In the year since CUNA Communities launched, credit union professionals have embraced them as a forum to discuss pressing issues and to network with peers from around the country.
“The Communities have allowed me to get feedback on thoughts and ideas that I have, and to share my knowledge with others who might need a little guidance,” says David Thibodeau, chief information officer at $1.4 billion asset Community First Credit Union in Jacksonville, Fla.
“The credit union world has always been about collaboration to better serve our members,” he adds, “and the communities give all of us a great tool to collaborate together on that goal.”
Relying heavily on input from user focus groups, CUNA created two portals it hosts at community.cuna.org: CUNA Councils Community and CUNA Compliance Community. CUNA tailored each space to serve the specific needs of credit union professionals in that segment.
Staff at CUNA-affiliated credit unions can access the Compliance Community, while only CUNA Councils members can access the Councils Community.
The CUNA Communities benefit credit unions by:
In their first year, the CUNA Communities attracted 13,800 discussion posts and hosted 35 roundtable conversations.
The heavy activity on the 13 discussion boards within the Communities is a testament to the benefits of participation. The discussion boards address hot topics, human resource practices, marketing strategy, cybersecurity and fraud prevention, emerging technology, and more.
“The discussion board participation is out of this world,” says Sara Vara, vice president of human resources and chief human resources officer at $881 million asset United Heritage Credit Union in Austin, Texas.
“The boards give me the chance to connect with my peers in a friendly and safe environment where we can share best practices and receive sound advice on the issues that we face,” she adds. “I’ve only been a member for two months, and the positive impact the discussions have made on me and our human resource department is astounding.”
Thibodeau, a CUNA Technology Council member, found the CUNA Communities invaluable in his first year at Community First after serving as vice president of information technology at another credit union.
He enjoys the cross-pollination of ideas that arise when people from different areas of the credit union industry chime in on a discussion, providing perspectives other participants might not have considered.
Specific to his profession, Thibodeau has benefited from discussion board input on vendors’ products his credit union also uses. That’s been particularly useful this year as new technology has emerged that works across different core systems.
He’s eager to see how the CUNA Communities evolve and progress in their second year.
“As each Community grows and the collaboration continues, the credit union brand will get out there so more people can see what we’re about and realize the value we offer to their financial success,” Thibodeau says.