Cores Aren’t Just for Apples ….Let the Core Processor Experts Help You Make the Right Decision
By: Marissa Anema, NJCUL Vice President, Marketing and Communications

Core processors are aptly named. They are literally the “core” of our business, through which all “processes” take place. It’s arguably the most important piece of equipment/software we invest in.

Whether you are happy with your current core processor, don’t know if you’re happy (there’s always room for improvement, right?), want to explore other options, need an update as your old system is becoming antiquated, are completely fed up with what you have now, or just want to learn how to work better with your existing provider…it’s important to always keep your finger on the pulse of what’s out there.

….that’s not so simple. Assessing your current core, gathering peer reviews of what others are using, putting out RFPs to see what they can offer…these are big, daunting, time-consuming tasks.

But with many conversions taking two years, start to finish, you have to ask yourself…am I willing to stay with what we’ve got for another year, or two, or three? And by then, will it be too late to start the exploratory process from scratch?

That’s where we come in, your League. To help mitigate the time and effort that this process takes, we’ve put together another Core Processing workshop (our first held in March was well-received) titled “Making the Right Decision” taking place on Wednesday, October 11th at the Ramada Plaza Conference Center in Monroe Township.

The sessions will be led by experts in the field. Two—Joe Riccardo of MSS and Amber Harsin of CU Prodigy—worked for credit unions once upon a time, navigated them through core conversions successfully, and now work for core processors themselves. (Side note: Read how Joe considers core conversions “fun” on our blog. Yes, fun!) Two others—Preston Packer of FLEX CU Technology and Joe Grauwels of AMI—have worked for their core processing companies for years, and their main focus is to help CUs achieve operational efficiencies using their technology.

The only thing these folks will be selling you on is the idea that a core conversion isn’t as overwhelming as you think (that’s actually the name of Amber’s session). They will help you establish a common sense approach to core system reviews, show you how to conduct a core conversion readiness assessment, and demonstrate how the right core processor becomes part of your conversion team.

This workshop is meant to be interactive and helpful to all credit unions, no matter where they land in the spectrum of assessing/keeping/updating/dumping their core.

Come get your hands dirty, pose the questions you’ve been dying to ask, and, ultimately, get to a point where you feel more comfortable—and confidant—in the decision-making process.

Click here for more information and to register – as always, our workshops are affordably priced at just $75 per attendee.

League Initiatives
Innovative Ways to Fund Branches
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

For those of you who may not be familiar, the Federal Home Loan Bank of NY (FHLBNY) is a Government-Sponsored Enterprise (GSE) chartered by Congress in 1932, with a cooperative member-owned structure. They are a low-cost provider of liquidity for their members to lend into their communities. Among their programs to help credit unions achieve their goals is an innovative branch pre-funding program, which turned out to be a great fit as we were thinking through the content for our Sept 13th "Drive Profit and Improve Engagement at the Branch" workshop. 

Our FHLBNY speaker is Adam Goldstein, Senior Vice President/Chief Business Officer, with over 20 years of experience there helping financial institutions accomplish their goals. We caught up with Adam to get a preview of his presentation.

Frankil: As we have talked about your pre-funding program, you’ve started nearly every conversation with an overview of trends in the deposit environment. So let’s start with that here – what is FHLBNY seeing in terms of deposit trends at financial institutions?

Goldstein: We have the largest generation in history now entering the workforce, and these digital natives have an affinity for technology that shapes how they respond to the financial environment. In particular, the key issues we see are -

Technology, in particular accessibility to various online/mobile platforms and apps are leading to a shift towards new financial institutions such as NeoBanks.

Financial institutions working with FinTech through acquisitions, strategic partnerships with peer-to-peer lenders, digital money transfer platforms, and other firms are reshaping the business of money.

Non-traditional competitors entering the playing field, in part to combat low-interest rates and post-financial-crisis regulations that limit trading activity, large investment banks have started competing in the deposit gathering space. This includes the potential for Special Purpose Charters being granted to FinTech companies.

New Liquidity Regulations for large banking institutions incentivizes them to compete for retail deposits like never before.

Frankil: Help us understand what that means for credit unions.

Goldstein: The deposit gathering environment is evolving, and rather rapidly in some areas. But the basics still hold – focus on evolutionary changes such as multi-channel distribution and other ideas, which I will cover at the workshop. We also surveyed our FHLBNY members to get their perspective on the changing deposit environment, and they outlined a series of strategic initiatives that they’re deploying to compete for core deposits. I’ll be presenting more detailed findings as well.

Frankil: I assume at least some of those strategies involve online and/or direct banking channels?

Goldstein: That’s correct, but it’s really only part of the story. Credit unions focused on their members have significant competitive advantages – if they are leveraged effectively.

Frankil: So what does this evolution mean for branches?

Goldstein: Credit unions should consider viewing their branches through the lens of their primary target audiences. We all know that younger generations prefer technology-based branches – so not just deploying innovative technologies, but partnering with market-leading technology companies to heavily innovate their branches. We’re also seeing the rate of innovation at the ATM proceed at a rapid pace – these innovations will continue to evolve and become a channel in their own right. Technology-based branches also allow credit unions to decrease staff and have a smaller footprint per location, which leads to lower overhead costs over the course of time – this is an important consideration when embarking on technological infrastructure investment.

Frankil: All these innovations sound expensive – let me circle back to the where we started, the FHLBNY branch pre-funding program. How does that work?

Goldstein: FHLBNY member institutions can take advantage of a low-cost advance program that, in essence allows members to obtain wholesale funding at desired deposit projections rather than waiting for the deposits to materialize. By borrowing from the FHLBNY, credit unions can immediately begin investing the money that they plan to acquire with expected new branch deposits. In essence, we are providing liquidity based on a pro forma of expected revenues and return, which reduces the time to break-even versus other more traditional approaches.

We work with members on the process, which includes background research, looking at the historical growth of deposits, and forecasting existing branch deposit growth using a compounded annual growth rate. It is a collaborative process, we even do a “Reality Check” to determine if the new branch growth is obtainable. It is really quite similar to the process any credit union would be walking through to assess potential for a new branch, and we’ll spend some time on how best to do this analysis.

 

To learn more about how branches are evolving, the strategies your peers are using to capture core deposits, what this means for your branches, and the innovative FHLBNY branch pre-funding program, join us on Wednesday, September 13th at the Renaissance Woodbridge, in Iselin, New Jersey. As always, cost is just $75 per person.

Register for the "Drive Profit and Improve Engagement at the Branch" workshop here.

League Initiatives
Drive Profit and Improve Engagement at the Branch

Back in March, we hosted an intensive, one-day workshop on Branch Transformation, which was very well-received. The topic almost seems timeless.  Despite the focus on online transactions, we’re always looking for ways to better understand how members interact with the branch, and how key physical components need to reinforce the member journey. 

Based on the great response to that initial topic, we’ve scheduled another workshop to drill down into two specific challenges we all face – how to drive profit and improve engagement at our branches.  As you’ve probably guessed, those two objectives are critically related.

We recently caught up with Sundeep Kapur, who will be presenting at the session, to learn a bit more about the upcoming workshop.

Frankil:  We could probably spend an entire week talking about branches and their evolving role in financial services. The first workshop talked about the how – how members interact with the branch, and how the physical environment reinforces their behavior.  What will this session focus on? 

Kapur: We need to see the branch as an essential component of our brand – we stand out in the community as organizations dedicated to driving financial wellness for our members. Members visit the branch for three primary transactions – they have a deposit/withdrawal, they want to resolve a problem, or they are looking for advice (loans/financial planning/wealth management/other related solutions). Our first workshop outlined journeys around these three key behaviors – now we turn our focus to the tactical, on how credit union executives can map actual member journeys and techniques for shifting member behavior across channels.

Frankil: I know we touched on this briefly at the first session, but what is journey mapping?

Kapur: Simply stated it is how any member transaction should/could flow. Ideally, the journey should be mapped from the members’ perspective. Too many times, journeys are mapped on our stated objectives without looking at the journey from the members’ perspective. Our workshop will focus on how to identify key member needs and blend the journey to map the needs. The focus will be experiential, based on journey mapping conducted at over 100 institutions. Perhaps even more important, we’re bringing lessons drawn from consumer behavior across industries, not just financial services. There are plenty of best practices from outside our financial services world that can and should be adapted to our business model.

Frankil: Let’s make sure we’re using terms in the same way – what does it mean to transform a branch?

Kapur: I know people often think of construction when talking about branch transformation, but I can assure you it doesn’t even require a hammer or a nail. To make improvements – bring people in for advisory services, reduce the cost per transaction, increase the number of products per member – we want to create a dynamic environment where the credit union is looked upon as a place that can mentor members. Transforming the branch also means that we have the right skillsets in place, and are continuing to enhance our capabilities to serve members.

Frankil: Why is journey mapping important to branch transformation?

Kapur: You know the old saying – you can never be too close to your member. Three things to consider – start by knowing what the member wants to do, next align this with the infrastructure we have, and finally look to adjust the journey. Going through this process diligently will give us a clearer path on improvement opportunities. Do this well and you are well on your way to a successful branch transformation experience.

Frankil: If you poll credit union executives, you’d probably find an even split between those that think the branch is essential to growth, and others that are following a more digital strategy. What is the value of a branch in today’s – and tomorrow’s – member experience?

Kapur: PSECU, Ally Bank, and Simple have no branches and a completely digital presence. They can compete effectively because of their digital infrastructure and associated advertising, and national versus local focus. As multi-channel financial institutions focused on our specific constituencies, we have to leverage the branch to build up our brand, serve members with improved ROI, and provide for an effective digital environment. Long-term, we want to embrace an omni-channel approach, which is probably a topic for another day. If I were a credit union investing in the future, the branch still provides a sustainable competitive advantage. This is especially true when you understand the value of advisory services consistent with improving profitability and member engagement – then the challenge becomes changing the transactional mix to provide more advisory services.

Frankil: Is that answer the same for all credit unions, of all sizes and with all fields of membership?

Kapur: One opportunity that transcends what are normally seen as key strategic differences lies in bringing members in for a financial checkup once or twice a year, and staying in touch with them digitally for the duration. We should measure success through enhanced engagement, reduced costs, and improved revenue – a proper mix of omni-channel services. Members should also be able to continue transactions across channel – for example, starting online and completing (not restarting) in the branch, being a primary one to pay attention to. This is one of the many journeys we will be mapping during the workshop.

Frankil: If I am a CEO looking five years over the horizon, how do I assess the value of the branch in the context of my business strategy?

Kapur: Start by looking at the business strategy. If you are delivering on a portfolio of products/services – deposits, loans (small to large), wealth management – you need to consider an enhanced branch interaction strategy. Wealth management and payday loan companies – two complete ends of the spectrum - are continuing to invest in a future branch strategy. We will discuss this during our workshop as well.

Frankil: What kind of data and analytics do I need to make that assessment?

Kapur: Look at five key numbers:

  1. Branch traffic
  2. Transactional mix within the branch
  3. Last member visit to the branch
  4. Last member transactional channel
  5. Number of products per member

We have an opportunity to improve every one of the above with a focus of increasing number of products per member. The correct approach to branch transformation is to leverage this insight to make improvements.

Frankil: Does maximizing the value of the branch always require a transformation?

Kapur: You can achieve so much with simple steps. The first three case studies we are planning to share are based on recommendations that can drive change quickly and inexpensively. Transformation is a journey – we cannot stop while trying to achieve success.

 

If you want to learn how to apply these and other concepts at your credit union, join us on Wednesday, September 13th at the Renaissance Woodbridge, in Iselin, New Jersey. As always, cost is just $75 per person. Topics will include -

  • Improving Member Engagement to Drive Business
  • Branching Trends, Risks in Deposit Balances & Funding Your Expansion Strategy
  • Journey Mapping to Uncover More Branch Value

Register for the "Drive Profit and Improve Engagement at the Branch" workshop here.

 

League Initiatives
We’re #1 Nationwide for Making a Difference in New Jersey with Reality Fairs!
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

I don’t know how many of you saw the article in today’s Daily Exchange about the award the NJ CU Foundation’s Reality Fair program received, but I wanted to highlight it – we’re really proud of our accomplishment. Reality Fairs improve financial literacy by providing a hands-on, interactive budgeting exercise modeled on the issues and experiences students will face in the real world.

Our Reality Fair program was recognized by the National Youth Involvement Board (NYIB) for reaching the most students as a team in the less than $150 million category – 2,418 students, to be precise, at a record 18 Reality Fairs held at schools throughout the state this past school year.

Let me repeat that – #1 team program in the entire country in that category!

Kudos to Marissa Anema, NJCUL VP of Marketing and Communications and the Foundation’s Executive Director, for all of her hard work in making this happen.

Thanks are also due to the credit unions that hosted Reality Fairs this school year in New Jersey, for educating the next generation of credit union members, and for having an impact in their local communities –

  • ABCO FCU
  • Bay Atlantic FCU
  • Bridgeton Onized FCU
  • Credit Union of New Jersey
  • Hamilton Horizons FCU
  • Jersey Shore FCU
  • Members 1st of NJ FCU
  • Rutgers FCU
  • South Jersey FCU
  • Thunderbolt Area FCU
  • Visions FCU

And let me also express my appreciation for the hard-working Foundation Board, for the volunteers that work the Fairs, and for all those credit unions and other supporters that have contributed financially.  None of this would be possible without your support.

Help us break the record again next year – if you’re interested in getting involved, please contact Marissa Anema at manema@njcul.org.

League Initiatives
Evelyn Loves Audits
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

Most of us consider audits to be a necessary evil, a view which is reinforced by the Cambridge English Dictionary definition of necessary evil as "something unpleasant that must be accepted in order to achieve a particular result."

I think doing your income taxes also falls into that necessary evil category. If you’ve ever seen the Odd Couple, recall Felix Unger, who so enjoyed doing his taxes that he always submitted his return on the first possible day in January. There was an episode where Felix panicked when he was summoned to the IRS, thinking the worst – only to find out they just wanted to meet the person who submitted his taxes so early and organized so neatly, with tabs and color-coded sheets.

For any business, audits are part of a system of checks and balances that –

  • Confirm the validity and reliability of various kinds of information
  • Uncover mistakes
  • Review internal controls
  • Flag issues for Board and management review
  • Make recommendations for process improvements

Of course, credit unions also face a host of additional audit requirements set by our regulators that go beyond good business practice.

Well, I’m proud to say that we have our very own Felix Unger at NJCUL – Evelyn Shyposh. 

But we’re not talking taxes, it’s for audits – Evelyn loves audits.

Evelyn has over 20 years of experience in financial services, and specifically over 10 years of experience in compliance and internal audit. Evelyn joined NJCUL at the beginning of 2016, as part of our Shared Compliance team.

For those of you that might not be familiar, we rolled out a menu of specific audit solutions for NJCUL members in January, 2017.  The value drivers are the same as for our Shared Compliance Program - top-notch people and below-market prices for a mission-critical activity, as a benefit of NJCUL membership.

A sampling of the audits available from NJCUL (really, just the tip of the iceberg):

  • Bank Secrecy Act Risk Assessment
  • Enterprise Wide Risk Assessment
  • Scope of Annual Supervisory Committee Audit
  • BIA/Risk Assessment
  • Web site Review
  • BCP/Disaster Recovery
  • 'Red Flag' - Identity Theft
  • Data Security Program
  • Network Review
  • And more!

As you look to budgeting for 2018, please take a look at our audit solutions – the odds are that we can reduce your costs and still provide great service. Plus you’d make Evelyn’s day!

For more information on the NJCUL audit solutions, click here or contact Nicola Foggie, Vice President, Compliance & Regulatory Affairs, at nfoggie@njcul.org

League Initiatives
Halftime Report: Promises Made, Promises Kept
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

Last year, our Annual Convention in October came at about the 100-day mark of my tenure here at the New Jersey Credit Union League. The event also represented a golden opportunity to unveil our new strategic focus, and describe how we were going to translate it into concrete initiatives in 2017. 

NJCUL is being re-positioned as a true strategic partner, serving as a catalyst for our members' success. Our mission is to help you meet both your immediate needs and longer term goals for growth and productivity. That focus came from you: grounded in direct feedback from more than 130 conversations with CEOs, Board Chairs, volunteers, senior staff, consultants, lawyers, vendors, and many others in the NJCUL value chain. As we’ll discuss in a future blog post, it was also confirmed with our more recent strategic alignment survey, and significantly refined by the NJCUL Board in our strategic planning session.

Our strategy for translating that focus into reality entails:

  • Providing solutions, information, programs, and relationships that offer compelling value and which are directly relevant to the challenges you face and opportunities you see
  • Building on the Banking You Can Trust foundation with fresh approaches to building consumer awareness – call it Banking You Can Trust 2.0

We rolled out a new, comprehensive set of initiatives to implement the strategy, touching nearly every aspect of what the League does. Everything we pledged to do on your behalf was well-received at Convention, but there were attendees who expressed skepticism that we would be able to accomplish it all – the phrase "very ambitious" was uttered more than a few times. Which is accurate – it was (and is) an ambitious agenda.

Nothing makes me happier than proving skeptics wrong– we kept nearly every one of those promises.

We’re now six months into 2017 – call it halftime – and it’s timely to provide a status update on all those new programs (and two bonus additions too):

  • Banking You Can Trust 2.0 – Launched new awareness campaigns focused on:
    • Phase III – Service – amazing member service stories from long-tenured employees and Board members – kicking off in August
  • CUJobs4Vets – Statewide initiative to connect veterans in need of jobs to credit unions and business that have them – delayed by technology issues, currently in soft launch phase.
  • Upgraded CU Reality Check – Thanks to the support of CUNA Mutual Group, we were able to book top-tier speakers at the first-ever Reality Check collaboration between NJCUL and the MD|DC and Pennsylvania Credit Union Associations. Among them:
    • CUNA Mutual Group Keynote speaker Jeffrey Hayzlett, author of the 2015 Forbes top 10 business book "Think Big, Act Bigger"
    • Wharton Marketing Professor Jonah Berger, author of the NY Times Best-Seller "Invisible Influence: The Hidden Forces that Shape Behavior"
    • Doug Duncan, SVP/Chief Economist at Fannie Mae, and one of Bloomberg Businessweek’s 50 Most Influential People in Real Estate
    • David Peterson, author of "Grounded Anchor Management for Strategic Leadership and Effective Decision-Making"
  • A new series of affordable, one-day, hands-on workshops focused on critical operational needs:
    • NCUA Field of Membership Rules – Jan 17
    • Branch Transformation – Feb 7
    • Core Processing I – March 7
    • HMDA Compliance – May 25
    • Marketing Workshop – June 21
    • Core Processing II– Education/Showcase – Fall 2017
    • Drive Profit and Improve Engagement at the Branch – September 13
    • All About Mortgages – Getting in the Game – September 19
    • Cybersecurity – November 2
    • All About Mortgages – Stepping Up your Game – November 7
  • Free customized performance reports to enable benchmarking against peers for key performance metrics – distributed each quarter since 4Q 2016. Based on demand, we’re also looking at some training and consulting options to help CEOs and Boards use the reports.
  • Building the next generation of leaders – successful in obtaining a NJ State training grant in conjunction with Rutgers University that will enable us to provide 48 hours of small group professional managerial development training to over 300 NJCUL member employees, at locations throughout the State. The three, two-day, 16-hour courses are:
    • Becoming a Better Manager
    • Supervisor Symposium, and
    • Human Resource Management
  • Free monthly compliance and regulatory call-ins for members:
    • Jan 12 – How to Apply for a Low Income Designation
    • Feb 9 – Risk Based Lending – Randy Thompson, CEO TCT Risk Solutions
    • Feb 17 – Regulatory Update: Compliance Outlook
    • Mar 9 – Stump Nicola!
    • Apr 13 – Succession Planning
    • Apr 21 – Future of NUCA Exams and Call Reports
    • May 11 – Regulatory Update
    • June 16 – Comment Letter Writing Process
    • July 13 – Establishing and Execution of Estate Accounts – Michael DuPont, Attorney at McKenna, Dupont, Higgins and Stone
    • Jul 21– Regulatory Update: BSA Awareness
  • Expanded access to NJCUL compliance solutions – In addition to our Shared Compliance program, members can now show an immediate ROI on their dues investment by taking advantage of below-market rates for a variety of audits (BSA, CIP, OFAC, ACH, CAT, Quality Review, Website, and more) and training (BSA, Board Governance, Supervisory Committee Duties and Responsibilities, and more)
  • Free marketing collateral for small credit unions – free member benefit provided by YourMarketingCo on a quarterly basis
  • MBL opportunities in energy loans – on hold, awaiting policy decisions from the State

We even added two new programs that we didn’t talk about in October.

  • A new home improvement loan participation program that enables credit unions to deploy capital and receive a higher return, through an innovative participation program leveraging our partner LendKey’s national network of contractors.
  • ULEND Academy – developed by CUNA Mutual Group, ULEND Academy is a compressed 2-day version of week-long lending training programs, offered locally on a more cost-effective basis. We will be one of the first three Leagues to offer the program, with our first sessions being held August 22 & 23 at North Jersey FCU and August 24 & 25 at ABCO FCU. 

2017 has been a busy year, as you can tell – and I can’t wait to tell you about all the new programs coming in 2018 at this year’s Annual Convention.

Thank you for all of your support, and as always please contact me directly at dfrankil@njcul.org if you have questions, comments, and/or suggestions for new programs and activities that meet member needs.

League Initiatives
NJCUL Annual Convention 2017: Innovate, Collaborate, Succeed
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

Curating content for our Annual Convention (taking place this year October 22-24, at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City) is exciting, yet challenging. Our audience is diverse – CEOs and other Executives, Board Chairs, Supervisory Committee Members, and Volunteers. Just to complicate things further, the CEOs and  Executives range from more  senior  to those just starting their career – and with functional responsibilities from lending to marketing to operations to HR, and everything in-between. 

Factor in the diversity in credit union size and their differing needs, and you can see why crafting great content for Annual Convention takes a concerted effort by our entire team.

Luckily,  our team is diverse in their specialty areas (legislative affairs, compliance issues, marketing, member experience, etc.) , so it made sense to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to our initial Convention planning.

At our first “whiteboard” meeting, before we even glanced at speakers and topics, we spent a considerable amount of time talking about our mission at NJCUL – to be a catalyst for our members’ success. As we work through our strategic plan, we’re looking at every activity to make sure it is consistent with that mission – and that applies to Annual Convention, too. Hence the change in theme from the previous two years’ “Inspire” to this year’s “Innovate, Collaborate, Succeed!.”

League Initiatives
When I Grow Up…I Want to Be a Salesperson
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

We all knew someone like this growing up. They had two paper routes. In the summer, split time between cutting grass for neighbors and manning a lemonade stand right by the bike path. A couple of years later in high school, they learned to do magic tricks, performing at kids’ parties to save money for a car.

Those friends were born salespeople, which sometimes carries a negative connotation, especially from people that have never been in a sales role. The very best salespeople are those that take the time to understand what a prospect needs, and then work like the dickens to meet those needs – or walks away if they can’t. That is the definition of consultative selling, and it is a perfect fit for the credit union ethos.

But how many people with this skill set work at credit unions?

League Initiatives
Unclaimed Property Roundtable Informs Many
By: Barbara Agin, NJCUL Vice President, Member Experience & Education

Live from Hightstown and delivered virtually to FOUR locations, attorney Peter J. Liska, informed attendees on both the legislation and many provisions of the New Jersey Uniform Unclaimed Property Act.  Liska reviewed the 10 page operations guide providing examples and fielding questions.  

Pictures in addition the attendees at the League (minus {me} photographer ) include our virtual attendees from Atlantic FCU, Members 1st of NJ FCU, Campbell Employees FCU and Rutgers FCU.

Learn more about our virtual capabilities and check out our upcoming Regulatory Update Webinar.  Looking for the full calendar?  Click here.

League Initiatives
Mission Accomplished: ROI with Free Rutgers Training for NJCUL Members
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

I heard two things consistently from CEOs in my initial round of visits and phone calls back in July.

One was that the League needed to demonstrate a more quantifiable ROI on their dues investment.

The second was the need for cost-effective and local professional development programs. Not that CUNA, CUES, and others don’t offer solid options, but the fees, travel expenses, and total time out of office make it difficult for many of our members to take advantage of them.

I’m proud to say we’ve killed two birds with one stone.

League Initiatives
Leading the Way: NJCUL Named One of Five National Providers of ComplySight Compliance Consulting Services
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

Many of you are familiar with ComplySight, the all-in-one Web-based compliance tool offered by NJCUL in partnership with League InfoSight and CUSolutions Group (NJCUL serves on the League InfoSight Board). It provides everything from content, tracking, reports, regulatory alerts, and more— basically everything you need to organize a comprehensive compliance program.

League Initiatives
Q&A: Branch Transformation Doesn’t Always Mean Construction

Sundeep Kapur, an expert in digital, branch, and engagement strategies, will be presenting a one-day NJCUL Workshop on Branch Transformation, on Tuesday, February 7. The session is designed for anyone that has ever wondered how they can make their investment in a branch, its people, and all the associated technologies more productive for the credit union, and more valuable to members as well.

League Initiatives
Q&A: The Three Most Common Mistakes Credit Unions Make in Branch Design

Sundeep Kapur, digital and consumer engagement strategist, will be presenting a one-day NJCUL Workshop on Branch Transformation, on Tuesday, February 7. The session is designed for anyone that has ever wondered how they can make their investment in a branch, its people, and all the associated technologies more productive for the credit union, and more valuable to members as well.

League Initiatives
Q&A: The Secret to Doubling Products Per Member

Sundeep Kapur, digital and consumer engagement strategist, will be presenting a one-day NJCUL Workshop on Branch Transformation, on Tuesday, February 7. The session is designed for anyone that has ever wondered how they can make their investment in a branch, its people, and all the associated technologies more productive for the credit union, and more valuable to members as well. 

This is the first of a two-part interview with Sundeep, where he discusses with NJCUL President/CEO David Frankil the potential gains from thinking about your branch in a different way.

League Initiatives
Branch Transformation George Jetson, Meet Joseph Schumpeter
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

As a kid, the Jetsons were my favorite cartoon. There was just something about how easily futuristic technologies were magically integrated into daily life without any issues in Orbit City. George Jetson even walked their dog Astro on a treadmill without the inconvenient detail of dealing with what always occurs when you walk your dog. That clearly only works in cartoons.

Financial services has also become a mix of the traditional and the cutting edge, as disruptive, game-changing innovations are developed and make their way into our business. Except we don’t have that luxury of glossing over all the challenges of integration. 

League Initiatives
Santa’s Workshops May Be Closed, But Ours are Now Open for Business
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

When I ask CEOs what they want from the League, the most frequent response has been “more”—more content, more training, more relevance, more value. Which is exactly where we want to take the League, re-positioning it as a true strategic partner, helping members grow and be more productive.

As part of this process, we’ve created a new series of one-day workshops focused on critical credit union operational issues. The name “workshop” was chosen deliberately—these are not symposia, or discussion groups, or academic seminars. They are workshops—come spend a day, roll up your sleeves, and dig into the nitty-gritty of a topic and walk away with valuable, actionable information.

League Initiatives
Why You Want a Low-Income Designation from NCUA (And How to Get It)
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

The conclusion of nearly every article about the benefits of credit union membership is that you can join a credit union, and you should do it as soon as possible.

I’m telling you the same thing about the low-income designation (LID) from NCUA—if you meet the criteria, you should work through the process as soon as you can. A federal credit union qualifies for LID when a majority of its membership (50% + one member) qualifies as low-income. It’s as simple as that. 

League Initiatives
Loan Pricing Ought to be More Scientific Than Just Checking Out the Competition
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

Setting the right price for a product or service is a challenge for any business. Set prices too low, and you negatively impact margins and starve the business of capital – in the extreme, fixed and variable costs might not be covered. Set prices too high, and sales suffer and the business itself might be threatened.

Discuss prices with your competitors, and you might become a long-term guest at a Federal institution not of your own choosing.

Understanding price elasticity of demand – the relationship between price and quantity – is a challenge that many large companies spend millions of dollars trying to understand.

For credit unions, there is an added component that comes with the financial services territory – risk. The risk that a member might default on a loan plays (or should play) a role in determining the interest rate that borrower should pay, which is just as important as understanding the true cost of capital in making pricing decisions.

League Initiatives
Incoming NJCUL Chairman Andy Jaeger: A Fresh Outlook and Direction for 2017
By: Andy Jaeger, NJCUL Chairman and CUNJ President/CEO

It is no surprise that the last few years have been challenging for the League, between the turnover at the top to the impact of an ever-so-slowly improving economy and persistent low-rate environment on New Jersey credit unions. 

League Initiatives
New Member Benefit - An Early Holiday Gift for NJCUL Member Small Credit Unions
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

Smaller credit unions face many challenges in marketing their products and services effectively, but the most basic is developing professional collateral material to promote solutions…without spending a fortune. A crisp, clean look and feel is critical to communicating the value of our solutions, and that doesn’t come with bargain-basement design efforts.

To help jump-start the process for small credit unions without the hefty price tag, Bo McDonald, CEO of Your Marketing Company (one of our partners), has stepped up to provide high-quality, professional promotional pieces that small NJCUL member credit unions can use completely free of charge—or with a modest fee for customization. The first in the series is an eye-catching promotion of holiday loans (see graphic below).

League Initiatives
Focusing on Young Professionals and Millennials
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

I’m guessing that every generation has had some sort of conversation about the younger generation that goes a little something like this: We don’t understand them or their behaviors, what motivates them, how to manage them, or how to market to them.

You know, all those old sayings like… 

Kids, you can talk and talk till your face is blue
Kids, but they still just do what they want to do
Why can’t they be like we were, perfect in every way
What’s the matter with kids today?

The song is at the end of the clip: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1wCXr_6wgns
(for those of you that are classic movie buffs). 

Whether the digital revolution has made the challenge of comprehending millennials more difficult than other eras is a topic for others to tackle, but we do need to address two key questions –

  1. How do we attract young professionals to credit unions as future leaders, and what is the best way to both develop their skills and motivate them?
  2. How do we need to adapt our marketing and other strategies to focus on the millennial segment of our members and prospective members?
League Initiatives
Value and Relevance: Walking the Walk
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

I’ve written about how we are transforming the League for 2017 to be more valuable and relevant. But what does that really mean?

This week we made the first in what will be a series of announcements that offer up examples of steps the League is taking towards this transformation.

Peer group benchmarking is a great management tool to highlight opportunities, whether for productivity improvements, greater leverage, and/or for growth. You all have the ability to access your own Call Report data – what is harder is to see how you compare with your peer groups on key performance parameters for growth and productivity.  

With enough time and enough resources you could do the analysis yourself – after all, Call Report data is available on the NCUA website. But who has the time to identify who should be in your peer group, download their Call Report data, crunch the numbers, and analyze the results?

To me, this is exactly what a League focused on value and relevance should be doing for its members. 

League Initiatives
Marketing MRI: Finding and Bridging Value Gaps
By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

I recently sent a note to the entire membership with a preview of some of our 2017 initiatives, noting that they were developed from conversations with over 60 CEOs, and were part of our philosophy of market-led growth.

The process is actually more strategic than just having a good chat with a CEO. The question we’re answering is how to ensure that the value you’re providing actually matches up with what the market needs.

Let me use a case study with a gaping value gap from a consulting engagement I finished just before joining NJCUL to illustrate the approach we’ve taken with the League.

The client was a midsize general contractor (~$10M in revenue) offering integrated architectural design and construction services, focused primarily on office buildings, warehouses, and distribution centers. They wanted to know why they weren’t growing faster, especially when they saw new competitors winning jobs they thought should be theirs.

They thought the problem was a bad salesperson – but the engagement quickly evolved into a more extensive assessment of their fundamental value drivers.

We used an active listening process I call a “Marketing MRI,” and it has two components – internal and external. The first step is to interview employees at all levels of the company to understand their perception of key value drivers and what they see as the issues impeding growth.

League Initiatives