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CFO Council Conference

Highlights from the CUNA CFO Council Conference

Speakers educate, motivate, and issue challenges to CU finance professionals.

May 20, 2016

The 535 credit union finance professionals attending the 22nd annual CUNA CFO Council Conference in Anaheim, Calif., learned about the power of communication, the dangers of information security breaches, the challenge of onerous regulations, and the revolution occurring in big data.

The conference concluded Wednesday with a presentation by culture expert Jim Knight, who believes many leaders underestimate the impact of messages from the top, either formally through mission statements and memos, or informally through casual conversation.

“They don’t realize the power of what they can do to inspire, motivate, reward, recognize achievement,” Knight said.

His challenge for credit union leaders: What could you say that would warrant people coming to work every day and being proud of it, not just complying?

Kicking off the conference was a presentation by retired naval commander Mike Abrashoff, who transformed an underperforming ship by instilling ownership among the crew.

The bottom line, according to Abrashoff: “I wanted every sailor to feel like they were responsible for the successful outcome of that ship. Because they were. I couldn’t do it on my own.”

In between, credit union CFOs gained insights on numerous topics, including:

• The Financial Accounting Standards Board’s CECL (current expected credit loss) model. Although most credit unions will not need to implement the new standards until 2021, it's time to explore what it will mean for your credit union, said Aaron Lenhart, Sageworks’ senior risk management consultant.

 Big data. Credit unions can stay relevant using big data effectively and in the member's’ best interest, said John Best, president of Best Innovation Group, a CUNA consulting partner.

This requires putting together the right team, traveling light, and moving fast, he said.

The state of the economy. Acclaimed economist Elliot Eisenberg said Americans’ growing household incomes, “fantastic” auto sales, and strong consumer confidence bode well for the economy.

But if you want to worry, Eisenberg says the U.S. trade deficit is worsening, and the manufacturing sector continues to struggle.

Click here for more coverage of the CUNA CFO Council Conference.