REACH Kicks Off: ‘Destructive Creation’ Helps CUs View World Differently; and Chairman McWatters

Meta-art and destructive creation artist Phil Hansen kicked off the REACH 2017 convention.
Meta-art and destructive creation artist Phil Hansen kicked off the REACH 2017 convention.

Widely known for his meta-art and destructive creation, Phil Hansen kicked off the REACH 2017 convention by giving attendees a taste of what it’s like to achieve limitlessness by having a limitation.

The so-called “artist for the people” shared how permanent nerve damage in his hands and arms changed his life perspective about how he approached his trade. “When I embraced the shake, I found a different art I could make,” he said. “It was ‘pointalism.’ You see the dots close up, but far away you realize a completely different image.”

Hansen went from having a single approach to art to embracing the fact that a limitation can actually drive creativity. “By not creating my own limitation, I was able to create ultimate liberation,” he said.

It led to a host of projects, including commissioned work on the movie “Cars 2,” the Grammys, projects for Disney, Skype, Mazda, the Rockefeller Foundation, and pieces featured on the Discovery Channel, “Good Morning America,” “The Rachael Ray Show,” and “Last Call With Carson Daly.”

It also led Hansen to see people with their limitations in a different light. “When we are confronted with challenges, our success depends on our ability to see the things in front of us,” he said while incorporating a light-canvas paint display into his presentation and using his hands to experiment with shades of shadows. “But if you shift your perspective you can actually get an entirely different picture. Limitations are one thing, but a self-limiting belief is something we put in our own way.”

He added that credit union leaders know their limitations, but reminded them of their movement’s “own story” and their potential for continued transformation.

“We are amazingly resilient in our creative nature, and embracing the shade is about changing our attitude toward ourselves—about believing in our tremendous capacity to change our ways,” Hansen said. “We don’t need more people, tools, time or money. Those things help, but our most valuable resource is internal. It’s our adaptability. It’s only then we realize there’s a future that we get to create by reframing and recrafting. Embrace your limitation.”

A Look Back—and a Glimpse Forward
California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ President and CEO Diana Dykstra thanked the 2017 chairman of each state league—Valley First CU CEO Hank Barrett and WestStar CU CEO Rick Schmidt—for their continued guidance during the past year.

“Your leadership has been remarkable, and I am honored by it,” Dykstra said. “The work you do as chairmen changes people’s lives. League representation is extremely important.”

Barrett and Schmidt said they were honored to serve as chairs and thanked those in attendance at REACH for their support. “We must remain unified,” Barrett said. “I challenge all credit unions to stay engaged. We must all stay engaged if we are to survive and thrive.”

Dykstra also acknowledged credit unions’ efforts in raising monies for victims of the recent Northern California wildfires, Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals, and financial literacy through the Richard Myles Johnson Foundation, as well as the political muscle flexed through time spent advocating for credit unions at the state/federal legislative and regulatory levels.

‘Changing the Nature of Community Banking’
Credit Union National Association (CUNA) President and CEO Jim Nussle delivered an introspective speech on how credit unions are shaking up the marketplace for consumers over the past five years in loans, deposits, service, and their member-owned and oriented approach.

A graph he used represented large financial institutions’ ever-increasing market share over the past 25 years, with credit unions modestly increasing their acceptance among consumers during the same period. However, over the past five years credit unions have particularly gained increasing acceptance in mortgages, auto loans, and other products and services coming out of the Great Recession.

Even with credit unions’ success, “I think we’re at a tipping point and need to give it a bump to ensure we have an accelerated path toward the future,” he said. “Credit unions have come in and changed the nature of community banking. We can use this to pivot forward even better.”

He encouraged attendees to be involved in state and federal advocacy, whether on the legislative or regulatory fronts—and to get their members involved since it speaks volumes to Congress.

“We need to be involved and be challenged to make a difference,” Nussle said. “And we need to encourage and challenge our 110 million members across the nation to be engaged.”

Mark McWatters Discusses NCUA Efforts
National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Chairman Mark McWatters discussed the regulatory reform agenda the agency is continuing to implement for federally-insured and chartered credit unions.

The NCUA is using a matrix to filter through which rules and regulations are efficient versus not, and which ones cost credit unions more or less in resources. He reiterated the agency’s efforts to “make sense” of rules with respect to congressional and constitutional intent.

“We are taking a top-to-bottom review of the agency,” McWatters said. “We want to create an agency that works more efficiently and effectively on your behalf.”

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