CEOs Discuss What Their CUs Learned in Responding to COVID-19

(L-R by row): Diana Dykstra, President and CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Unio Leagues; Wally Murray, CEO of Greater Nevada CU; Shruti Miyashiro, CEO of Orange County’s CU; Gary Perez, CEO of USC CU; and Dave Gunderson, CEO of CU of SoCal
(L-R by row): Diana Dykstra, President and CEO of the California and Nevada Credit Unio Leagues; Wally Murray, CEO of Greater Nevada CU; Shruti Miyashiro, CEO of Orange County’s CU; Gary Perez, CEO of USC CU; and Dave Gunderson, CEO of CU of SoCal

A unique panel of four credit union CEOs described what they and their teams learned in responding to the COVID-19 pandemic and ensuing economic crisis earlier this year during the fifth and final day (Nov. 5) of the Virtual REACH 2020 conference.

Gary Perez, CEO of USC CU, noted that it’s been an extraordinary experience. “Our credit union was built for this type of environment,” he said. “We focused on our staff and members first.”

Shruti Miyashiro, CEO of Orange County’s CU, talked about leadership and staff “exercising a lot of muscle.” The credit union’s team used design-thinking to immediately respond to operational and member concerns, prioritize them along the way, and then look at what needed to be improved in hindsight.

“What emerged was confidence in the changing situation, no matter what lied ahead,” she said. “Now it’s about taking those skill sets and applying them to the unknown going forward.”

Dave Gunderson, CEO of CU of SoCal, said that no credit union leader back in 2015 knew the answer to the “Where do you see your credit union in five years” type of question. It’s difficult enough as it is just to plan one to two years out, and it’s virtually impossible to look five years into the future.

“We are planning one to two years out and aligning our strategies with our purpose, and we are having to be more agile as we do that,” he said. “If we have another wave of COVID-19 or any other crisis, whatever trends we’re seeing right now are going to probably accelerate. We need to be prepared for virtually anything.”

Wally Murray, CEO of Greater Nevada CU, said his team learned that in the key part of any business continuity or disaster recovery plan, the important part is culture.

“You can’t go into a situation like this and invent culture on the fly,” he said. “I’m so proud and impressed by our people. I learned that — without having to constantly be reminded — whatever our credit union is going through as an organization, our staff knew our members were going through something much more difficult. It allowed them to be very flexible in their attitudes and willing to adapt along the way.”

The breakout session was one of a couple, in addition to more REACHtalks and Spark Sessions that same day on “The Storm: COVID Collections,” “Getting More Out of Your Brand,” and “How Cash Management Outsourcing Empowers Branch Transformation and COVID-19.”

You can watch the CEO COVID-19 pandemic session and also catch the entire conference in real-time or on-demand! Click here to experience this exclusive virtual conference on Oct. 26, 28 and 29, and Nov. 4 and 5. REACH 2020 is one of the credit union industry’s premier annual events, drawing leaders and system partners from across California, Nevada and the United States.

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