Credit Union Mecca
Posted by Jon Knoll, Unknown, Unknown on 6/23/2017

Just over 20 years ago I attended new employee training and orientation for CUNA Mutual Group.  During my two weeks of training, weekends included, we learned about CUNA Mutual Group, CUNA, World Council of Credit Unions, and Filene Research Institute.   It truly was Credit Union Mecca, and a heckuva experience for a small town kid who had just graduated from college.  We learned about laser printing of documents and open end lending and how it was going to revolutionize credit union’s delivery of consumer loans.  We learned about Windows based software applications that were going to help credit unions streamline their lending process and increase participation in credit life and credit disability to help them increase non-interest income.  We left Mecca pumped up and ready to serve our credit unions and bring them new technology that would enable them to grow and exceed their wildest goals.  It’s amazing how quickly this time has gone by.  So on June 7th, 2017, I celebrated 20 years of serving credit unions with a Tomahawk Ribeye Steak.

Coincidentally, also on June 7th, I spent seven hours in a car, visited credit unions in Oklahoma City, made it home in time for dinner, ate half of the Ribeye, drank a glass or two of wine, and called it a day.  Whew!  20 Years, where has the time gone?!?!  Although I had always wanted to make a big deal of this day, it was a pretty typical day for me.

Coincidentally, the following week, I spent 3 days in Madison, WI.  I was invited to attend Credit Union Exchange with Chris Eckart from CUNA Mutual Group, and two CEOs that we both work with in Oklahoma.  Credit Union Exchange is hosted by CUNA Mutual Group, and we spent a couple of days exchanging ideas, challenges, and opportunities.  All eerily coincidental, since my first actual paying credit union job was painting parking lot stripes for a credit union in Bartlesville, OK.  Our goal for this trip, to learn about CUNA Mutual Group’s strategies, the credit union’s strategies, investments in new technology, and how credit unions are transforming their business to better serve their membership.

The CUNA Mutual team did an excellent job in hosting the visit, engaging the credit unions on what was important to them, what their challenges are, what keeps CEOs up at night, and drilling down into specific strategies the credit unions were implementing. 

We also spent time learning about big data, CUNA Mutual’s work in data analytics, improving their insurance products experience, from purchasing insurance through the claims process and payout.  They have made amazing progress in making it easier for credit unions and credit union members to purchase, file claims if necessary, and pay claims.  We also learned about new products they are bringing to market, and how they are engaging their credit unions in rolling out new products.  If this isn’t enough, we also learned about their investment strategies into FinTech organizations that can help credit unions versus competing with Fintech companies.  Springboard Auto is a good example of one of those fintech investments, learn more about this program by clicking on the link,

And that was just day one!  On day two, we spent time with the Filene Research Institute learning about what they are doing to support the credit union industry.  To wrap up day two, we spent time at the Madison airport debriefing over fried cheese curds, Wisconsin bratwursts, which was amazingly very good for airport food.

Ahhh Credit Union Mecca, it was great to be back in Madison, Wisconsin.  Life can be eerily coincidental, and also amazing at the same time.  After serving credit unions for a Score, the trip home to Credit Union Mecca was perfect timing.  Bring on the next 20 years!

As I write this blog, I look up at a picture of Alphonse Desjardins on a wall at the Cornerstone Credit Union League Office, I am in our Desjardins meeting room.  I am truly humbled by the credit unions we serve.

“A credit union is not an ordinary financial concern seeking to enrich its members at the expense of the general public.  Neither is it a loan company seeking to make a profit at the expense of the unfortunates…The credit union is nothing of the kind:  it is the expression in the field of economics of a high social ideal…”

                            Alphonse Desjardins (1854-1920)

Categories: Business Partners, Remote Transaction, Sales & Service, Strategic Planning & Consulting, Technology Consulting & Compliance
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