CU*Answers hosts Leadership Conference and Owners Meeting

GRAND RAPIDS, MI (June 28, 2016) — CU*Answers, a 100% credit union-owned CUSO, held their 2016 Annual Leadership Conference and Stockholders Meeting on June 22nd at the J.W. Marriott Hotel in Grand Rapids, Michigan. The event brought together credit union leadership from across the country for a briefing on the organization’s overall direction and major projects for the coming year.

This year’s conference theme was “Online Retailing 2.0: Redefining Everything Credit Union.” Staff wore t-shirts proclaiming, “Burn It Down and Start Over: Revolution for Evolution.” CU*Answers CEO Randy Karnes challenged credit unions to challenge the status quo and to burn down any barriers that get in the away of pushing forward toward the future that credit unions must build for their members and the industry.

“If you think about what it takes for cooperative pioneers to trust themselves and their peers to start a credit union, you can appreciate that it takes the energy of a revolutionist,” said Karnes. “But how you see yourself might be holding you hostage and limiting how the world sees your future. To be a revolutionist, you risk being called rebellious, a pessimist or even an obstructionist. But it’s crazy to shy away from the risk of being cast in a negative light, when that might be the only way to succeed.”

Karnes suggested that the political theatre of the current U.S. presidential election might reflect a mood that could also translate to a revolution in the credit union industry. “Are we all ready to challenge the status quo? If it works for presidential candidates, why wouldn’t it work for credit union leaders trying to adapt our system to the future?”

Referring to an article he recently published as part of the Underground Community, a national group of CU industry thought leaders, Karnes said, “People in our industry wonder if they can ever cast off the heavy mantle of the credit union doctrine and start over, returning to something that reminds them why they chose not-for-profit financial services as a tactic in the first place.” Karnes continued, “but I believe the cooperative business model will outlive the current credit union doctrine. Collectively, we are ready to challenge the status quo, to find solutions that fit that future, to let no idea go un-vetted.”

The day-long conference was attended by 174 leaders from 107 credit unions, along with 40 vendor representatives and 49 internal staff. This year’s conference presented several CU*Answers- and client-produced videos that explored new ways to present an online retailer persona to credit union members. And this year Karnes was joined on stage by several of CU*Answers’ key leaders in the areas of software development and network infrastructure, who answered questions about the CUSO’s plans for the coming year.

At a separate session, CU*Answers Stockholders met for the annual board member election and to hear a recap of the CUSO’s financial position and projections for the fiscal year. Fifty of the credit union’s 129 owners attended the evening Stockholders Meeting, with many more sending their vote electronically or by proxy.

About CU*Answers

CU*Answers offers expertise in implementing technical solutions to operational needs, and is a leader in helping credit unions form strategic alliances and partnerships. CU*Answers provides a wide variety of services for credit unions including its flagship CU*BASE® processing system (online and in-house) and Internet development services featuring It’s Me 247 online and mobile banking. Additional services include web development, network design and security, and image check processing. Founded in 1970, CU*Answers is a 100% credit union-owned cooperative CUSO providing services to credit unions representing over 2 million members and $21.5 billion in credit union assets. For more information, visit


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