ONTARIO, Calif. (12/7/15)--Credit unions in the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues have maximized their value as a source of economic information by taking part in local economic forecast meetings.
“Some credit unions, like community banks, are maturing to the fact that they can and maybe should become more involved over time,” said Rob Eyler, board member of Redwood CU, Santa Rosa, Calif., and professor of economics at Sonoma State University. “It will be intriguing to see how many credit unions $1 billion in assets or smaller become more visible players at these events.”
Esmael Adibi, board member at SchoolsFirst FCU, Santa Ana, Calif., and Chapman University Economics professor said that reading a condensed version of these forecasts in the local media doesn’t give the full flavor of what’s happening in the economy, according to the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ newsletter CU Weekly. reported It takes dialogue, body language, off-the-cuff remarks, local perspective, and networking to see past the news headlines and gain a clear sense of what factors are changing the economy in the short term.
“Being there gives you anecdotes and additional information about the reasons behind the trends,” Adibi said. “That’s where the most interesting parts come in. These forecasts are a good indication of what every economist is thinking about, and why.”
It’s one reason why the California Credit Union League had a representative attend and report on 10 economic forecast and business events across Southern California in 2015 on behalf of league members. These gatherings projected local and statewide economic trends from early 2015 into late 2016.
Adibi said when the economy recovers, a drop-off in attendance at some events is natural. Harboring too much certainty about the future fosters complacency. Appetites wane for learning about the next potential movements in capital spending, home prices, consumer confidence, job creation and other indicators.
It’s the home builders, real estate agents, commercial building brokers, bankers and educational and civic leaders who keep attending through good times and bad to make sure the professional community knows they’re engaged. Registering once or twice a year and clearing a half-day in their schedule isn’t just a long-term strategy, it becomes standard business practice, especially when networking is involved.
“Some people see the power of being visible at these events--they see the payoff of being involved," Eyler said. "Community banks have become more and more involved in economic development over the past few years. It would be good if credit unions can also get out there and network overtly.”