Small CUs Explore Opportunities for Growth at League Conference

HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. – On Friday (yes – on a Friday this year) the annual Small Credit Union Conference was held at the League office. Moving the conference to a weekday was a concept that had been contemplated for a few years now and this year became a reality. With the theme, “Explore the Possibilities”, the conference was packed with content and information designed to enable our small credit unions to take action on items that will impact their bottom line immediately!

Thank you to our sponsors Alloya Corporate FCU, NJCUL Services Corporation, and Vizo Financial Corporate FCU! Their sponsorships enabled us to once again offer this conference at no charge to small credit unions as a benefit of membership. Symbionce Financial Services sponsored a most delicious lunch (and you know how we credit union people feel about food!).

The opening speaker, Amanda McMeans, the founder and president of TwoScore, began the day by sharing her story of how she ended up in the credit union industry. McMeans’s presentation was full of relevant information and her passion for the success of small credit unions was apparent. Being a numbers girl, she dove right into calculating profitability models, calculating runoff, and evaluating real numbers. She talked about budgets and goals and one “tweetable” moment was when she said, “insufficient budgets and/or manpower are what hold back credit union growth”.

McMeans went on to convey the value of storytelling. She encouraged attendees to “Get REAL Curious” and answer thought-provoking questions, such as how do you make a difference in members lives; what makes your credit union different, what does your credit union believe above all else, and more. She discussed culture, and, with examples, walked the group through the differences of a company vision versus mission; value statements, and branch promises.

Next up was our own Vice President of Credit Union Solutions for NJCUL Services Corporation, Robin Brunner, who provided a showcase of opportunities currently available from League business partners. Brunner shared some ideas the League is currently vetting and had attendees complete a Solutions/Program Survey.

The group was introduced to two new business partners: Al Mucci, executive vice president of Account Control Systems (ACS), and Jim Caliendo, president; Lynn Greene, director of marketing; and Adam Merante, regional vice president (and your contact); from PW Campbell, who came to us via Zoom.

With the use of Zoom, Alloya Corporate FCU presented a session on Same Day ACH. Sandy Albertson introduced Michelle McDowell, manager and assistant VP of Electronic Services, and Deb Hoster, manager of Electronic Payments. From their office in Chicago, they provided an in-depth look at Same Day ACH from an overview of what it is to posting requirements now and what they need to know to prepare for Phase 2 and a quick look at Phase 3.

Frank Maniscalco, well-known and respected in the credit union industry, led a discussion about how to decipher the numbers and information found in the Custom Performance Reports (CPRs) that are provided no charge as a benefit of League membership. Frank also discussed Allowance for Loan Losses and shared how it is important to always keep this current. He stated that regulators don’t like when monies are put in and later taken out which means it is best to be very realistic when setting aside funds.

Deb Cohn from Vizo Financial Corporate FCU (formerly Mid-Atlantic Corporate) gave an overview of the services that benefit small credit unions. Cohn focused on two products: Mobile Solutions and Managed IT Services. IT Services include network review, system monitoring/patching, IT related projects, and data backup services.

The last speaker of the day was NJCUL Vice President of Compliance & Regulatory Affairs, Nicola Foggie, who shared information about the current cybersecurity landscape, its importance, and what you need to know in preparation for your NCUA Exam. She highlighted the tools that are available to assist credit unions. Foggie and her shared compliance specialists help credit unions to complete the self-assessment. (Find out more about what the League’s compliance department can do for you: www.njcul.org/index.php/blog/compliance-solutions).

Dawn Brockup, president/CEO of West Orange Municipal FCU, represented Symbionce Financial Services and addressed the group on behalf of Lucy Forte – the newest member of the Symbionce team.

NJCUL Vice President of Member Experience & Education, Barbara Agin, led the final group discussion on collaboration opportunities. To summarize the day, Agin shared that as small organizations with limited funds and resources, we need to work smarter and outsource those items that don’t increase revenue to allow better focus on those functions that will lead to increased revenue and growth.

It was certainly an information-packed day and all left with some nuggets of information to explore further.