NACUSO 2010

NACUSO LogoThe NACUSO 2010 Annual Conference is nearing its end already. As is frequently the case with solid credit union conferences, we’ve been going non-stop since our arrival on Sunday.  We’ve had Gary Mangiofico from Pepperdine, John Fish from AstraZenca and Michael Taylor from Schelling Point, with more to come tomorrow. Rather than even try to update everyone on the presentations, go check out the Twitter feed from the conference. A few of us have been live blogging when possible and it’ll give you great insight into some of the discussions going down. As a side note, conference organizers should put all of the speakers’ presentations on Slideshare so everyone can get a copy of them.

As is usual with NACUSO, the caliber of people that this conference attracts is amazing. These are hands down, the most innovative and entrepreneurial people in the entire credit union industry. The things that people at the conference have been able to accomplish is amazing. Ongoing Operations of Hagerstown, Maryland, for example, won the 2010 CUSO of the Year award for their outstanding disaster recovery services. They have over 125 credit union clients and 20(ish) credit union owners in the actual CUSO demonstrating what real collaboration can accomplish.

The theme NACUSO has been driving home is collaboration and innovation throughout the whole week. The speakers have really brought home many of the concepts and done a great job talking about the good, and the bad, of collaboration and innovation.

Check out CU Times for for some more coverage from Michelle Samaad and don’t forget to check out the Twitter feed. Make sure to try and make it a point to attend next year. Who knows, maybe we’ll get a crash together for it…

Speaking on CUSO’s…

I’m getting ready to head out to sunny Orlando for the Educator’s Credit Union Council annual conference. I’m doing a session with Ray Cromer from United Solutions Company, a CUSO out of Tallahassee. Here’s sneak peak at the presentation I’m making on Tuesday during my session. Any thoughts or comments are always welcome!

UPDATE: If you’d like the entire presentation, including the notes which will fill in a few of the blanks, you can download it here.

Who’s more cooperative, credit unions or churches?

The Save to Win campaign put on in Michigan is a great example of what credit unions can accomplish together, but it is a rarity. For whatever reason, you very seldom see credit unions collaborate on a product or service offering to enrich the lives of their members.

Frequently, churches will partner to accomplish an event that neither of them would have been able to do on their own. Many are familiar with Dave Ramsey, who has a special curriculum just for churches to use. Commonly, Financial Peace University is sponsored by a number of churches and held at one location. Only the largest churches can afford the cost on their own. Sounds similar to credit unions, doesn’t it?

Peacemakers is yet another example of a “program” that churches frequently come together and offer to their congregation. Some churches offer it directly to their members as a class, some churches band together to offer it to a larger group, and some simply encourage their members to attend a national conference.

Aside from fundamentally different structures and goals, both credit unions and churches have a membership base. As much as churches don’t want to look at it this way, they are a business with building, payroll, and janitorial service expenses, albeit their “income” is generated by tithing. However, a church could lose a member to another competitor exactly like a credit union member can take their business elsewhere. Members attend their church because of the product, services, and employees of the church, exactly as members stay with, or leave, their credit unions.

Ondine Irving has had tremendous success bringing national attention to the credit union industry with the Credit Card Connection. So much so, that it has even attracted the famed personal finance guru, Suze Orman, to talk about it and credit unions on a national level. Similar to the programs I have seen local churches put on, why can’t a handful of credit unions pay Suze Orman to do a financial town hall of sorts in their town and have all of the credit unions advertise it to their members. And non-members for that matter. The participating credit unions would be enriching the lives of their members, getting exposed to members of the community that have a vested interest in the financial well being, and getting word of mouth marketing from the participants and local news outlets or papers.

It all seems so simple, but for some reason, credit unions are reluctant to do an event like this. Are credit unions really afraid of their competition that much that they don’t want to expose their members to their competitors in case they might leave? Does it not “fit their brand”, whatever they think that is? And the better question, how can the industry be encouraged to actually come together and collaborate on an event such as this?

Your chance to join the NACUSO Technology Advisory Board

Most everyone in the credit union industry has heard of NACUSO.  The National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations is the trade association for CUSO’s across the nation and has been doing great work in encouraging collaboration between credit unions.  NACUSO has a number of advisory boards and I happen to sit on their Technology board.  As is the norm with advisory boards, our membership is fairly fluid and we are always looking for new talent and news ways of using technology to further credit unions.

We currently have an opening on the Technology Advisory board and will be looking to fill that position by the end of January.  In the same vein as Young and Free and Forum Solutions‘ search for a speaker for their symposium, we will be hosting an online video contest for our vacant spot.

If you think you have what it takes to encourage credit unions to collaborate,  adopt new technologies, and want to be on the bleeding edge of financial services technologies, bust out that video camera.  The submission deadline is January 15th and we’ll announce the new member on January 29th, 2010.

To submit your video, upload it to a video sharing site such as Vimeo, Viddler, or YouTube (anyone with robust sharing capabilities) and shoot an email with the information .  I’ll post your submission to the NACUSO website.  We’ll throw a poll up on the website beginning in January to let everyone start voting and give us some insight before we make a final decision.  Feel free to leave a comment with any questions or shoot me an email.

Oh, by the way, you might want to know what you are getting yourself into.  At this point, we have a monthly conference call that lasts less than an hour and tend to trade emails back and forth throughout the month.  This may change slightly in the future as new projects come along, but that’s about it.  Ideally, one should be able to attend the NACUSO Annual Convention each year, but it is not mandatory.

We’re looking forward to everyone’s submissions!

Starting small with collaboration

In a perfect world CUNA, NAFCU, NACUSO, CUES, WOCCU, and the rest of the credit union alphabet soup would be lovey dovey, get along great, find ways to work together, etc, etc.  Maybe we’d even get a national campaign out of it.  Milk can do it.  Pork can do it.  Even pistachios have joined the club recently.  Regardlesss, I digress.

Most talk I hear about and around CU collaboration these days seems to be these organizations getting together with committees or advisory boards.  And that’s about where it ends.  Death by committee.  The same reason a national campaign will most likely never take off.  Too many minds and opinions.  So rather than be destined to languishing in committees, why can’t credit unions start small with some type of functional collaboration?

If you had to pick a small, functional area for half-a-dozen credit unions to partner with, what would it be?  Something simple like website hosting, but full featured?  Phone system stuff?  ACH origination?  What is something small that credit unions could experiment with together?