Student Choice’s third annual Empower U conference highlights emerging opportunities in education finance

WASHINGTON, DC (October 23, 2017)Credit Union Student Choice, the foremost provider of higher education financing solutions to America’s credit unions, recently hosted its third annual Empower U Summit on Sept. 27 & 28 at the InterContinental Hotel in Chicago, IL. As the only event in the credit union space focused on the increasingly important education finance marketplace, Empower U 2017 featured engaging presentations on a variety of key topics, ranging from analyzing loan performance to economic trends to unmasking student loan debt myths. The conference has grown each year, with more than 80 credit union representatives joining Student Choice staff in Chicago to hear from a robust line-up of experts and network with peers and industry leaders.

“The presentations were fantastic and the variety of content was excellent,” said Michelle Caissey, Consumer Lending Specialist for Digital Credit Union. “Not only have I gained a deeper understanding of the opportunities in education finance, but I also walked away with some great insight that we can apply across multiple asset classes and throughout the credit union.”

According to Student Choice President and CEO Scott Patterson, since first launching Empower U in 2015, the key goal of the event has been to help credit unions learn about all aspects of the higher education funding challenge faces by millions of families while amplifying the potential for credit unions to make an impact.

“We believe credit unions can be a transformative force to help members make more informed, smarter decisions surrounding this huge investment in their futures,” said Patterson. “By helping them identify

new opportunities and sharing best practice insights, credit unions can do so much more in this space. Ultimately, by offering a holistic solution that helps members responsibly achieve the benefits of higher education, this can be of the most empowering forms of lending a credit union can undertake. Hence the name, Empower U.”

Speakers on this year’s Empower U agenda included noted student lending expert Sandy Baum, a Senior Fellow at The Urban Institute; Economist, Dr. Bill Conerly; Pamela Horne, Former Provost for Enrollment Management at Purdue University; Ryan Foss, Managing Director of Innovation at Filene Research Institute; Shann Grewal, Vice President for leading student loan management firm IonTuition; and Gerry O’Brion, Nationally Recognized Marketing and Branding Expert.

O’Brion’s presentation, “What Big Brands Know” proved to be a conference highlight as he used his vast marketing experience and case studies, including a highly relevant example from the financial industry, to help credit unions rethink how they compete in today’s hyper-competitive marketplace. Attendees walked away with a clear framework for developing their future business strategy.

“Providing our attendees with a diverse mix of content, delivered by true experts, has been a core principle since we first launched Empower U,” said Michael Weber, Chief Marketing Officer of Credit Union Student Choice. “Just like previous years, attendees once again gave us rave reviews on our speakers, and they really appreciated the ability to go in-depth on student lending while also gaining insight on higher-level credit union issues.”

To request information and updates on Empower U 2018, visit

Gerry O’Brion

About Credit Union Student Choice

Credit Union Student Choice is a credit union service organization (CUSO) that positions credit unions as leaders in education finance by offering a comprehensive solution that helps them deliver fair-value private education loans and corresponding financial education to students and families. To learn more, visit


Mike Weber
Chief Marketing Officer
563-599-1193 |

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