Getting Back to Great

Focus on leadership competencies to conquer top industry challenges

by Theresa Witham

Much of the theme of the MD/DC Credit Union Association’s Leadership Forum, held April 11-12 in Annapolis, Md., was that 2012 was a good year for credit unions and the economy, with lots of improvement in several areas—but we’re not back to great yet.

Seven speakers presented at the forum, including CUES President/CEO Chuck Fagan.

2012 was a very solid year for credit unions, he said.

Overall, the industry saw an 8.5 percent gain in vehicle loans, a 1.7 percent gain in first mortgages, a 6.5 percent gain in member business loans and a 4.5 percent gain in credit card balances. In addition, credit union capital grew by 8.7 percent.

However, challenges remain and credit unions need to be prepared for them.

“If we don’t constantly manage change, the competition will pass us by,” Fagan said. “We need to change to the ever new needs of the consumer.”

Fagan identified four main challenges facing credit unions.


The number of CUs has declined steadily from more than 8,000 to just over 7,000 in 2012. Citing projections from The Financial Brand, Fagan said that by 2032 there could be fewer than 4,000 credit unions. Hopefully, those remaining credit unions will be in a better position, but it will take strong management to control that, he said.

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