Parting Words to an Industry that’s Been Good to Me
Posted by Kathy L Garner, CUDE, Unknown, Unknown on 2/28/2019

Credit unions, and more specifically, corporate credit unions, have been my life for almost 40 years. I have truly been blessed with a great career. Just days away from retirement on March 4, I want to share a few parting thoughts on the industry I love.

To no one’s surprise, interacting with credit union people is what I will miss most. I have worked alongside wonderful individuals and outstanding volunteers. A highlight of my career was working with boards that trusted me enough to allow me to implement our shared vision. That requires surrounding yourself with great people. I will miss these connections and the stimulus they provided. Knowing I may never see some of these people again, saying goodbye is hard.

Opportunities, with a little luck

So much of my journey has been about timing. When opportunities come to you, you have to grab them, but luck has played a part, as well. Early in my career – at age 25 – I worked for U.S. Central Credit Union. I helped manage their investment portfolio and manage professional executives; it’s where I learned responsibility. I doubt that would happen today. The lesson for women, especially, is to lean into opportunities – and take some risk – but opportunities will also come to you.

Five years down the road, I think credit unions will continue to thrive, but it will be a challenging market going forward. Cybersecurity, and technology in general, will remain a challenge. Credit unions have to try to stay ahead of threats and manage them.

The overall number of credit unions will continue to shrink. Those that remain probably will be larger and more complex. They will need additional services to compete with fintechs, and while they may have the tools and resources to do that, they currently face many federal regulations.

I hope compliance doesn’t eliminate the small institutions. There is no cookie-cutter compliance, but organizations like Catalyst Corporate may be able to adapt their systems to help member credit unions meet compliance regulations. Catalyst Corporate will continue to be a strong partner to credit unions, helping them in many aspects of their business.

Catalyst Corporate has come a long way since 2011. Over the last seven years, the organization has surpassed even its own goals for number of members, income, growth and more. Culture is key – we have great people with good systems, focused on doing the right thing: delivering quality services to our members.

Facing challenges, building on the vision together

Catalyst Corporate’s goal is to be efficient, innovative and remain relevant to members. Although our product set and service delivery may look different in the future, Catalyst Corporate will continue innovating. For example, robotic process automation and blockchain may become commonplace. However, our greatest strength is our ability to execute. Strategy and vision are important, but execution is key to moving services to market quickly. Catalyst Corporate is good at executing by removing barriers and staying disciplined to complete a task.

As far as the organization I leave behind, there is no doubt that Bruce Fox will continue to build upon the strategic vision that’s already in place for Catalyst Corporate. The management and staff at Catalyst Corporate are so strong, they can accomplish anything they tackle.

People ask what I will do when I retire. The answer is travel, spend more time with family and friends, play more golf, work out whenever I want and maybe teach a college class or two. With more flexibility in my schedule, I can enjoy the journey as much as the destination.

I want to thank each and every one of you for the job you do and for touching my life.

Categories: Business Partners, Financial & Auditing, Technology Consulting & Compliance
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