Jason Allen achieved his goal of becoming a chief information officer (CIO) when he joined $650 million asset TAPCO Credit Union in Fircrest, Wash., in 2022. He’s now adding bandwidth to make TAPCO more datacentric. Allen discusses new technologies, the future of TAPCO, and tips for young professionals.
Jason Allen: It’s been a great experience. I’ve had some great successes, along with opportunities for growth. I came into a transitioning information technology department, which has allowed me to rebuild the team and create a new culture.
A: I started my career at a credit union in North Carolina, and I always knew I would come back because of the bonds I share in the space. I still talk to several people I worked with at my first credit union. I’ve always loved how credit unions focus on helping their communities. They also care deeply for their employees. You have to buy into the culture of people helping people. The collaboration between credit unions is special. It allows us to flourish.
A: We’re becoming more datacentric by implementing business intelligence tools that will reduce data silos between applications and provide better analytics for our staff. We’re also working with experienced partners to identify the right solutions for the future. We’re looking at online banking platforms and online account opening solutions to navigate our digital transformation. We’re infusing diversity, equity, inclusivity, belonging, and accessibility into everything we do to make sure everybody is seen and included.
I’ve been working on increasing bandwidth and adding redundancy to our locations for better stability and resilience. I’m also focused on managing vendor risk, enhancing security measures, and building a strong foundation for the future.
A: I’m always looking for the next thing that’s going to shake up the market. Artificial intelligence and automation are two of the biggest technology trends right now.
Other technologies that will be game changers are open banking and blockchain. They’ll allow organizations to reduce dependency on core and enterprise resource planning providers, and create more innovation for the future.
Technology has changed so much. Hardware has gotten smaller and faster, and cloud storage has become more secure, less costly, and more reliable. Technology has created so many roles that didn’t exist 10 to 15 years ago.
A: It’s about having the right people around you who trust and have confidence in you. I would encourage the younger generation to be curious, get into it early, and be willing to fail. Failure allows you to grow.
A: I would like to see more diversity in leadership roles. There are a lot of talented people who just need an opportunity.
As a leader, position yourself around people who don’t necessarily have the same ideas as you. I learn a lot from my staff. My lens is different than theirs, so conversation allows me to become a better leader. It also makes the credit union stronger because it’s not just my voice, it’s multiple people working together to find solutions.
A: A passion of mine is increasing curiosity around technology at an early age. Children are the future, so letting them see what technology has to offer will allow us to build technology to higher levels.