Credit unions set 2023 testing agenda for The Lab at Filene

During a San Francisco symposium, five ideas selected for further exploration among The Lab’s sponsors

MADISON, WI (August 24, 2022) — The Lab at Filene takes the next step in innovation by testing new products and ideas to help credit unions grow and make a positive impact on their members and communities.

The Lab at Filene Sponsor Community.pngAt the first ever Lab Symposium held this month in Visa’s San Francisco innovation center, credit union sponsors and stakeholders convened to set Filene’s 2023 testing agenda, share perspectives on emerging innovation opportunities and establish connections among the group of innovation-minded organizations.

“Being a founding sponsor of The Lab at Filene provides ELGA Credit Union an opportunity to work with other forward-thinking credit unions. Together we can support and shape future solutions that have the potential to improve the financial well-being of our membership,” said Terry Katzur, CEO/President of ELGA Credit Union. “We are honored to be part of such an innovative group of credit unions and partners and look forward to working with them.”

Sponsors of The Lab voted on which ideas they wanted to pursue further testing on from a menu of options identified through Filene’s ecosystem of academic talent, communities and strategic partners. Five ideas rose to the top as having high potential to fuel growth and maximize member and community impact while addressing key yet-unanswered questions:

  • Financial Wellness as Engagement Strategy

How can credit unions expand member relationships by providing tailormade plans to improve their financial well-being?

  • Re-thinking Physical Space
    With digital transformation of financial services, how can credit unions leverage physical space to create value for members and communities?
  • Subscription-based Pricing Model
    Could a subscription model for banking products and value-added services increase engagement with existing and prospective credit union members?
  • Virtual Credit/Debit Cards
    Can virtual credit/debit cards help reduce fraud and create a “sticky” member service?
  • Digital Engagement for Indirect Lending
    How can credit unions best relay what they can offer to indirect members and successfully expand their relationships?

“We’re thrilled to reach this milestone and excited to work on these tests. We also look forward to continuing our work with The Lab sponsor community,” said Filene’s Senior Director of Incubation, Josh Sledge. “We have some fantastic leaders, innovators, and supporters in the mix.”

The Lab at Filene’s founding sponsors include:

Bank Fund Staff Federal Credit Union
Chartway Credit Union
Community Financial Credit Union
Elements Financial
ELGA Credit Union
Farmers Insurance Federal Credit Union
Financial Plus Credit Union
Logix Federal Credit Union
Michigan State University Federal Credit Union
Royal Credit Union
Unitus Community Credit Union
University Credit Union
Visions Federal Credit Union
Verity Credit Union

“Filene is an incredible partner in helping us gain knowledge, insight and innovative direction through the research and testing they do on behalf of credit unions,” said Tonita Webb, CEO of Verity Credit Union. “This type of work sets credit unions up for success, pairing resources (that none of us have time to build out individually) with actionable results that enable us to better serve our members. We’re excited to utilize The Lab on ‘rethinking physical space’ to look at our own branches and implement updates that address the needs and concerns of every member in our community.”

The Lab at Filene, April Clobes, MSUFCU.pngNext steps for The Lab at Filene entail creating detailed plans for each of the five test concepts and assessing which Lab Sponsor organization will test which concepts. From there, The Lab will conduct tests and produce actionable insights for credit unions to adopt proven solutions and expand their capacity for innovation.

“Visions Federal Credit Union is excited to be a sponsor of The Lab at Filene because we are passionate about the betterment of all credit unions,” said Chad Williams, Director of Enterprise Project Management, Visions Federal Credit Union. “Having a central hub for ideas to be tested and vetted will help all credit unions support members. In the end, that is what we are all here for, the members we support and serve.”

Each test identified through The Lab’s first round of testing opportunities provided a solution within one of four categories: new and expanding relationships, new ways to open credit access, remixing the value proposition, or competing for share of wallet.

“Royal Credit Union appreciates the opportunity to work in partnership with Filene and other leaders in the credit union movement to advance The Lab’s 2023 agenda and positively impact the financial well-being of our Members,” said Colin Boone, Vice President-Digital Experience at Royal Credit Union. “I am inspired by the opportunity to collaborate with this amazing group of credit unions and stakeholders. The initial meetings of The Lab group left me feeling energized and excited about the tremendous results that will be produced for our Members.”

Credit union and system partners can still get involved in The Lab at Filene by becoming a sponsor. Visit to learn more, or email Josh Sledge at

About Filene Research Institute

Filene Research Institute strengthens organizations through innovative research and incubation to improve consumer financial well-being. As an independent cooperative finance think tank, Filene’s membership network connects a community of leaders and bright minds to change lives through innovation, truth and cooperation. In addition to delivering cutting-edge, actionable academic research, Filene also provides incubators to test and scale solutions, events to spark organizations into action and advisory services to help accelerate and implement innovation. For more information, visit and @fileneresearch.


Holly Fearing

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