NJCUL Annual Convention 2017: Innovate, Collaborate, Succeed
in League Initiatives
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!.”

It starts with the Keynote Speaker, made possible by the generosity of CUNA Mutual Group – Ms. Lisa Servon. Lisa is a Professor of City Planning at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives. In it, Lisa recounts her experiences behind the counter of a check cashing store and at a payday lender, to help us all understand why these alternative banking systems have emerged as a central feature of our economy for the unbanked.

View Lisa’s message in the context of our long-standing goal of raising awareness of the benefits of credit unions in New Jersey, the single most significant rate-limiting factor in our growth. We’ve all at one point in time wondered why a group of consumers—who ought to represent a great growth opportunity for us—voluntarily choose to pay higher fees for banking services with check cashers and payday lenders, when credit unions can offer them the same benefits without the punitive costs.

Even worse, we watch some of our own members that patronize check cashers and payday lenders, when a better solution is right in front of them, along with  financial knowledge and empowerment to help them with their overall situation. 

Yet those alternative banking systems not only continue to exist, but they thrive – and until we understand why, we’ll never be able to make meaningful inroads into their marketshare. Go back to our mission of being a catalyst for our member’s success - Lisa’s surprising and somewhat counter-intuitive findings are more timely now than ever. Look for a future blog post interview for a preview of what she will tell us in Atlantic City.

Next up come the breakout sessions – everything from how to explore opportunities to collaborate, to director liability issues, to income opportunities, to management consulting skills for top executives, and much, much more. Plus we’ll have a strong focus on advocacy, too – special breakouts with NCUA on taxi medallions, updates directly from NCUA and NJDOBI, a CULAC event, and maybe even special appearances from a politician or two.

All focused on one clear mission – helping you succeed in an increasingly complex and competitive financial services marketplace.

I hope you can join us October 22-24, 2017 at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City. Visit www.njcuconvention.com for more information and to register. You can take advantage of an early bird discount if you register your team by July 31st.