America's Credit Union Conference

Scenes from Monday at the ACUC

Author Malcolm Gladwell highlights the second day of the conference.

July 2, 2013


“Bigger isn’t always better, and being powerful in a marketplace doesn’t ensure future success,” best-selling author Malcolm Gladwell said Monday. That’s good news for CUs, which are decided underdogs compared with their banking rivals in terms of resources.


Following Malcolm Gladwell’s formal presentation, conference emcee Mark DeCarlo (left) asked the best-selling author questions attendees submitted via Twitter.

CUNA President/CEO Bill Cheney outlined three key initiatives during his opening remarks on Monday: “Unite for Good,” “Don't Tax My Credit Union,” and “Plan to Win.”


While the past several years have seen steady improvements in most CU operating metrics, including return on assets, 2012 may be the “high water mark” for CU earnings, said Bill Hampel, CUNA’s chief economist. That’s due in part to massive mortgage refinancings last year, which fueled big increases in loan origination fees and gains on mortgage sales.



Attendees watched in amusement during video footage of colleagues’ best—and worst—Jimmy Stewart impersonations a la “It’s a Wonderful Life.” Attendees will determine the most gifted impersonator, and the winner will receive a $200 gift card—and free registration to next year’s America’s CU Conference.


Jim Holt, CEO of MidAmerican CU, Wichita, Kan., argued against indirect lending during a “great debate” Monday afternoon, calling the practice a disservice to members. His debate partner was Dawn Wade-Brummett, vice president of retail lending and operations for ORNL FCU, Oakridge, Tenn. She believes “we must get past the stereotype of the shady dealer” and serve members where and when they want to be served.


CUNA's Jeff Carpenter chats with ACUC attendees about "Don't Tax My Credit Union" and other initiatives.


Dave Weber, author of “Leadership Redefined: The 12X’s of Success for Today’s Leader,” said leadership is all about influence during a Thought Leader Session on Monday, sponsored by CUNA Mutual Group. He explained that a leader is someone who has influence, and differentiated leadership is needed in organizations like CUs: “You can’t lead everyone the same because employees need different things from you.”


Seventy-five percent of CU fee income is related to payments because products and services related to payments generate revenue, said Theran Colwell, director, strategy & business development, for CUNA Mutual Group.