Filene announces Think Tank to guide research and incubation resources for credit unions

Nearly 40 CEOs and leaders will collaborate as Filene’s voice of the market

MADISON, WI (May 28, 2020) — Filene Research Institute launched its Think Tank in May, comprised of influential CEOs and senior executives selected for their cross functional expertise to drive the credit union industry’s research and incubation agenda. Representing nearly 40 credit unions and credit union system organizations, the Think Tank serves as one arm of Filene’s Research and Incubation Advisory Council alongside the prestigious Inner Circle, made up of the organization’s closest strategic partners.

The Research and Incubation Advisory Council directly shapes how Filene addresses the most pressing issues facing credit unions through its Centers of Excellence and Incubators by deepening Filene’s relationship with and understanding of the needs and challenges of credit unions, partner organizations, and consumers.

“The Think Tank serves as the voice of credit unions and the credit union system with the objective of driving Filene’s innovative research and incubation for the industry while growing and strengthening credit unions’ capacity to improve consumers’ financial lives,” said Filene’s EVP + Chief Research and Development Officer George Hofheimer. “It is crucial that credit unions stay connected to members’ evolving financial situations and the disparate impacts this pandemic and economic crisis are having on different populations—the Think Tank offers credit union leaders an opportunity for information-sharing, consensus-building, and open-ended creative conversation.”

Credit union leaders in the Think Tank form a network for building connections with peers, influential researchers and top-of-field academics inside and outside the credit union industry—while growing and strengthening their organizations and the credit union system by activating lessons and learnings from research and incubation activities.

“Now more than ever, the credit union industry needs to drive member-centric innovation. Members are demanding new ways to be served, and our present environment is as well. Filene’s Think Tank is an opportunity to work alongside forward-thinking peers to develop and design new ways of serving real-time member needs while ensuring credit unions remain not only relevant, but become a consumer first-choice,” said Think Tank member Christine Cordell, SVP of Organizational Effectiveness at Hiway Federal Credit Union. “As a recent graduate of Filene’s i3 program, I have more to give to our members by leveraging the collective knowledge brought together through the Think Tank network.”

The inaugural gathering of Filene’s Think Tank included a virtual conversation with Filene Fellow for the Center for Consumer Financial Lives in TransitionDr. Lisa Servon, and reviewed the planned work of the Center. Think Tank members shared how themes within this research area are relevant for their credit unions and their members’ lives, as well as how the COVID-19 crisis has impacted consumers’ expectations of financial services and how that will impact their business models now and into the future. Key insights gathered included how to understand and track members’ evolving financial situations, how to address disparate impacts on different populations, and how to return a focus on business sustainability into the future as revenue opportunities tighten. These insights will shape the work Filene produces.

The Think Tank network will continue to guide, activate, connect, and champion Filene’s research and incubation agenda and activities to enhance impact and support growth through monthly discussions with Filene’s research fellows. In June, the Think Tank will speak with Filene Fellow Dr. Quinetta Roberson of the Center for Diversity, Equity and Inclusion, and in July, the Think Tank will connect with Filene Fellow Dr. Bill Maurer with the Center for Emerging Technology.

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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