Posted by Vicky Salkeld, Vice President of Sales, Credit Union Resources, Inc on 4/24/2015

“That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.” – Friedrich Nietzsche, German philosopher

This week I had the privilege of attending the Green Country Chapter Meeting in Tulsa, OK. Amy Downs from Allegiance Credit Union in Oklahoma City was the guest speaker. She was working for the credit union (then known as the Federal Employees Credit Union) in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building on April 19, 1995. We all know what happened that day and have seen much of it replayed on the news this week, the 20th anniversary of this devastating event.

It started out to be a normal day at work at the credit union, but then life changed forever. Amy recalled the blast and how she initially thought she had been shot in the back of the head. She realized she had fallen three floors down when the building collapsed below her and was buried under a huge pile of debris. She stayed there for six and a half hours until rescue workers were able to free her. I can only imagine how slowly the time must have passed as she laid there injured, not knowing for sure if she would make it out alive. It would be some time before she realized exactly what had happened and that eighteen of her thirty-three coworkers and many of the credit union’s members were killed and many more were injured.

During her time in the rubble and in the following days, Amy made decisions that would change her life forever and she is a better person today because of her experience. She talked of recognizing the areas she had fallen short and vowing that, if she made it out alive, she would never be the same.

Amy talked about that day from a disaster recovery standpoint. A bomb destroying the credit union and taking the lives of half of the employees wasn’t something the management team and volunteers could have prepared for. But, once it happened, things swung into action. Nearby credit unions and credit unions around the country offered assistance. Because of the selfless actions of others, they were back in business and able to help their members; many of whose lives or family members’ lives were lost or devastated.

Amy’s inspiring story serves as a reminder for all of us.  With the right attitude, positive results can come out of the most horrible situations.  The choice is ours. Nietzsche was right. That which does not kill us, makes us stronger.

Thanks for sharing your story, Amy. I will be a better person because of it.

 

Categories: Education & Training, Human Resources
Posted by Mr. Richard Grady, VP Research, Cornerstone Credit Union League on 4/22/2015

Eighty years ago, shortly after the Great Depression, T.S. Eliot penned in his poem “Choruses from The Rock” these words:

“Where is the Life we have lost in living?

“Where is the wisdom we have lost in knowledge?

“Where is the knowledge we have lost in information?”

To these lines I would add the question “Where is the information we have lost in data?”

Recently I read a series of articles in a trade publication on core processing. I realized, after having spent over two decades in EDS and other technology companies, and now having spent nearly a decade and one-half outside of technology companies, that we are no further along the path of understanding how to gain wisdom out of these systems than we were in the early 1980’s. We still struggle with data and are now being asked to swallow bigger chunks of it.

The principle known as DIKW (for Data, Information, Knowledge, Wisdom) is typically graphed as a pyramid. However, my leaning is to graph it as a flowchart because of the suppressive nature the pyramid image gives me. That is, it forces the vision that one cannot achieve the next level until the first level is built. (d = data, i = information, k = knowledge, u = understanding, w = wisdom, t = tacit knowledge, and e = explicit knowledge.)

But that is not the case. The best practice is to gather what one has and act upon it, testing the results and then improving on the discoveries.

In a presentation I give often, which I loving call the “Bullet-Hole Presentation,” I impart on the audience the theory that all too often we are looking at where the bullet holes are, rather than where they are not.

We look at our membership base and make assumptions that to grow we need to gain more members. Yet we forget that numerous research pieces point to findings showing credit unions only have a 45 percent share of the collective members’ wallet. A greater share is lost to the competition.

We struggle with core processing systems and design mobile applications around teller functions. Yet we fail to realize user experience and perspective drives mobile application design.

We worry about bringing in too many deposits and the dilutive factor to our ratios. Yet we may not realize research papers indicate boomers will move large chunks of deposits into wealth management firms and financial institutions could lose large amounts of deposits overnight.

I say, move forward. Try new things. Push the limit. Read the data but do not expect to have all the answers before moving into trying and understanding. Part of the glory of failure is of knowing what not to do.

As T.S. Eliot would write near the poem's conclusion:

Out of the meaningless practical shapes of all that is living or lifeless

Joined with the artist's eye, new life, new form, new colour.

And, if all of this new creation is confusing, give me a call. We can help.

Categories: Research, Strategic Planning & Consulting
Posted by Ms. Cheryl Ehmann, AVP Staff Analyst, Credit Union Resources, Inc on 4/17/2015

When do I have to have my annual audit?

The answer is – it depends! 

Every credit union is required to have an annual review of their books and records.  Because the word “audit” is a technical term with a specific meaning for CPAs – that is, it is only used if an opinion is issued – in this article we will use the term Supervisory Committee Annual Review for what most people consider to be an audit.  Only credit unions with assets equal to or greater than $500 million must have a certified or opinion audit; therefore, the term Supervisory Committee Annual Review will most likely apply to most people reading this blog.

Part 715.5 of the NCUA Rules and Regulations states that a federally insured credit union must obtain an annual Supervisory Committee audit as prescribed in Part 715.7 of the Rules and Regulations.  (This section of the regulations details the three types of audits that are acceptable.)  The key word is annual.  This means once a year.  The regulation does not state every 12 months.  We interpret this to mean that if a credit union has a review performed in 2014 and again in 2015 they would be in compliance with the regulations because a review was performed annually even if they were not performed with the same month-end. 

Arkansas does not have a specific state requirement separate from NCUA requirements; however, the Oklahoma Banking Department and the Texas Credit Union Department do.  Title 6, Chapter 2, Section 2010.D.2 of the Oklahoma Statutes and Title 7, Part 6, Section 91.516 of the Texas Administrative Code also require an annual review to be performed.  Again, only the word “annual” is used – a number of months is not specified.

Management of most credit unions prefer to keep a consistent review period; for instance, if the effective date of the review was March 31 last year they would like an effective date of March 31 this year as well; however, this is not required by the regulation.  Management may also prefer a year-end cutoff because their credit union operates on a calendar year for a fiscal year; however, this is also not required.  December 31 is the most requested review date, and it is just physically impossible to complete all reviews as of December 31.  Sometimes audit firms will offer a discount to clients willing to take a review date in their slowest time of year – normally around July or August.

With this being said, if you are planning to extend your review date this year, it would be a good idea to be proactive and contact your examiner first to ensure they will not have an issue with the prospective review date.  In most cases, as long as all months are covered in the review and there are no gaps, they will not have a problem with it, especially if the review period is 18 months or less.

Categories: Financial & Auditing
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