Need a problem solved? Turn to your ‘Community’

Whether it’s compliance with the Military Lending Act, updating the terms to your checking products, or troubleshooting issues with your core system, chances are someone across the country is grappling with the same problem facing your credit union right now.

In part, this is why we come to events such as the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference: to share knowledge, to network, and to relay or glean best practices about credit union operations while together in one space.

We all know first-hand the great value of learning from the practical experiences of peers—credit union professionals from similar institutions—who have already dealt with the same issues you need to resolve yourself.

The problem is, of course, these issues don’t always wait for the GAC to roll around. To ensure that you continue to provide unparalleled service to your members, you need good information right now.  

This is where CUNA Communities come in.

About 18 months ago, CUNA launched a range of online Communities that allow credit union professionals with a common interest—whether it be compliance or Councils membership—to come together to network and tackle problems collectively. Community subject areas include Compliance, CPD Online, Creating Member Loyalty and CUNA Councils.

Each of the seven CUNA Councils has their own members-only community: one for CEOs, and others for executives in Lending, Marketing & Business Development, Finance, HR & Organizational Development, Technology and Operations, Sales & Service.

Once enrolled, users have the ability to ask questions of peers, share ideas, and discover resources in true collaborative fashion, and all without leaving the comfort of their credit unions.

In my experience as chair of CUNA Councils, I continually hear positive things about the value of this platform. And based on usage statistics I’ve seen, it appears the industry is buying in as well.  

More than 10,000 people have signed up for the Communities. Between the Compliance and Councils Communities alone, roughly 500 people access the site on a daily basis, viewing nearly 6,300 pages per week.

That means every day, credit union leaders are networking, trading information and knowledge, and as a result bolstering their respective institutions through these sites.

Here’s a real-life example. I encountered someone on the site who had asked how other credit unions had approached offering remote deposit capture services, including how to set per-item limits and whether to charge fees. Within hours she had received a host of responses with details on personal experiences and even draft conditions and disclosure agreements to guide her as she built out the product. This is credit union collaboration in its purest form and only a small example of the power of this resource.

And now that power extends to small credit unions.

With the new Small Credit Union Community launched during the GAC, credit union professionals from like-sized institutions can share information and knowledge about problems specific to their operations.

For this passionate group with little time and resources to spare, having a place to easily connect with peers and access relevant information is vital.

In addition to a message board on which users can share ideas and ask questions of one another, the Small Credit Union Community also houses a library of digestible and accessible resources created specifically for small credit unions.

The resources include a streamlined strategic planning guide called “Five to Thrive;” easy to follow steps to strengthen security at your credit union; and a no-cost peer profile report that allows credit unions to compare their operations with similarly sized financial institutions.

Every day credit unions are looking for information to improve their service to members. In my opinion, CUNA Communities are an excellent place to start.

Whether you are seeking help with an immediate operational issue  or want to share a bit of hard-won knowledge and experience for the betterment of the industry, you have a place in these are important discussions.

Jason M. Osterhage

Jason M. Osterhage

Jason M. Osterhage is the chief lending executive at Alliant Credit Union ($9.6 billion) headquartered in Chicago. In that role he oversees all of Alliant's credit businesses, including consumer, ... Web: Details