Every Credit Union Exec Should Visit CUNA

This entry was posted by Tuesday, 2 October, 2012
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Guest Blogger, Mark Arnold

From Mark Arnold:

Madison. Home of the University of Wisconsin, Cheeseheads, microbrews, and quirky restaurants and bars. Madison is also home to the Credit Union National Association. In other words, Madison is like a credit union mecca.

I’ve been in the credit union movement for over 20 years and in all that time I had never journeyed to Madison. Last month, however, I had the opportunity to visit the CUNA grounds (filming a session for CUNA Mutual Group’s Online Discovery Conference). So in many ways, I made my trip to Credit Union Mecca.

While there I realized everyone involved in credit unions (whether a C-level executive, board member or management) should visit Madison and “The Campus” as it is sometimes referenced.

Here are a few reasons why it’s worth the journey:

  • The people—Both CUNA and CUNA Mutual’s staff are amazing. While Meghann Dawson and Courtney Cantwell served as great tour guides they also introduced me to many other folks. Everyone in CUNA had what I call the “credit union twinkle” in their eyes. They obviously are in business for credit unions and it shows with their many smiles.
  • The tunnels—There is a really cool tunnel system connecting the buildings together. It felt a lot like Washington, D.C. (or some type of bunker, I wasn’t sure which). For someone from Texas (where everything is above ground), the tunnel system was fascinating.
  • CUNA Mutual Group’s offices—Wow, talk about a cool place to just hang out. CUNA Mutual has this giant open space that encourages employee engagement. They even have a Starbucks. I counted dozens of meetings taking place just in the open air space (rather than traditional offices).
  • The Filene Research Institute—Although I didn’t get a chance to visit the Filene Research Institute (they’ve relocated their offices away from the CUNA complex and closer to the UW campus), I hear it is a special place as well. Their office and meeting space is designed for the highly creative (you will probably get a ton of ideas just from stopping by their place).

You might want to note that I visited during the summer—so a winter trip to Madison may not be in your best interest! However, no matter when you have the opportunity, I encourage you to take your own trip to credit union mecca.

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