It’s almost a certainty that any finance person is good with numbers. And, it’s also a safe bet those same folks will be proficient with Excel software. With those two skills in hand, credit union finance people are well prepared to test the waters of data analytics, according to a panel of experts who spoke at the 2018 CUNA CFO Council Conference in Austin, Texas, on Tuesday.
Appearing on the panel was Matthew Sedares, supervisor of business intelligence and data analytics at American First Credit Union, Ogden Utah; Joseph Nelson, loan portfolio analyst at Ent Credit Union, Colorado Springs, Colo.; and Brandon Smith, chief financial officer and security officer, Reliant Credit Union, Casper, Wyo.
Smith says he was able to harvest data from his core system to gain a deeper understanding of Reliant’s membership by looking at data such as member age distribution and where members were using their debit cards.
Similarly, Ent used peer data to learn that its loan-to-share ratio was falling short of expectations. As result it instituted outbound calling and prequalification programs to recapture loans, says Nelson
“I just decided to focus on the things that I can do,” says Smith. “I’m just doing the best I can with what I have. No matter how big you are on the spectrum you’re going to want the next big thing. My advice is just to start where you are.”
The most basic data calculations can be done in Excel, and Sedares says he used data from Zillow and the Federal Reserve to do some of his demographic analysis. “Excel has some of the simple data science tools,” he says. “It has its limitations, but for single variant analysis it’s a great place to start.”
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