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CENTER P INT Summer 2018

Credit Union Professionals Shine

Amazon

Poses CU Threat Going A Step Beyond Tech For

Cybersecurity

Busting Credit Union

Myths Increasing Fee Income


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SUMMER 2018

CONTENTS

04

TECHNOLOGY

Ensuring Cyber Security Beyond Technology

Educate, train personnel to better spot potential threats

EVENTS

18 Great New England Credit Union Show Credit union professionals from all over New England gathered to learn what’s new in the industry

BUSINESS

06 Keep an Eye on Amazon

Company poses threat to credit unions with talk of entering banking industry

COVER STORY

08

20

MARKETING

Busting Credit Union Myths

Maine Credit Union League launches Own It campaign

2018 Rising Star Awards

Winners of the 2018 Rising Star Awards honored at Great New England Credit Union Show

MONEY

17 Increasing Fee Income

Without Raising Fees How to increase revenue without charging your customers more

AWARDS

22 Banking Choice Awards

Credit union professionals spotted at annual awards ceremony

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TECHNOLOGY

ENSURING Konrad Martin is co-founder and principal of Tech Advisors, a technology solution provider for small to mid-size businesses. He can be reached at konradm@tech-adv.com.

W

hen considering the industry, it seems almost automatic that credit unions would have some of the latest technological strategies and software in place when it comes to protecting their organizations from cyberattacks. In fact, credit unions are subject to some form of personal data breach laws as well as FINRA (Financial Industry Regulatory Authority) oversight, which is a not-forprofit organization directed by Congress to protect investors by, in part, “writing and enforcing rules governing the activities of 3,700 broker-dealers with 630,000 brokers” and “examining firms for compliance with those rules.” On its own, FINRA oversees up to 75 billion market transactions daily, and has implemented innovative technology including cloud computing combined with cutting-edge applications, programs and hardware to help identify and protect against cyberattacks. Combine the power of FINRA with each credit union’s own cybersecurity efforts, and these financial institutions would seem to be impenetrable fortresses that could defend the most cunning hacker’s attack. Yet given the scope of these institutions (i.e., money, lots of it and in various forms and currencies) and the potential payout if successful, banks and credit unions continue to be the target of hackers’ efforts. Extra security efforts are imperative 4 | CENTERPOINT | Summer 2018

BEYOND TECHNOLOGY by Konrad Martin


to keep not only the coffers safe, but to protect against client doubt that they can trust a particular institution with, sometimes literally, their life’s savings. Technology safeguards are important for sure, but there is another oft-overlooked strategy to protect against would-be hackers: education. Credit unions need to ensure they are providing their employees with the needed training to identify and thwart hacking efforts. In fact, education is the easiest and best way for any organization to defend itself from cybercrime. Even for organizations that have transitioned to cloud-based computing, which offers the most cyberprotection, this high-level technology still needs organizations to provide education to ward off hackers. These days, most hackers have evolved in sophistication; rather than depending on the brute force of a nefariously devised program to break through a firewall, a hacker understands that he or she will have much more success targeting individuals, luring them to click on some kind of link that, unknowingly to the user, allows the hacker access to the whole network. Sadly, the weakest part of any financial institution’s security is the people. To fight this reality, employees should be educated on

how to use the network and what attachments are okay to click on (and what attachments are not). This may sound easy; so easy, in fact, that many organizations skip this step and instead simply instruct their employees they can only open emails that come from people they know. Unfortunately, hackers have come to expect this – and they can easily use personal information about an employee which they’ve gleaned from social media to create imposter accounts. (In addition, there is no way of knowing whether the person you know has been hacked, and therefore the user would be responding to a hacked email.) Frequently, this is known as “spear phishing.” In these situations, a hacker can break into the email account of an administrator, by convincing the individual to click on something that seems harmless, but allows the hacker to either implant keylogger software to record when the user types their login name and password, or sometimes connect directly into the email server. Then, when someone emails that administrator about a financial transaction, the hacker can respond as that administrator and offer alternative directions – wiring a deposit to a specific bank account instead, for example. This is all done without the original

intended’s knowledge of the matter – hackers can send emails and then delete the record of them right away or move emails to a mailbox the intended user doesn’t see or can’t access. Typically, by the time the true reality of these situations is realized, it’s too late to ask the credit union to reverse the transaction, and the money is gone for good. Email, internet, social media – all of these are luxuries that must be treated responsibly. It’s incredibly easy for a hacker to collect expansive information about an individual – including their address, names and ages of spouse and children, job, pets, and educational background – simply by spending a few minutes on Facebook (which, in addition to its issues with sharing user data, also experiences on average 600,000 hacks a day). Policies and procedures must be put in place so that employees know how to appropriately manage both their personal and professional technology – for the benefit of everyone. Given that banks and credit unions are at higher risk for cyberattacks because they have what thieves are looking for, it only makes sense that these institutions fortify their technical security with the type of training and education necessary to be best-positioned for long, trusted client relationships.

Summer 2018 | CENTERPOINT | 5


BUSINESS

Amazon Checking Account Poses Threat To Credit Unions and Community Banks Ecommerce Giant Well-Positioned to Grab Young Customers by Bram Berkowitz

SPECIAL TO CENTERPOINT

L

arge ecommerce players like Amazon have upended many industries from retail to entertainment to grocers, forcing businesses in these sectors to adapt or face a future filled with uncertainty. Now the ecommerce giant is poised to disrupt the banking industry. Amazon sent shock waves through the financial world recently when news outlets reported that the behemoth is in talks with big banks such as JPMorgan Chase to build its own checking account product, specifically targeting younger users and those without a bank. News that Amazon is also looking to roll out a credit

6 | CENTERPOINT | Summer 2018

card for small businesses followed, and the company launched its first debit card offering in Mexico. “Amazon is in the business of selling merchandise. Everything they do feeds into that model,” said Thad Peterson, senior analyst at the Boston-based Aite Group, adding that he does not think Amazon wants to become a full-on bank. “By offering [a checking account product] to the underbanked and unbanked, they are opening a sales channel to a reasonably sized population that would otherwise not purchase stuff online.” Peterson thinks Amazon will roll out some type of checkless deposit account that comes with a debit card so people can make online purchases, although the card or


the currency could be virtual. Maureen Burns, a partner and leader of the financial services practice group at Bostonbased Bain & Co., thinks the move will be multi-faceted, an effort that targets new customers, while also continuing to build brand loyalty. “It could be for customers without credit, or to create tighter relationships with existing customers,” she told CenterPoint. “Amazon wants to increase the scope in which they interact with existing customers.”

Underbanked vs. Millennials

The less-banked and younger customer populations have two entirely different values to financial institutions. Seven percent (9 million) of U.S. households in 2015 were unbanked, meaning no one in the household had a checking or savings account, according to the FDIC. An additional almost 20 percent (24.5 million) of U.S. households were underbanked, meaning that the household had an account at an insured institution, but also obtained financial services and products outside of the banking system. While financial institutions do offer products for these populations and stress financial literacy, the numbers – which have improved only marginally since 2011 – show that the underbanked and unbanked are not core to a bank’s business model. “The truth of the matter is if the banks really wanted to serve the unbanked and underbanked, they would offer a product to serve them,” Peterson said. “Banks can’t take this as a significant threat. Even if this thing is enormously successful, it’s still a little tiny percentage of checking customers in the U.S.” Millennials and younger customers, on the other hand, are highly sought by credit unions and banks, but still are a bit of a mystery to crack. To be certain, millennials are using digital banking services. Nearly two-thirds of all smartphone users in the U.S. have at least one financial app, according to a survey by Bankrate. Seventy percent of survey respondents said they checked their credit union or bank’s mobile app at least once a week, while 16 percent of respondents said they checked it daily.

Amazon has done a superb job of creating brand loyalty, attracting customers to the conglomerate for everything from movies to music to food. More than two-thirds of participants in a recent study conducted by D3 Banking Technology and Harris Poll said they were frustrated with their digital banking experience and are prepared to walk away from their current financial institution if a better digital experience presents itself. The survey also found that digital banking users ages 18 to 34 are more likely than those ages 55 and older to be frustrated with their digital experience. Seventy-three percent of the younger group indicated that they have been frustrated with their digital banking experience over the past year, compared to only 61 percent of adults ages 55 and over. “When customers buy another banking product, 40 percent are buying from another competitor; they are typically not shopping, but will get an offer,” said Burns. “Primary banks are not great at targeting their customers.” Amazon, however, has done a superb job of creating brand loyalty, attracting customers to the conglomerate for everything from movies to music to food, not to mention

the massive assortment of products shoppers purchase every day. U.S. and United Kingdom consumers ranked PayPal and Amazon nearly as high as banks and credit unions for trust with their money, according to a recent study from Bain & Co. In another Bain study, 74 percent of respondents ages 18 to 24 and 68 percent of respondents ages 25 to 34 said they expect to buy a financial product from a technology firm within the next five years. Bain’s most recent analysis, which came on the heels of news regarding the Amazon checking account, estimates a banking service from Amazon could swell to more than 70 million U.S. customer accounts within five years. That would equal the size of Wells Fargo, the country’s third largest bank. “I do think banks need to be worried,” said Burns, adding that she thinks there has been too much reliance on the branch. “Frankly, they have struggled to create those really good digital experiences.”

Amazon, Well Positioned

But that doesn’t necessarily mean these customers are safe, particularly the younger ones. Summer 2018 | CENTERPOINT | 7


COVER STORY

Credit Union Professionals Shine What do you consider your biggest success? My biggest success is visible in the subtle changes in how people engage with my role. I have been able to work with every department and the types of questions people ask has evolved as our business intelligence program has strengthened. I consider it a success that we have been able to change my co-workers’ expectations and mindset around using data to make decisions.

This year’s Rising Stars were honored at the Great New England Credit Union Show May 8 in Worcester, Massachusetts. We received many nominations, which were vetted by an independent panel of judges. The 14 winners were chosen for their contributions to their credit unions and the outstanding work they have done to go above and beyond.

8 | CENTERPOINT | Summer 2018

Jacqueline Baker

TITLE: Data Specialist CREDIT UNION: Harvard University Employees Credit Union CREDIT UNION LOCATION: Cambridge, MA

What do you consider the highlight of your career so far? When I transitioned into my former role as marketing data analyst, my boss and mentor, Tom Montilli, and I were able to extensively redesign the way that HUECU used data, both for marketing and for other initiatives. Working on such a project from the beginning and seeing how it has continued to evolve and grow over the years since has been the highlight of my career to date.

What attracted you to work with a credit union? To be honest, I fell into working in a credit union by accident instead of by design. I had an awkward gap after undergrad and wanted a part-time job to keep me busy during that time. I ended up as a teller at a credit union in Virginia. It was such a good experience that when I moved to Massachusetts, it was natural to look to the credit union community to find work. Once I started at HUECU, I found a role that perfectly aligned my education and credit union work experience. Now that you’ve been working in your credit union for several years, what do you like best about working in the credit union community? My favorite part of working at a credit union is the strong sense of community; with our members and Select Employee Groups within the organization, and with other credit unions and vendors. There is a prevailing feeling that we are all working together to help our members have successful financial lives.


Now that you’ve been working in your credit union for several years, what do you like best about working in the credit union community? The credit union community is similar to family. People are looking out for people. They truly care about each other.

workers, some of whom have reached out to her as they confront health issues. Outside of the credit union, Lenai also helps support her family in Puerto Rico. Many were hit by the recent hurricane. In an organization like a credit union that emphasizes human compassion for people to help other people, Lenai shines and her contributions to Hanscom Federal show her strength of character.

Karen R. Brousseau

TITLE: Director of Operations CREDIT UNION: Southbridge Credit Union CREDIT UNION LOCATION: Southbridge, MA

_______________________________

What do you consider the highlight of your career so far? I have been given so many wonderful opportunities here to forward my career, however, the position that I am in now I will have to say is the highlight of my career. It offers me multiple areas to grow and learn. Tell us about your community involvement. I volunteer at my church in their community events as well as participate in local community events for the Southbridge Credit Union. What do you consider your biggest success? My biggest success will always be my faith, my husband and our son. I am very fortunate to work for an organization that puts family first and at the same time provides you the opportunity to grow in your career. What attracted you to work with a credit union? I started working for the credit union at the young age of 18. At the time I did not know what it meant to be part of the credit union community. When I learned that credit unions are owned and operated by their members and that the member has a voice that really meant something to me and still does.

Lenai Camaco

TITLE: Assistant Vice President of Compliance CREDIT UNION: Hanscom Federal Credit Union CREDIT UNION LOCATION: Hanscom AFB, MA

_______________________________ As assistant vice president of compliance, Lenai works to protect members from fraud and has strategized to meet this demand, saving money for the credit union community.

Lenai began with Hanscom Federal as a compliance manager in 2012 and was promoted to her current position in 2016. Her work is crucial to the credit union after an increase in fraud and security risks. Lenai was instrumental in expanding the Bank Secrecy Act oversight within the credit union from one to a team of three, helping to reduce loan fraud and identity theft. Her community outreach comes from a very personal place in her heart. Lenai is a breast cancer survivor and aids others who are struggling. In early 2017, Lenai was diagnosed and began treatment while keeping a balance between family and work. The mother of a toddler, she said she quickly realized that giving her time to fear took away time for the things she loved. Her positive attitude is inspirational to her co-

Susan Franklin

TITLE: AVP/Marketing Director CREDIT UNION: GFA Federal Credit Union CREDIT UNION LOCATION: Gardner, MA

_______________________________ What do you consider the highlight of your career so far? The highlight of my career is working with individuals at GFA who have the common goal of helping members. We are not just selling products and services, we are helping people with their financial goals. Tell us about your community involvement. Currently I am on the board of Square Two of Gardner, a community organization that helps raise money for city events and beautification. I am on the board for Leominster Crime Stoppers, a community organization that funds an anonymous tip line for the city of Leominster to help solve crimes.

Summer 2018 | CENTERPOINT | 9


What do you consider your biggest success? My biggest success is when I can walk into an organization and regain marketing dollars being outsourced and utilize them to create a comprehensive strategic marketing initiative. What attracted you to work with a credit union? Working for a credit union is rewarding; it isn’t about fees and returns, it’s about people helping people. I worked many years in manufacturing where my voice never mattered, at GFA it matters and I feel valued. Now that you’ve been working in your credit union for several years, what do you like best about working in the credit union community? It is a way of giving back, I feel you get what you give and working for a credit union is another way of helping others.

I teach Sunday school and I also serve on the audit committee of my church. What do you consider your biggest success? I have been able to contribute to the credit union in many areas. My hard work and contribution paid off as I was promoted twice in the Accounting Department over the course of two years. What attracted you to work with a credit union? It was a nonprofit business and I was curious about the credit union industry. Now that you’ve been working in your credit union for several years, what do you like best about working in the credit union community? Naveo is like a family working together. It is a team environment.

I wanted to be a part of something that made a difference. I always wake up feeling great knowing that I am doing a job that makes a significant difference in someone’s life.

—Wilbienly Joseph

Tell us about your community involvement. In my community I try to participate in a local food pantry. It occurs every third Sunday and I feel like it is a great way to give back to the community. I feel like the impact is even greater because I am one of the only bilingual helpers in the group. Families without English speakers always have a hard time communicating what they need and don’t need and being able to help translate for a few of them always puts a smile in my face. What do you consider your biggest success? My biggest success is getting chosen to participate as a board officer on the Malden Chamber Board. Being appointed to this position gives me the opportunity to sit down with amazing people and discuss how we can benefit the city and its businesses.

Margaret Iao

TITLE: Senior Accountant CREDIT UNION: Naveo Credit Union CREDIT UNION LOCATION: Somerville, MA

_______________________________ What do you consider the highlight of your career so far? I was able to utilize my accounting background to help the credit union. Tell us about your community involvement.

10 | CENTERPOINT | Summer 2018

Wilbienly Joseph

TITLE: Loan Specialist CREDIT UNION: Everett Credit Union CREDIT UNION LOCATION: Everett, MA

_______________________________ What do you consider the highlight of your career so far? The highlight of my career so far was being considered for this position. My first job in high school was at the credit union. Growing from being a part-time teller to a loan specialist felt like it was a remarkable change that I never saw coming. I now get the chance to share my story to the incoming tellers from how I was once like them and that they should expect growth for the hard work they put in.

What attracted you to work with a credit union? What attracted me to working at a credit union was the impact I knew I was going to have in the community. Like many others I wanted to be a part of something that made a difference. I always wake up feeling great knowing that I am doing a job that makes a significant difference in someone’s life. It is one of those cheesy things that people always utter that don’t always get to be true. Now that you’ve been working in your credit union for several years, what do you like best about working in the credit union community? What I like best about working at a credit union is that I never stop learning. Growth is really important to me and so is learning. I’ve already grown so much due to their guidance and I could see myself learning so much more from them.


What do you consider the highlight of your career so far? I’ve had quite a diverse journey in my career. The greatest highlight of my career has been the people I’ve had the opportunity to work with. I have worked with some of the most amazing, caring and exceptional people and I soaked in the experience like a sponge. I have been blessed to learn from tremendous executives who took the time to mentor me in my early career without ever an expectation of any return on that time. Those executives helped because they cared.

Dennis Klemenz

TITLE: Vice President / Chief Information Officer CREDIT UNION: Connex Credit Union CREDIT UNION LOCATION: North Haven, CT

_______________________________

Tell us about your community involvement. I’ve been mentoring students at a local high school for 10 years, and I’ve been teaching at two local universities for the past eight years. Connecticut has been having a challenge in attracting and retaining talent. We recently had a large company leave New Haven, and one of the primary reasons was they struggled to attract and retain talent. Teaching is a great way to build the talent pool in New Haven and to provide some mentorship for young professionals. In the past eight years, I’ve had the privilege to teach over 1,000 different college students.

Congratulations Susan!

What do you consider your biggest success? The next project, the next implementation, the next problem solved. I know that this sounds cliché, but the future is brighter than the past. I’m excited about what we are doing at Connex and what the future holds. Connex has a lot of exciting technology projects in the pipeline that will greatly help our members and our community. What attracted you to work with a credit union? The concept of a member-owned financial institution that focuses on its community is what attracted me to Connex. Connex Credit Union is a leader in member advocacy. Money problems cause tremendous stress on individuals and families. Connex focuses on helping our members plan and budget their money. We call that the “advocacy” process and it works. Now that you’ve been working in your credit union for several years, what do you like best about working in the credit union community? I’ve always worked in highly competitive environments. The credit union industry

Susan Franklin

AVP/Marketing Director

Ash

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Summer 2018Ashburnham | CENTERPOINT| Hubbardston | 11 Ashburnham || Gardner Gardner | Hubbardston || Leom Leom


shocked me at how much they collaborate and share best practices with each other. If I’m struggling with an idea or concept, I can pick up the phone and call other IT executives in the credit union industry and they all help. I’ve called other CEOs who have offered ideas and approaches. I do not know many other industries where everyone works and collaborates so well together.

Nicole Legere

TITLE: AVP Compliance Officer CREDIT UNION: Leominster Credit Union CREDIT UNION LOCATION: Leominster, MA

Compliance can be a difficult field because it often involves the creation of additional work for staff as well as changing established procedures to comply with new or updated regulations. Therefore, I would say my biggest accomplishment is being able to watch LCU really embrace compliance – which is more their accomplishment than mine, but I like to think I had a little something to do with it.

What do you consider the highlight of your career so far? Being the manager of a team of IT professionals at MIT Federal Credit Union. The team is the best team I have worked with in my IT career. Their skillset is remarkable. The management team is both knowledgeable and helpful. The CEO is both accommodating and easy to not only communicate with, but he truly has an open door policy.

What attracted you to work with a credit union? When I decided to work for a financial institution, I knew that I wanted to do more than just “go to work” every day. I wanted to work somewhere that was committed to improving the communities it served as well as making positive changes in the lives of the people living in those communities, and LCU absolutely embodies those beliefs.

Tell us about your community involvement. I serve many functions in the community. I serve as the vice president of Baptist Ministry Conference of Boston and Vicinity, recording secretary of the United Baptist Conference of MA, RI, and NH, Saugus Interfaith Community, American Baptist Association (TABCOM), and pastor of the First Baptist Church of Saugus.

Now that you’ve been working in your credit union for several years, what do you like best about working in the credit union community? Working in the credit union community means that you have an extended family in more ways than one. Both the members and LCU employees have become like a family to me, and they make coming to work every day worthwhile.

First Baptist Church is very active in our community. Under the leadership of myself and my wife, the First Lady Natavia Mahoney, we work together on many community projects. What do you consider your biggest success? Being pastor of First Baptist Church in Saugus, MA, and watching it reach the community in such a positive way. What attracted you to work with a credit union? Being able to help the community in a way that big banks cannot.

_______________________________ What do you consider the highlight of your career so far? The highlight of my career would be attending the Government Affairs Conference in 2016. For me, the Government Affairs Conference emphasized the importance of the credit union movement and advocacy. Being able to have the opportunity to speak to lawmakers and ask them to support credit union initiatives was truly a once in a lifetime experience.

The biggest difference between banks and credit unions is, banks are for-profit corporations, while credit unions and not-forprofit cooperatives, whose earnings are paid back to members in the form of higher saving rates and lower loan rates. This all helps the community and is in line with what is very important to me, the community.

Tell us about your community involvement. I grew up as an animal lover and have always been actively involved in the animal rescue movement, whether it is through volunteer work or the adoption of homeless animals. Currently, I have two dogs both of which were adopted through animal rescue organizations.

Leroy Mahoney

Now that you’ve been working in your credit union for several years, what do you like best about working in the credit union community? I like the community type feel that it possesses. I also like the fact that my CEO (Brian Ducharme) is very forward thinking and technology conscious.

What do you consider your biggest success?

_______________________________

I also appreciate the VP of IT (Lisa Mandel) who has raised my skill set to a level I never thought possible. The things I did not know in order to one day become a VP myself, Lisa has taught me unselfishly and she pro-

12 | CENTERPOINT | Summer 2018

TITLE: Information Technology & Security Manager CREDIT UNION: MIT Federal Credit Union CREDIT UNION LOCATION: Cambridge, MA


When I decided to work for a financial institution, I knew that I wanted to do more than just “go to work” every day. I wanted to work somewhere that was committed to improving the communities it served ...

—Nicole Legere

My recent promotion to AVP. I have been with Metro for over 20 years and by working with my manager on individual goals, I was able to obtain the title this year. What do you consider your biggest success? When Metro formed their new Project Management Office, I was asked to join the team due to my technical and retail skills and knowledge. Becoming one of the original members of this team has both allowed me to grow in my career and to help shape the strong department we have today. Our team has several areas of expertise and are able to use each other’s skills to make each project a success.

motes me reaching beyond my current job title. Lisa is a great mentor. They both understand and allow me to be able to have the flexibility to do what it takes to not only bring MIT Federal Credit Union to the highest technology standards, but leave time for me to work on my passion outside of the credit union, pastoring. Everyone that I work with are friendly and they do not hesitate to assist whenever needed in order to make our members experience the best it can be.

Jose Martinez

TITLE: AVP Project Manager CREDIT UNION: Metro Credit Union CREDIT UNION LOCATION: Chelsea, MA

_______________________________ What do you consider the highlight of your career so far?

What attracted you to work with a credit union? I joined the credit union right out of high school and have been with them ever since. Over time I have learned how much Metro Credit Union gives back to the community we serve and it’s great to be a part of that. Now that you’ve been working in your credit union for several years, what do you like best about working in the credit union community?

Summer 2018 | CENTERPOINT | 13


That it is a community. Each credit union will partner to offer advice and guidance on different initiatives. Everyone is willing to help others within the various institutions. Being on several client advisory groups and forums, I see this in action time and time again.

I consider my biggest success to be an approval on a particularly challenging loan. These members are ecstatic to finally have someone willing to work with them when they’ve heard “no” everywhere else.

—Allison Reding

for Humanity. This past year we built a sustainable farmscape complete with chocolate solar panels, an edible apiary, and an aquaponics system filled with Swedish Fish. Not only did we win our category but we also won for most money raised.

Allison Reding

TITLE: Consumer Lending Underwriter CREDIT UNION: UMassFive College Federal Credit Union CREDIT UNION LOCATION: Hadley, MA

_______________________________ What do you consider the highlight of your career so far? The highlight of my career so far has been joining the underwriting team at UMassFive. I love the work I do. My critical thinking and problem solving skills are challenged daily in finding the best solutions for our members. Every loan is different, so things are always interesting. The gratitude from members is a big positive as well. Tell us about your community involvement. Team UMassFive is a top fundraiser for the annual UMass Cancer Walk and Run. Last year we had a “Crafting for the Cure” boutique where I sold several terrariums in addition to raising money for the run itself. The credit union is abuzz with excitement every September as we work together to top last year’s donations. In the winter, Team UMassFive participates in a Ginger Bread Build to benefit Habitat

What do you consider your biggest success? I consider my biggest success to be an approval on a particularly challenging loan. These members are ecstatic to finally have someone willing to work with them when they’ve heard “no” everywhere else. They get a reliable car without a sky high interest rate. We earn a loyal member. It’s a win-win. Luckily, this is a common success at UMassFive. The Rising Star award is a pretty big success too! What attracted you to work with a credit union? I was originally referred to the credit union world by a friend who loved working with Great Lakes Credit Union in North Chicago. When I moved to New England, I worked with a local bank, but quickly found UMassFive and joined the company within a year. There’s something about the credit union atmosphere that banks just can’t beat! Now that you’ve been working in your credit union for several years, what do you like best about working in the credit union community? The best part about working in the credit union community is the sense of pride. I have been out shopping and had cashiers rave about UMassFive upon seeing my debit card, even thanking me for banking here - all without knowing I work here. We consistently win Best Credit Union in the Daily Hampshire Gazette’s Reader’s Choice Poll. People of the Pioneer Valley are proud to eat local, shop local, and bank local too.

Sarah L.E. Rooney

TITLE: Operations Officer CREDIT UNION: Franklin First Federal Credit Union CREDIT UNION LOCATION: Greenfield, MA

_______________________________ What do you consider the highlight of your career so far? A lot of great things have happened since I have been a part of my credit union family, but the highlight would definitely be my promotion to operations officer in 2017. It came as a complete surprise when they told me, it was something that I had been working toward achieving and to finally reach that goal, it was an incredible feeling. Tell us about your community involvement. I am a member of the 100 Who Care Franklin County which is a group of residents that get together and collectively make an impact on local nonprofits. It is one of more than 400 giving circles associated with the 100 Who Care Alliance.

My favorite attribute of being a part of the credit union industry is the people-helping-people philosophy; it’s something that I think more people even outside our industry should embrace.

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—Sarah L.E. Rooney


I also have been an active participant in the Relay for Life of Franklin County for many years, and help the credit union raise funds for our local Big Brothers Big Sisters of Franklin County. I also have donated my time to help with marketing materials for the Friends of the Franklin County Regional Dog Shelters’ Annual “Mutts in Need” benefit, and the Children’s Advocacy Center of Franklin County and North Quabbin area. What do you consider your biggest success? There are a lot of things that I think I would consider big successes over the past 11+ years since becoming a part of Franklin First. Some of those successes come in the form of personal development opportunities. I also consider the technological advancement projects that I have been a part of as successes as well, such as being a part of launching our Remote Deposit Capture, and Instant Issue Debit Card, as well as developing and launching our Member Due Diligence program. These successes have given me a sense of purpose and pointed me in the direction that I want to continue to move toward.

What attracted you to work with a credit union? I kind of just fell into it to be honest. I was fresh out of college and was wrapping up my summer job working with kids at a summer camp and the opportunity presented itself. I wasn’t sure that it would be more than just a job, but as the years progressed, I was able to grow and learn new things within the credit union and it became a career. It was a happy accident that I fell into this industry, and I’m looking forward to seeing where it takes me in the years to come. Now that you’ve been working in your credit union for several years, what do you like best about working in the credit union community? My favorite attribute of being a part of the credit union industry is the people-helpingpeople philosophy; it’s something that I think more people even outside our industry should embrace.

Tony Sanches

TITLE: Assistant Vice President of Operations CREDIT UNION: Arrha Credit Union CREDIT UNION LOCATION: Springfield and West Springfield, MA

_______________________________

Congratulations to our Rising Star

WILBIENLY JOSEPH and to all the 2018 Rising Star Recipients!

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know the community my credit union serves in greater detail and connect with so many influential people in the area.

The local communitybased credit union allows me to be me and treat our members as members. I have a direct impact on the communities served.

—Tony Sanches

What do you consider your biggest success? My biggest success is seeing the people that I work with grow. The most important part of my job is supporting others in reaching goals. At Bellwether Community Credit Union I work in retail, supporting the branch staff in reaching sales goals, furthering education, strengthening leadership skills, and improving processes to create efficiencies. The people that have grown into new leadership roles of their own and continue to pay the support forward are the best measurement of success.

What do you consider the highlight of your career so far? The highlight of my career so far has been utilizing the knowledge and experience I have to help my colleagues grow personally and professionally. Tell us about your community involvement. I am involved in a few community organizations. I am a member of the Rotary Club of Ludlow and served as president for 2 years. I am a corporator at the Ludlow Boys and Gils Club in Ludlow, MA. Affiliate member of the Realtor Association of Pioneer Valley, served as the Realtor Affiliate Committee Chair. Member of the Pioneer Valley Cooperative Credit Union Association, where I serve as chair of the social responsibility committee. What do you consider your biggest success? Assisting members meet their financials goals, from home ownership to financial independence. What attracted you to work with a credit union? I worked for a large savings bank where I was just a number and so was the client. The local community-based credit union allows me to be me and treat our members as members. I have a direct impact on the communities served. Now that you’ve been working in your credit union for several years, what do you like best about working in the credit union community? Arrha Credit Union’s mission statement is to assist our members in reaching their goals by providing superior products and services in a personalized manner. Arrha Credit Union’s mission statement is what I do every day, personally assist members in meeting their financial needs. Personal growth is very important to me and Arrha supports it.

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Kerri Sarette

TITLE: AVP, Retail Services CREDIT UNION: Bellwether Community Credit Union

CREDIT UNION LOCATION: Manchester, NH

_______________________________ What do you consider the highlight of your career so far? During my tenure with Bellwether Community Credit Union, I have demonstrated initiative in creating change and working with others in making improvements throughout the company. I have recently earned the promotion to AVP, Retail Services, a newly created position providing me with more opportunities to expand my role as a change leader at my credit union. Tell us about your community involvement. I have been an ambassador for the Greater Nashua Chamber of Commerce for three years and I was chosen to participate in Leadership Greater Nashua in 2016. These two experiences have really helped me to get to

The communal support that credit unions share with one another is amazing.

—Kerri Sarette

What attracted you to work with a credit union? I started my financial career working for a commercial bank with a strong focus on sales for profitable gain. The drive for profit forced that bank into a string of mergers and acquisitions. Over the course of the summer, I worked for three different bank names with a fourth on the horizon. When a local credit union was hiring and advertising their longevity in the community there was a unique level of appeal to learn about how this credit union was able to survive all the mergers. I was hired and continued to learn more about the credit union movement and about how that specific credit union had made a significant impact on the community. Now that you’ve been working in your credit union for several years, what do you like best about working in the credit union community? The communal support that credit unions share with one another is amazing. There are very few businesses that support their peers never mind consider helping a competing company or branch today. Credit unions truly strive to live up to the people helping people philosophy. There is a lot of positive power in the community of credit unions.


MONEY

Increasing Fee Income Without Raising Fees

O

by Sean Payant

ver the last 10 years the banking industry has seen a steady decline in fee income associated with checking accounts – community banks under $10B have seen a 32% decline and banks over $10B have seen a 45% decline in fee income when compared to a 2008 baseline. Many institutions are raising fees. Should you? One option: start adding minimum balances in order to get additional income from your current customers. Following the lead of big institutions, some community financial institutions have tried to make up fee income by instituting additional account fees with disappointing results. This is not isolated to the banking industry; other retailers and business have tried this approach. Case in point, several years ago, Starbucks ran a test where they required a minimum purchase in the drive-thru to encourage those wanting a $1.85 cup of coffee to come into the store. As you can imagine, the pilottest ended abruptly – less than a month later. What Starbucks really knows is when customers come into the store they will spend more; however, creating a minimum purchase requirement was not the solution, it upset customers and hurt their image in those markets. As community bankers, we need to look through the lens of the prospective consumers. One of the primary reasons people switch banking providers is to eliminate monthly checking account service charges. The majority of consumers still do not want to pay for a checking account. Price matters. In 2010 prior to the implementation of the Dodd-Frank changes related to retail debit cards and overdrafts services, an extremely profitable, midsize bank in the Northwest decided to implement a $9 per month service fee on checking accounts. Their fee income dropped dramatically and attrition went up substantially. In a public statement, the CEO ultimately stated the bank made a mistake; however, much of the damage was already done. If monthly service charges aren’t the answer, then what is?

Understand Capacity

Understanding capacity is one of the biggest challenges in the banking industry. Financial institutions have very high fixed costs and very low marginal costs. Each branch is an expensive “factory” that is running at 15%-40% capacity, 50% if you’re lucky. The typical community institution averages 1,000-1,200 core relationships per branch. The big banks average 3,000-5,000 per branch. If you have factories running at 30% capacity, your primary objective should be to fill the excess capacity by serving more consumers. Client data shows marginal expenses (core processor, account servicing, etc.) for the next core checking account are approximately $30-$50 per year; however, each new core checking account generates approximately $300-$500 in revenue each year. Excess capacity allows us to look at each new individual as a marginal investment who can spin off multiples in revenue. While not all customers and members drive the same level of fee income, it is important to create and grow primary financial institute (PFI) relationships. After analyzing millions of core banking relationships over many years – the data shows for 73% of accountholders the checking account is the foundation of the relationship, creating opportunities to provide additional products and services.

Understand Risk - Remove Ineffective Filters

Most financial institutions use some type of screening service during the account opening process. Banking professionals need to understand these services only report negative information, which is rarely updated. Client data consistently shows these systems are not doing what financial institutions think they are doing – reducing fraud. They are, in fact, reducing opportunities to grow fee income by turning away customers and members who value overdraft services. What other filters are you using? Do you require a spouse to be present to open a checking account? If your organization does, you need a better process for adding joint signers after account opening. Credit

scoring? Stop it. There is no viable reason to evaluate a credit score prior to opening a checking account. How many forms of ID do you require to establish a relationship? One government issued, unexpired ID should be sufficient as long as consumers can provide their Social Security number (not their Social Security card), physical address (does not need to match the address on the ID) and date of birth. Are you in compliance or well beyond? Think through why your bank is saying no today and develop strategies to say yes more frequently.

Review OD/NSF Services Policies

Provide everyone with up to $100 of overdraft credit at account opening. People who value this service will not wait 30- or 60-days to utilize it. Be there when your new customer or member needs you. We analyzed the subsection of new accounts that had an overdraft in the first 30 days. We found over a seven-month period banks were seeing a 51% closure of accounts where the bank required a 30-day waiting period. We then looked at banks that paid overdrafts early within the first 30 days. There was only a 36% attrition rate, meaning 64% of the new customers were still active and 79% of them continued to utilize overdraft services. Banking is a business of high fixed costs with low marginal costs for the next core customer or member and high additional revenues. Nearly every financial institution has tremendous capacity. In addition, client data continues to show more accounts equals more profitability and opportunity. The focus should be on growing core relationships and making sound decisions in the process. ____________________________________ Sean C. Payant, Ph.D., is Chief Consulting Officer at Haberfeld Holdings, a datadriven consulting firm specializing in core relationships and profitability growth for community-based financial institutions. Sean can be reached at Sean@haberfeld.com.

Summer 2018 | CENTERPOINT | 17


EVENTS

WORCESTER, MA

Credit union professionals from all over New England gathered May 8 in Worcester to learn what’s new in the industry.

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Summer 2018 | CENTERPOINT | 19


MARKETING

Busting The Credit Union Myths As National Awareness Campaign Launches, Maine Credit Union League Offers A Local Model

E

by Anna Sims

SPECIAL TO CENTERPOINT

arlier this spring members of CUNA’s National Brand Awareness initiative steering committee announced its new national branding campaign, “Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union.” Still in the very early phase of release, the campaign was informed by two years of research and testing that revealed two major misconceptions the public holds about the credit union industry: First, that many people do not believe they are eligible to join a credit union, and second, that while the public does understand that credit unions are local institutions, they perceive this to mean that credit unions offer limited technology, which can make it harder to access your money. Although the Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union campaign hopes to offer cohesive messaging for the entire industry, CUNA has made clear that it does not want this initiative to usurp the more individualized awareness efforts of credit unions. Indeed, such initiatives are currently underway at many local levels around New England, including the Maine Credit Union League’s Own It awareness initiative, which was first launched in the third quarter of 2016 and is currently gearing up for its next phase.

REACHING OUT

Generally speaking, the Maine credit union industry is in good shape, able to claim nearly 700,000 Mainers as members, or about half of the state’s population, said Todd Mason, president and CEO of the Maine Credit Union League. But if you ask him or others to name the biggest challenges facing the state’s industry, you’ll hear some familiar responses: “There are misconceptions around membership and who has the ability to join a credit union,” Mason said. “People think credit unions are maybe not as tech savvy as banks,” said Richard Lachance, president and CEO of Connected Credit Union. “People think that they can’t belong or that [credit unions] don’t offer the same services [as banks],” said Cheryl Lancaster, executive vice president of

20 | CENTERPOINT | Summer 2018

member services at the Maine Credit Union League. So how are credit unions in the Pine Tree State fighting these nationally prevalent myths on a local level? The Maine Credit Union League is addressing the confusion over who can join a credit union with the campaign name, said David Desjardins, president and CEO of Acadia Federal Credit Union and current chair of the Maine Credit Union League’s Statewide Awareness Committee. While there is research that shows the public likes the idea of being members – and thus partial owners – of a credit union, there are also studies that point to issues with promoting this idea by using the actual word “member,” explained Desjardins. “People hear it and think they have to do something to become a member,” he said. Lachance agreed: “Membership can be viewed as something exclusive, and I don’t think that we want to project that,” he said. With the name Own It, the campaign is able to emphasis the ownership aspect of joining a credit union while avoiding the negative association with the word membership.

ADVERTISE IT RIGHT

The Own It campaign’s advertisements, which Mainers can see and hear everywhere from television to radio to mobile devices, strive to address the myth that credit unions are more inconvenient and do not offer many of the same services as larger financial institutions. The ad spots highlight the shared branching options available to members, said Lancaster, as well as emphasizing the local, community-serving aspect of the industry. Television spots also have featured people building home additions and receiving car loans thanks to their credit unions, driving home the point that these intuitions offer members a diverse array of services. In 2017, the Own It campaign ran almost 22,000 television spots, according to Lancaster. “In theory, everyone in the public was seeing our ads about 40 times,” she said. The campaign has also focused heavily on digital ads, said Desjardins. “We’re starting to see some of the numbers come in [on the digital


Jim Nussle/President and CEO of the Credit Union National Association. PHOTO BY James Kegley and CUNA advertising], and it looks like it’s really paying off,” Desjardins said. “We’ve done the marketing research and see that the shorter messages [like those before YouTube videos] are resonating more with customers than the traditional 30-second ads,” he said. Placing ads on YouTube is also a seemingly smart way to attract the attention of young people. This demographic is not the primary focus of the Own It campaign, but it is one that the Maine Credit Union League and its individuals credit unions have catered to in other ways, such as through its Free4Me accounts. These accounts, available to credit union members ages 18 to 25, come with a variety of benefits, including no monthly fees or minimum balance requirements. Members also get a perk just for signing up, which can be an Amazon gift card or money deposited in their new account, said Jake Holmes, financial literary outreach coordinator at the

Maine Credit Union League. Though he declined to name specifics, Holmes also stated that the league is currently developing other offerings for young people to be released in the future.

THE NEXT PHASE

As the Own It campaign prepares to enter a new phase, Mason said its focus will shift to a slightly heavier focus on existing credit union members, as opposed to recruiting new members. “We’re not walking away from recruiting new members,” he explained, “but our observation is that, despite the fact that credit unions are growing in terms of members and loans and all of those things, market share has been pretty static right in the 7 percent range, give or take, against banks. So, we think focusing even more heavily on how to increase market share is the way to go.” To achieve this, the league has just complet-

ed research examining how customers make decisions getting services like a mortgage or auto loan, Mason said. Increasing the national credit union market share is also a goal of CUNA’s Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union campaign, cementing the idea that a national campaign can benefit all states, even those with an existing, local plan to increase institutional awareness. “The ‘Open Your Eyes’ initiative is very much in line with what the league has been engaged in for years. It’s creating awareness,” said Chris McGorrill, director of marketing at Atlantic Federal Credit Union. “Awareness is the biggest thing. … [If] I don’t have to explain what a credit union is, I can focus on promoting the Atlantic brand.” Lancaster agreed. “Every time [the public] hears about credit unions, it’s a positive thing … It puts the idea in your mind and you think, ‘Maybe I should check out a credit union.’”

Summer 2018 | CENTERPOINT | 21


AWARDS

The Banking Choice Mass. Credit Union event was held May 6 in Worcester and honored many local professionals.

T

he awards were based upon the Massachusetts Banking BenchmarkÂŽ, a biannual syndicated member/customer experience program that includes approximately 100,000 reviews and covers every credit union and bank in every town in the State. Awards were presented in four categories: Customer Service, Tools & Technology,

22 | CENTERPOINT | Summer 2018

Community Contribution, and Overall Quality and in 5 geographic areas: Western Mass, Central Mass, Greater Boston, North Shore and South Shore. The rankings combined ratings from both retail and commercial customers/members of each institution. Individual institution results can be obtained by contacting info@cescx.com.


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As National Awareness Cam Maine Credit paign Launch Union League es, Offers A Loc al Model by Anna Sims

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Summer 2018 | CENTERPOINT | 23


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CenterPoint 2Q 2018 Summer  

In this issue, we recognize the Rising Stars of credit unions, examine how Amazon is pushing into the financial industry and bust some commo...

CenterPoint 2Q 2018 Summer  

In this issue, we recognize the Rising Stars of credit unions, examine how Amazon is pushing into the financial industry and bust some commo...