Josh Vissering
Josh Vissering

Progressive Metal—and ALM—in His Soul

'There’s always something new around the corner.'

January 4, 2016

IF JOSH VISSERING could be a rock star, he’d be Greg Puciato, lead singer of the progressive metal group Dillinger Escape Plan.

“The band’s sound is an acquired taste,” explains Vissering, asset liability and investment manager of $630 million asset Honor Credit Union, St. Joseph, Mich. “Not a mainstream band, its music is complex and not very accessible, but the band members are technically proficient and calculated in how they make music. It’s much like asset liability management [ALM], which can be somewhat complex and esoteric and isn’t something that many people gravitate to.”

Dillinger Escape Plan also puts painstaking effort into making albums, which Vissering explains is like the effort necessary to model financial projections useful to the credit union.

As a high-schooler in 1998, Vissering got a job at Negaunee Credit Union and continued working there in various capacities while earning his finance degree in college. After a series of internal successions, he moved up to the CFO position for the renamed SIR Credit Union in 2009.

From 2010 to 2013, his skills enabled the credit union to grow its capital-to-asset ratio from 8.30% to 9.71%, while boosting return on assets to an average of 1.02%—roughly twice the industry average for a credit union of SIR’s size during that time. When SIR merged with Honor Credit Union last year, Vissering moved into his current role.

“He brought a level of expertise in ALM and financial analysis to Honor that’s amazing,” according to Megan Hendrix, Honor’s director of corporate planning & executive offices. “He teaches the leaders at Honor how the numbers can tell a story.”

“Honor has grown a great deal in size and complexity and we’ve taken steps to grow the ALM process along with the rest of the organization,” notes Vissering. “We’ve added a Management Asset Liability Committee and a Pricing Committee to tackle key ALM issues in greater depth.

“We’re taking the ALM function beyond just checking the regulatory boxes, and putting it to work strategically,” Vissering continues. “All of our leaders participate in the process—including some who aren’t numbers people. This requires not only conducting detailed analysis, but making sure that everyone on the team understands what we have to do to manage financial risks.”

Vissering enjoys his current role and says there’s still a lot to learn: “The economy and the industry are always changing. There’s always something new around the corner.”