Visa sponsors Filene’s new research center focused on credit union talent

Research will help inform and build the next generation of credit union leaders

MADISON, WI (February 27, 2017) — The Filene Research Institute announced Visa is contributing $1 million to fund Filene’s Center of Excellence for the War for Talent. The goal of the partnership is to fuel critical research surrounding the issue of attracting and retaining talent in the credit union industry.

Lead by Filene Fellow Dr. Sekou Bermiss, the research center will focus on attracting, developing, and promoting top performers within credit unions, from the front line to the boardtable.

“Recruiting and retaining top talent in credit unions is key to keeping our movement strong and our mission long-lived,” said Andrew Downin, Managing Director, Research at Filene. “We’re especially thrilled to have the generous support of Visa to make this research a reality. Their participation will help bring to life insights that allow credit unions to better compete in the talent marketplace.”

“This important research will generate the insights and data needed to help the industry recruit and attract the best and brightest talent,” said Oliver Jenkyn, Group Executive of North America, Visa Inc. “We hope the research will cultivate fresh thinking and innovation that will empower the entire industry for decades to come.”

One of the first challenges the center will target is investigating recruitment tactics that can best attract talented candidates who share the credit union social mission.

“While the tagline ‘our people are our best asset’ is espoused by many organizational leaders, the implementation of this simple principle is remarkably complex.,” explained Bermiss. “The War for Talent research center provides a powerful platform to share insights to help improve both the quantity and quality of job applicants.”

Bermiss is Assistant Professor of Management at the McCombs School of Business at the University of Texas, Austin. His research focuses on how human capital capabilities provide competitive advantage — which lies at the center of the credit union talent challenge. His award-winning research has been published in several highly acclaimed publications. Bermiss received his Ph.D from Northwestern University and has been on the University of Texas, Austin faculty since 2009.

The War for Talent research center will host its first colloquium on September 14, 2017 in Austin, TX. Filene members and other industry leaders are invited to attend this day-long event where Bermiss and other distinguished presenters will lead a series of discussions on research and strategies aimed at bolstering the quality of both paid and volunteer credit union talent. Early-bird registration information can be found at

The War for Talent research center marks the final of the five Centers of Excellence launched by Filene, just one year after announcing the new strategy.

Led by academic thinkers from across North America, Filene’s Centers of Excellence produce unique research and engagement opportunities for Filene members and the credit union system. Designed to address the changing needs of credit unions and their members, the research centers explore critical and emerging topics regarding the future of consumer financial trends to encourage credit unions to think differently and do amazing things to change people’s lives.

At Filene’s Chairman’s Breakfast at the Governmental Affairs Conference in Washington D.C.
From left to right: Mark Meyer, CEO of Filene, Sekou Bermiss and Oliver Jenkyn.

Oliver Jenkyn speaking

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.


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