Small CU Conference Demonstrates How to Collaborate for Success

Posted by Marissa Anema Tuesday, June 11, 2013 10:57:00 AM

HIGHTSTOWN, N.J. – The League held its 5th Annual Small Credit Union Conference this past Saturday, June 8, 2013. Once again, this conference was available to small asset sized credit unions at no charge thanks to our larger asset sized credit union sponsors: ABCO FCU, Healthcare EFCU, and Proponent FCU.

NJCUL Director of Education and Training Barbara Agin welcomed attendees and shared how the theme was chosen for this year’s event. With it becoming increasingly difficult to be a small asset sized credit union, there is a need to partner up with others to succeed. The topics and speakers were selected to get the conversation started on partnering with credit unions, business partners, CUSOs, etc.

Agin then introduced the new League President/CEO Greg Michlig, who welcomed the group and gave a brief introduction.'s Morriss Partee opening the conference with a session on advantages of being small.

The opening speaker,'s Morriss Partee, kicked off the conference with his session “The Advantages of Being Small”. He discussed how two credit unions in Canada were working cooperatively and how it was benefiting both of them. He then asked the group to write down three things the credit union could stop doing that the members wouldn’t care about or even notice. This sparked some interesting discussions. 

The next speaker, Mid-Atlantic Corporate FCU's Debra Cohn, discussed products and services that can help small credit unions. She closed her session with an enjoyable video that went behind the scenes of a new initiative at Mid-Atlantic Corporate called Finection. 

Nicola Foggie, Director of Compliance at the League, covered regulatory areas that credit unions need to comply with in terms of rulings, education, and examinations.

Taking on the topic of collaboration for survival, Guy Messick focuses on the why, what, and how of collaboration.

Attorney Guy Messick’s topic “Collaboration for Survival” really set the stage for why there is such a need for credit unions to include collaboration in their future business models. He focused on the why, what, and how of collaboration. Messick stated that credit unions that work together are stronger and you don’t have to be a big credit union to have the resources that the big credit unions do. 

John Dawidowski, CEO of Healthcare EFCU—a conference sponsor—continued the collaboration conversation after lunch, sharing key data from NCUA that showed N.J. CU statistics as compared to national averages. He also asked for the group to share their challenges, and the group provided some good suggestions.

The final speaker was Brent Hamilton from Fontanella and Babitts who discussed developing a budget in today’s environment. Hamilton reviewed steps to achieve various goals with examples in income, expenses, and ratio goals. He went through a sample budget on the screen to show how using a template can allow you to show how an increase or decrease in one area effects other areas of the budget and explained how this could be helpful when selling an idea to the board (such as spending marketing dollars). 

At the close of the conference, NJCUL Business Consultant Angel Santos briefly reviewed the League resources available for the small credit unions and Agin discussed ideas for collaborating on education. 

Santos, Agin, and Michlig all thanked attendees for their dedication to the movement as demonstrated by giving up their Saturday to attend this conference. In terms of collaboration, this is really just the beginning with a more focused approach on results to come with continued conversations. All in all, this was a very interactive, informative day.


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