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ACUC 2016 Director's Preconference Workshop

What’s the state of the economy?

Membership growth is outstanding, CUNA economist tells directors.

June 26, 2016

Mike Wilkerson, ECONorthwest’s senior economist, and Mike Schenk, CUNA’s vice president of economics and statistics, gave directors attending a two-day America's Credit Union Conference preconference workshop a closer look at the regional and national economic picture.

CUNA, in partnership with the Northwest Credit Union Association, sponsored the workshop.

Wilkerson highlighted regional employment growth statistics, underemployment rates for Oregon and Washington, along with housing starts.

Membership growth was on Schenk’s mind.

“I don’t know what you’re doing, but keep it up,” he says, referring to the 3.5% growth in credit union memberships last year. That’s compared with less than 1% for the U.S. population overall.

Directors also heard why it’s important for credit unions to serve millennials: According to James Marshall, manager of the Cooperative Trust, 72% of millennials are searching for financial products and 25% are searching for their first checking accounts.

Credit unions are a perfect fit to provide these services, Marshall says. To appeal to this group, credit union messaging should address millennials’ immediate self-interests, their long-term interests, and the intrinsic value of credit unions.

On the one hand, credit unions are in the business of money. That’s not always so cool to millennials, Marshall says.

But you can show young people all the ways you can make a meaningful difference in their lives—and that message will resonate.

Futurist Bob Treadway concluded the preconference workshop by outlining a prescription for how to think about and act on what’s ahead for credit unions and the financial services industry.

During the workshop’s first day, attendees also discussed onboarding new directors, the credit union difference and its role as a differentiator in the marketplace, financial technology trends, and best practices for high-performing boards. 

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