There’s Erica at B of A.  There’s Alexa at Amazon. There’s Siri at Apple (well, Siri is a kind of also ran - but she will get smarter and better). AI is a trend to ride. An easy starting point is debuting an Alexa skill for your credit union. Many credit unions are doing this. It’s cheap. Hear more about credit unions and AI in two podcasts: Coalesce and Posh.

Accept that today technology makes or breaks credit unions. But know you don't have to be a follower; you can be a leader. That's the message of the DCU Fintech Innovation Lab, featured in an earlier podcast.

Accept that mobile is your biggest, most important branch. Spend money to upgrade it. Make it different from other credit unions. Make it your own. Hear a lot of cool insights about mobile and how to go special in the podcast with Tanan Miles of Ent.

Think digitally. Accept that analog banking is fading away. Don’t fight tomorrow. Very good insights into this are in our podcast with CU2.0 founder Kirk Drake. Amy Downs at Allegiance also talks about this in her podcast.

Fire up your board of directors. You'll hear a lot on this in the podcasts with Chris Otey and Trudy Soupcoup.

Go local.  You can’t compete on the national stage with national banks.  No can do, But you can compete and win in your local community. What can you do to make life better for your neighbors? Know that and know that you are building a credit union that matters. Bill Bynum of Hope and Scott Budde at Maine Harvest offer powerful perspectives on going local to win.

Embrace Hispanic members. One in 6 of us are Hispanic. What's your credit union doing to cultivate that membership? Find out how to succeed with this demographic in a podcast that will post soon, with Coopera CEO Victor Corro.

Know your mission. What is the credit union movement to you? It always has been about working cooperatively to better serve the underserved, everyday people.  What are you doing to hit that goal? Inclusiv's Cathie Mahon has much to say about this in her podcast.

Want to hear what others have to say about credit unions and resolutions?  Listen up for a rapid fire telling of resolutions from a range of people who matter in the credit union world.

You have something to say? Now's your chance. Email me an MP3 that starts with your name, title, organization and then say your resolution. This file will be updated with contributions from listeners. So make a resolution to play a part in the CU2.0 Resolutions podcast - then make that MP3!

Don't know how to make an MP3? Email me and I'll give you a phone number to call where you leave a message and I'll make an MP3 (actually the recording software makes it - no work at all). Email

Thursday, December 20, 2018

CU2.0 Podcast 15 Cathie Mahon CEO of Inclusiv, the association of community development CUs

Talk to Cathie Mahon and it's a fast ride into what mission makes a credit union special, distinctive and in her mind the answer is clear: serving the underserved and usually that means economically disadvantaged.

She has tantalizing insights too. For instance: she tells why the business model of community development credit unions may in fact be primed for greater success than the model followed by most credit unions.

She also tells how the NCUA handcuffs newly chartered credit unions and this may set some up for failure.

And she has advice on designing a mobile banking app that betters serves the economically disadvantaged.

Listen up, it's a good podcast that just may persuade some struggling conventional credit unions to investigate tweaking their business model and to embrace more community development outreach.

The CU2.0 Podcast: Episode 15

Thursday, December 13, 2018

CU2.0 Podcast Episode 14 Karan Kashyap Posh Development

Welcome to AI, Part 2 in the CU2.0 Podcast series.  Last week our podcast explored email and AI through the eyes of Coalesce, a DCU Fintech Innovation Lab company. This week, in Part 2, we explore voice and AI through Posh Development, another DCU Fintech Innovation Lab company - podcast about that here.

Either way, great stuff is happening that you need to know about to stay current.

B of A is pushing its AI bot Erica hard. But just maybe you can fight back with your own voice bot. That's part of the Posh promise.

It's a good, practical podcast. Listen up here.

This is a podcast you can't miss. AI definitely is the future. It's up to you to understand and control it.

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

CU2.0 Podcast Episode 13 Greg Woolf on AI and Your Credit Union

Welcome to AI, Part 1 in the CU2.0 Podcast series.  Next week we'll post AI, Part 2, an exploration of voice and AI. This week looks at a company focused on text and AI. Both are products of the DCU Fintech Innovation Lab in Boston - podcast about that here.

Either way, great stuff is happening that you need to know about to stay current.

Why? It's because a lot of credit union work is mundane, tedious, boring really. It needs doing, no question, but how best?

Enter Coalesce. The company's tagline says it all:  "AI software that automates tedious work for financial services."

You're not interested because credit unions are special? Coalesce is in the DCU Fintech Innovation Lab in Boston - hear the podcast about the lab here - and it is already working with Digital Federal Credit Union, BECU,and the NASA credit union, among other financial institutions (including some mega banks). It has a good credit union pedigree.

The Coalesce focus is on automating monotonous, rote work, particularly around handling incoming member emails (70% it turns out can be answered by machines) and also auto loan applications. Hunting for fraud is another, promising avenue for AI.  AI, it turns out, is good doing these jobs faster and cheaper than people.

Are the machines taking over? Greg Woolf, the Coalesce founder and CEO, laughed at that.  For good reason. The Coalesce version of AI is built around input from people who also are in charge.

Put away those Matrix fears and come for a ride into tomorrow where machines do a lot of the work people honestly don't want to do and the machines are good at it.

The CU2.0 podcast. About credit unions for tomorrow.

Listen to the podcast here.

Wednesday, November 28, 2018

CU2.0 Podcast Episode 12 Bill Bynum CEO of Hope Credit Union

Talking About the Real Credit Union Mission with Bill Bynum, CEO of Hope CU

By Robert McGarvey

Hope. That one word powerfully sums up the mission of Hope Credit Union, a Mississippi delta based community development credit union with more than $280 million in assets.  And Hope is bringing financial hope to people across the deep south who may not have had a lot of that.

How does Hope do this and stay solvent? Listen up to what Bill Bynum, Hope’s CEO, has to say on that, as well as his provocative views about the real mission of credit unions in today’s America, the CFPB, and a lot more.

Note: there is a bit of ambient noise in this recording. But it does not hinder listening or comprehension. A small annoyance at worst.

The CU2.0 podcast. About credit unions for tomorrow.

This is a conversation that will rock you.

Listen to the podcast here

Thursday, November 15, 2018

CU2.0 Podcast Episode 11 Jay Murray Vizo Financial

Think corporate credit unions died? Think again. Jay Murray, CEO of Vizo,a large corporate that's the product of a merger between Mid Atlantic and First Carolina, is bullish on the future of corporate credit unions and he thinks they just may be essential to the survival of many thousands of small credit unions.

He's probably right.

But Jay has more to say.  He talks about Vizo's push into offering cooperative backoffice technology solutions, at affordable rates, to hundreds of small credit unions.  He's attacking the hegemony of for profit vendors and that just may be a very cool thing.

Murray also has profound thoughts about the importance of cooperatives cooperating with other cooperatives, for mutual benefit. That means looking for ways to work with, say, rural electric cooperatives, food cooperatives, and just about every other kind of cooperative. What cooperatives are you working with?

This is a good podcast with plenty of insights into what tomorrow might look like for small credit unions and it may be more cheerful than you think.  Are small credit unions dead men walking? Murray says no way and he tells why he is optimistic.

The CU2.0 podcast. About credit unions for tomorrow.

Listen to the podcast here.

Friday, November 9, 2018

CU2.0 Podcast Episode 10 Amy McGraw, Tropical Financial on the Student Loan Crisis

Here's a terrifying number: Total outstanding student loan debt is $1.5 trillion. With a t. Trillion. The average student leaves college owing north of $28,000. Talk about dream crushing. Talking about downscaling. Enter ChangEd. It’s an app that says it can help graduates pay off debts faster by harnessing their pocket change. Automatically. Pretty much painlessly. Tropical Financial, the Florida credit union, is in a pilot program to show the power of pocket change. That’s what Tropical Financial vice president Amy McGraw tells us about in this podcast. Student loans already are impacting the ability of many credit unions to make loans to debt burdened would be borrowers. That can put home purchases on hold. Ditto cars. So finding a way out is critical. ChangEd just may be the path. At Tropical Financial, the hope is that by helping student loan holders pay off their debts faster, and with little pain, the credit union will gain visibility with Millennials in particular. But, mainly, it's also just about walking the credit union talk which means helping members live better financial lives.

The CU2.0 podcast. About credit unions for tomorrow. Listen in to this uplifting podcast here.

Tuesday, November 6, 2018

CU2.0 Podcast Episode 9 Tanan Miles Ent Credit Union

Do you dream of being in control of your credit union's digital presence?

Stop dreaming, start doing.  Find out how in this podcast as Ent vice president Tanan Miles explains how the Colorado institution has full control of the UI of its digital presence.

How cool is that when the most important branch for most credit unions is online and mobile access?

Ent, by the way, has compelling numbers to show the emerging dominance of mobile.  34% of its members are mobile exclusive - that is their only way to access the institution. And 75% of the online sessions now are mobile.

Which means you want to start controlling your institution's digital presence.

Like right now.

Find out how in this podcast, in the CU2.0 Podcast series.

Listen here.

Thursday, October 25, 2018

CU2.0 Podcast - Episode 8 - Scott Budde, Maine Harvest

It has taken some years but finally Maine Harvest may be in the final lap before gaining an official credit union charter.  That's because it's met its fundraising goal, $2.4 million, with last monies ponied up by the Maine Credit Union League and what's remarkable is that just about the whole credit union movement in the state has supported formation of this novel credit union.

So, too, do the states two U.S. Senators and two House members.

Maybe 30 credit unions have been chartered by NCUA in the past decade. So this is a big deal.

We first covered the Maine Harvest story in 2015.

We picked it up again in 2017.

And in 2019 we may be covering the official opening.

What's special about Maine Harvest is that it intends to follow a  specific, narrow business plan where it makes loans to small farmers - for land purchase, equipment purchase, and similar.

No checking. In fact no cash in the till.

No other institutions crave that loan business. But small farming is seen as very important to Maine's future.

Also essential to the business plan is that essentially all the back office will be provided by Synergent, a subsidiary of the Maine League.

That lets the start up focus on finding borrowers and making sound loans.

Why do many credit unions fail? They don't serve a clear need.

This one knows its need and has a plan for filling it.

Other states would do well to look into similar efforts.

Hear the podcast with Budde about the history, present and future of Maine Harvest here.

The CU2.0 podcast. About credit unions for tomorrow.

Thursday, October 18, 2018

CU2.0 Podcast - Episode 7 - Vasilios Roussos, DCU Fintech Innovation Center

Welcome to the CU2.0 Podcast with your host Robert McGarvey. In every episode we probe the massive digital transformation that now is remaking the nation’s credit unions and today’s guest is Vasilios Roussos, executive director of the DCU Fintech Innovation Center in Boston.

The what?  You're right: this is a major departure for a credit union and in this podcast you'll find out why DCU launched a fintech incubator, how this is very cool for the industry and what other credit unions can do to achieve similar outcomes.

How can credit unions level the technology playing field with mega banks and giant fintechs? DCU may well be showing the way in Boston.

One more thing: tune into the last bit of this podcast to learn about special sponsorship opportunities.  You’ll want to hear about this.

Find out more about CU2.0 here.

Hear the Podcast here.

Thursday, October 11, 2018

CU2.0 Podcast - Episode 6 - Trudy Soucoup, Board Member WSECU

Welcome to the CU2.0 Podcast with your host Robert McGarvey. In every episode we probe the massive digital transformation that now is remaking the nation’s credit unions and today’s guest is Trudy Soucoup, a member of the board of directors at Washing State Employees Credit Union, a top 100 institution with about $2.8 billion in assets.

Trudy’s day job is as CEO of Homes First!, a non profit focused on low income housing in Washington.

The focus of this podcast: what’s it like to be a board member in 2018, a time of enormous flux for most credit unions.

Hint: it’s a lot of work.

You’ll hear about that and also a slightly embarrassing introduction to MRDC in this podcast.

Board members are critical to the success of credit unions. But rarely are they heard from. So listen up.

One more thing: tune into the last bit of this podcast to learn about special sponsorship opportunities.  You’ll want to hear about this.

The CU2.0 podcast. About credit unions for tomorrow.

Hear the Podcast here.

Thursday, October 4, 2018

CU2.0 Podcast - Episode 5 - Geoff Caras

Welcome to the CU2.0 Podcast with your host Robert McGarvey. In every episode we probe the massive digital transformation that now is remaking the nation’s credit unions and today’s guest is Geoff Caras, COO of CU2.0 and a tech executive whose resume sports stints as CTO at leading credit unions. Geoff has worked inside and out and so he knows this territory. He also offers credit unions a fractional CTO service and, for many buying fractional talent is a smart way to bring in strong talent at prices that work even for modest institutions. It’s a trend that just may catch on at a lot of credit unions. 

Thursday, September 27, 2018

CU2.0 Podcast - Episode 4 - Talking with Amy Downs

.Welcome to the CU2.0 Podcast with your host Robert McGarvey.

In every episode we probe the massive digital transformation that now is remaking the nation’s credit unions and today’s guest is Amy Downs, CEO of Allegiance Credit Union in Oklahoma.

This is a very special episode. The conversation with Amy opens with her remembrance of the 1995 bombing of the Murrah federal office building in Oklahoma. Many of her co-workers lost their lives that day; some 168 people died that day. Amy survived but was hospitalized. She also talks about her determination to remake Allegiance to be a thriving 21st century institution, a credit union that honors and remembers its past but also is focused on staying relevant.

 It’s a great credit union story.  Told the CU2.0 way.

 One more thing: tune into the last bit of this podcast to learn about special sponsorship opportunities. You’ll want to hear about this.

Click here for the Podcast.

Wednesday, September 19, 2018

CU2.0 Podcast - Episode 3 - Talking with Kirk Drake

Kirk Drake literally wrote the book on the digital transformation of credit unions and here he sits down for a brisk, rich 15 minute podcast about what digital transformation really means and what he has learned about the process in more than a year of working with credit unions on transformation.

Spoiler alert: it ain't easy.

Second spoiler: but if you try real hard you just may get what you need.

The CU2.0 podcast. About credit unions for tomorrow.

This is a must hear podcast.

Thursday, September 13, 2018

CU2.0 Podcast - Episode 2 - Talking with Jennifer Oliver

Buckle up. In episode 2 of the CU2.0 Podcast South Bay Credit Union CEO Jennifer Oliver dishes on the hard work of staying alive at a $100 million institution - and in fact she's prospering. Want to know how she works this miracle? So did we which is why sat for a special 30 minute podcast that is worth every minute.

The CU2.0 podcast. About credit unions for tomorrow.

Thursday, September 6, 2018

The CU2.0 Podcast: Episode 1 -- the Chris Otey Interview

Welcome to the CU2.0 Podcast, regular interviews with credit union leaders, thinkers, movers, shakers and more.

This is not about the status quo.

It's about tomorrow. The tomorrow you can join in shaping, or the tomorrow that will shape you.

Which do you please?

Tune into the podcast, and come back for more. We will be posting new podcasts often.