‘REACHtalks’ Engage CU Professionals with Innovative Pathways

A couple of many REACHtalk presenters from the week.
A couple of many REACHtalk presenters from the week.

Impactful 15-minute “REACHtalks” took place on Wednesday and Thursday during REACH 2021, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ annual conference in Palm Desert, CA. The talks challenged credit union leaders to try something NEW at their organizations!

(View or download any of this week’s photos from the REACH 2021 photo gallery)

Attendees gained new insights in operations, innovation, new technologies, and thinking differently as they continue to serve their members coming out of the COVID-19 pandemic crisis and going into late 2021 and 2022:

Leverage Your Data with Advanced Analytics to Personalize Customer Intelligence and Achieve Competitive Advantage: Rich Carlton, president of Aunalytics
Redefining the local experience and digitally transforming how they operate, using advanced data analytics (data-driven campaigns), strengthen positioning in regional markets, and targeting/discovering and offering the right services to the right people — at the right time.

Meeting in the Middle: Fintechs and Credit Unions Converge to Reimagine Banking: Keith Dunlap, director of sales for CUNA Mutual Group/AdvantEdge Digital
Unearthing as many opportunities as threats using fintech foes, fintech friends, and hybrid fintechs (offering intriguing prospects for credit unions). Credit union leaders were provided real-world examples of disruptors that, upon closer inspection, present immense opportunities for investment, co-creation and strategic disruption.

Great Relationships Can Start Online: Andrew Hubbard, vice president of Ultracs Corp.
Having a great relationship with members remotely, using real case studies; what the new remote world means to credit unions and the race to be relevant; and innovative ideas to stop members waving goodbye, and attracting new members using smart technology. The building blocks to providing beautiful user experiences for staff and members, as well as discussion on mergers, acquisitions, branding, and adapting to new digital relationships.

Digital-First Trends Taking Credit Unions by Storm: Lisa Huertas, chief strategy officer for FTSI
Focusing on digital-first efforts that strategically make sense for credit unions and members; diving into the latest digital trends in the credit union space and how they can revolutionize business models; and speeding up innovation through the use of API-led integration platforms, and understanding of digital authentication and integrated chat, co-browsing, and video and artificial intelligence.

Delivering a Personalized Experience Through Innovative Solutions: Yvonne Stelpflug, senior vice president of Advisors Plus for PSCU
Powerful tools for credit unions to understand and anticipate the motivations of members, as well as discovering how the importance of how predictive analytics can help proactively connect with members on a personalized basis and better understand behaviors and preferences. Also, learning how to identify members that may be at risk of attrition and how to leverage offers and incentives to bring them back.

Failing Forward: How A Culture of ‘Failing Forward’ Cultivates an Environment For Continuous Learning: Martina Schubert, chief technology officer for LenderClose
A frank discussion around what it takes to create a true fail-forward culture. It’s what credit unions learn from mistakes that matter, as well as inspiration for celebrating losses as often as wins; practical ideas for fostering an environment of appreciation; and tips for openly discussing problems that may otherwise hold back innovation.

Proven Case Studies That Drive Down Healthcare Costs Through Collaboration: Jesse Kohl, senior vice president of corporate development for Corporate Central CU
How credit unions can deliver the benefits employees need when the trajectory of healthcare costs is rising at such a steep pace, as well as leveraging data and collaboration. Also, proven case studies that leverage industry strengths to lower employees’ medical insurance costs, as well as learning how credit unions can leverage data to lower employees costs and case studies about collaborative models lowering healthcare costs.

Making Strategic Choices for Growth: Susan Hochsprung, vice president of sales for CUNA Mutual Group
The latest research on credit union growth strategies and how they relate to performance, as well as learning how strategic choices including mergers, product mix, digital capabilities, and other areas of competitive advantage are linked to loan and membership growth and ROA before and during the pandemic. Also, examining how top performers’ strategic choices differed from those of less successful credit unions.

Embracing Fintech Collaboration: Scott Young, vice president of innovation for PSCU
Cutting innovation time to market can signal innovation success. Leveraging third-party resources can be hugely beneficial in accelerating time to market for launching new innovations — filling a gap credit union members may not have even known existed and creating value. While collaborating with Fintechs can bring challenges, it comes to integrating with legacy credit union systems and added integration needs.

The Intersection of Compliance and Financial Inclusion: Crystal Sagum, compliance officer for ViClarity (and CUCE, NCRM)
Learning how to incorporate credit union compliance teams into the conversation on how to successfully meet inclusion goals, as well as discovering tips to serving the underserved while remaining compliant. Also, learning how to talk about diversity, equity and inclusion with compliance officers, and identify best practices to navigate regulations with financial inclusion in mind.

Manage Risk & Maximize Profit Potential through Mortgage Pipeline Hedging: Ryan Sherwin, managing director for ALM First
Hedging credit unions’ mortgage pipelines may help reduce risks and potentially enhance income, as well as understanding mortgage pipeline options, learning how to optimize the process for current mortgage volumes, and exploring alternative strategies to increase efficiency, manage risk and enhance profitability.

Will You Grow Enough To Thrive In The Future?: John Moreno, managing partner of Newcleus Credit Union Advisors
Why it’s vital for credit union boards and employees alike to understand the “growth imperative” mandate, why credit unions cannot simply merge their way to success, and how operating models will need to adapt into the future. Basic metrics that credit unions should measure were discussed, as well as success stories for those adopting cutting-edge ways to deliver employee and member value (organic versus inorganic growth, minimum growth rates needed, and the most important value to monitor).

Benefits of Sale-Leaseback Transactions: Austin Khan, managing director of Civitas Capital Group; and Jorge Adler, vice president of investments for Civitas Capital Group
Sale‐leasebacks can allow credit unions to optimize their balance sheet, enhance reserves, expand lending capacity, and significantly increase their ability to serve their members, all while retaining use of the real estate over the long term. There is an opportune time to consider sale-leasebacks due to upcoming changes in the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) regulation and accounting rules.

The Perfect Storm for Increasing Auto Finance Market Share: Mark Chandler, vice president of business development for CULA
There’s an opportunity for credit unions to be a key part of the auto finance solution during the COVID-19 recovery. Key issues are causing vehicle prices to skyrocket, and there are new challenges for auto dealers in finding deals for consumers. Credit unions can seize the opportunity to partner with these auto dealers.

Fixing This One Algorithm Can Make Lending Fairer For Millions Of Americans: Bruce Upbin, vice president of policy and comms for Zest Ai
There’s a developing a new and improved algorithm to improve race estimation in consumer lending — and credit unions have access to it. The credit system is flawed, and there are ways credit unions can fix the system with help from partners in the movement. Make lending “fairer” with advanced algorithms that improve race estimation in consumer lending should be on the industry’s radar.

Delivering Best In Class Consumer Products Start With The “Experience”: Evan Etheridge, vice president of Product Management for CU Direct
Credit union attendees learned that user-centered design is the mindset of placing the person using the application at the center of the design process, rather than the application itself. What it boils down to is always thinking from the user's perspective and striving to research, design and build solutions that solve problems for the end-user.

Stay Engaged During REACH
Attendees and League staff will be sharing photos, comments and memories through Twitter (@CUatREACH), Instagram (cuatreach), and the REACH Photo Galleries.

REACH is one of the credit union industry’s premier annual events, attracting leaders and system partners from across California, Nevada and the United States. This year it’s held from Nov. 1 – 4 at the JW Marriott Desert Springs Resort and Spa in Palm Desert, CA!

Pin It