Posts Tagged Economy

CUNA Announces the 2012 CUNA Economics & Investments Conference in Chicago, IL

Posted by on Friday, 13 January, 2012

MADISON, Wis. (January 13, 2012) –Registration and school information is now available for the upcoming 2012 CUNA Economics & Investments Conference, August 12-15, 2012 in Chicago, IL.  For conference and registration information visit

The CUNA Economics & Investments Conference gives credit union professionals an in-depth look at today’s national economic landscape and tomorrow’s economic future. Well-respected CUNA economic experts, Bill Hampel and Mike Schenk, will dive deep into the hard facts and numbers of the U.S. economy and explain what the nitty-gritty details of the economy mean, why they are important and how they will impact credit unions in the coming fiscal year. After attending this three day conference, credit union professionals will have the knowledge and skills needed to make better informed strategic planning decisions.

Attendees will hear CUNA’s leading economists speak on:


  • The key players that shape the U.S. economy
  • The practical tools for managing credit union finances
  • Investment strategies that will keep credit unions competitive
  • Asset-liability management techniques
  • The current regulatory issues affecting credit unions today
  • And more


“Every year our highly regarded economists Bill Hampel and Mike Schenk draw large crowds to hear their insights into today’s economic realities and tomorrow’s economic outlook ,” said Kevin Smith, Director of Volunteer Education at CUNA.  “The CUNA Economics & Investments Conference is a uniquely engaging and provides speakers and content not available at other conferences. Over the course of three intensive days, credit union professionals will get an entire year’s worth of credit union specific economic information that they can then use to build their strategic plans and map out their future business initiatives.”

The CUNA CFO Council is offering scholarships,up to $2,500, for qualifying credit unions attending the CUNA Economics & Investments Conference. The deadline to apply is July 9, 2012. More information can be found here.

For more information about the CUNA Economics & Investments Conference and to register, visit

CUNA’s Popular Pressing Economic Issues Series to Release the 15th of Each Month

Posted by on Thursday, 5 January, 2012

MADISON, Wisc. (December 20, 2011) – Credit Union National Association (CUNA) announced today that its popular CUNA Pressing Economic Issues Series, featuring highly respected economists Bill HampelMike Schenk  and Steve Rick, will now be releasing new presentations on the 15th of each month, beginning  January 15, 2012.

The CUNA Pressing Economic Issues Series gives credit union professionals insightful 30-minute economic updates and commentary every month. Subscribers to the CUNA Pressing Economic Issues Series can stay informed of pressing issues that specifically impact credit unions and discover the trends to watch as they prepare themselves for challenges ahead.

“CUNA is pleased to offer monthly access to three of the sharpest economic minds in the movement,” said Kevin Smith, Director of Volunteer Education at Credit Union National Association. “Our executive and board audiences consistently rate presentations from Hampel, Schenk and Rick as engaging and highly informative.”

CUNA Pressing Economic Series Speakers:

Bill Hampel is the senior vice president of research and policy analysis and chief economist for the Credit Union National Association. Bill also writes economic analysis columns that appear in several credit union publications. As an expert on the economy and credit union issues specifically, Bill is routinely asked by national news outlets to share his economic expertise.

Mike Schenk is vice president of economics and statistics for the Credit Union National Association. He conducts economic and financial research and provides support for CUNA’s governmental affairs and public relations efforts. Mike is an expert on the economy and credit union issues, boasting more than 25 years of experience in the financial services industry.

Steve Rick is a senior economist for Credit Union National Association. Steve conducts economic research, teaches at various credit union schools and conferences and writes articles for CUNA publications. Steve facilitates strategic planning sessions for credit union boards and has authored a textbook on asset-liability management. Steve is also a faculty member of the economics department at the University of Wisconsin-Madison.

A full year’s credit union subscription to CUNA Pressing Economic Issues Series is $499.  Individual sessions are available for $99 each. More information can be found at

Silver & Gold Brings Out the Silver Lining of Recession

Posted by on Monday, 6 December, 2010

As I strolled the stores on Black Friday and sought the deals on Cyber Monday, I marveled at the pact I’d made with my cousin to not buy any non-sale item during the infamous after Thanksgiving sales. For some this may not have been such a marvel, but for an 18-year old college student to make this commitment with me, a 30-year old convenience shopper, it was quite monumental. Of course, I couldn’t help but appreciate how different her buying habits were from me at the age of 18 when I embarrassingly enough just bought because I found “it” and not because “it” was a good deal. It made me wonder if I’d gone through a natural progress of appreciating every dollar more, or if there’s some silver lining of a recession that has helped every generation become savvier with their dollars and cents?

As I thought more about the changes I’ve made in the last couple years, I couldn’t help but reflect back on the changes I’ve made professionally. I’ve given more emphasis and priority to research prior to deployment and sought more affordable and efficient ways to source talents and complete duties. In accomplishing these tasks and looking at what we do through a different lens, we’ve developed more partners, expectations and processes that may not have initiated without the need to address our economic environment. As a graduate student, I’ve witnessed more students networking to share books and finding sites to purchase them for a fraction of the cost. Although that may be common in undergraduate programs, I’ve noticed this shift even amongst the students that are funded by their companies to ensure they’re managing any costs they can control to keep their education funding. While seeing these changes in business and education, I notice more of the recession silver lining as I reflected back on building a home late in 2009.

While I honed my skills of finding deals in the building process, I found very affordable, quality work available from many companies. Many of the poorer quality or managed businesses may have even exited leaving the market full of those that are the best at their trade. This alone was a testament to their abilities, and helped me as a potential buyer find them more easily.

As we continue through the slow economic times, there’s more positive to be said for the changes we’ve all endured over the past couple years. As I reflect just for a few brief moments, I notice members embracing the ideas and values of credit unions, credit unions being more diligent in their operations and staff having a renewed interest in making the most of everything. To tag on to a fellow CUNAverser’s post, the recessions silver lining may be one more deposit to our “thank bank.”

To Compare Pay or Not to Compare Pay

Posted by on Wednesday, 3 November, 2010

Beth Soltis

From Beth Soltis:

Some credit unions have asked me whether they should do a compensation analysis when they have frozen salaries and have not budgeted for pay increases in 2011.  The answer is an unequivocal yes.  And I’ll explain why.

First, recruitment and retention efforts should be tied to an organization’s market position.  How do you know what components of your compensation package to highlight if you don’t know where you stand in the market?  How do you know how to converse with employees frustrated by stagnant pay if you don’t know where you stand in the market?  Your market position can shape how you present your compensation package and how you communicate with employees about it.

Second, how can you motivate your employees to perform at their best if you don’t know where you stand in the market?  Appropriate (affordable, cost effective, and in line with market demand) compensation levels encourage and reward high performance, which in turn drives organizational performance.  Knowing your market position is crucial in developing motivation and reward strategies.

Finally, it is essential to monitor your compensation plan to ensure it is successful.  A successful compensation plan meets three key criteria – internally equitable, externally competitive, and accurately reflects the credit union’s compensation philosophy – according to CUNA’s 2010-2011 Complete Guide to Setting Salaries.  And the only way to be sure these three key criteria are met is to do a compensation analysis.

A lot of credit unions are in the position of being unable to provide pay increases to their employees.  In the 20+ years that CUNA has conducted the Complete Credit Union Salary Survey, we have never seen numbers like this: 43% of credit unions with $1 million or more in assets initiated a salary/wage freeze in 2009, according to CUNA’s 2010-2011 Complete Credit Union Staff Salary Survey. This percentage has almost doubled from 23% in 2008. Additionally, 43% of credit unions anticipate doing so in 2010.

And credit unions are not alone.  In fact, 64% of employers froze pay increases in the last 18 months, according to a 1st quarter 2010 study by Buck Consultants. However, due to the impact of heavy workloads and stagnant salaries, experts advise employers to analyze their ability to provide wage increases and/or variable pay to reward and retain their employees as soon as business conditions allow.  And whether or not employers can provide pay increases, at a minimum they should acknowledge the heavy workloads employees are shouldering and show appreciation for employees’ efforts.

Obviously, credit unions can only pay what they can afford.  But armed with the knowledge of where compensation falls compared with the market, credit unions can ensure the effectiveness of their recruitment and retention efforts, their motivation and reward strategies, and their compensation plan.

Have you conducted a compensation analysis lately?  What benefits and improvements have you seen after completing your analysis?

Beth Soltis is the Senior Research Analyst for the Market Research department at the Credit Union National Association.

Tell Us What You’re Hearing From Members About Financial Reform

Posted by on Thursday, 7 October, 2010

They have questions, do you have answers??It’s been a busy year for credit unions. One of the top issues has been financial reform and how the Dodd-Frank Wall Street Reform and Consumer Protection Act of 2010 will affect credit unions and credit union members.

While the Act brings numerous changes to existing financial laws, only about 35 items–a lot less than anticipated–may impact credit unions according to a recent CUNA News Now article ( Aug 25).

Credit unions can rest assured knowing key CUNA staff are working on this issue.

In fact, CUNA members may access archived audio from a two-part teleconference originally held at the end of August. The audio provides an overview of the new law, key provisions and implementation dates, as well as information on the new Consumer Financial Protection Bureau.

Credit union members are likely to have a number of questions about financial reform, especially since the subject has been in the headlines over the past few years. Tell us what questions your credit union members are asking about how this issue will affect consumers? Are they asking about:

  • The Consumer Protection Bureau?
  • Mortgage reform?
  • Remittance changes?
  • $250,000 share insurance coverage?
  • Anything else?

We REALLY want to hear from you! Your comments may help CUNA identify ways to help your credit union address the concerns of your members.

National Press Likes ‘Move Your Money’ to Credit Unions

Posted by on Thursday, 27 May, 2010

The “move your money” campaign generated much excitement among consumers, credit unions — and the press. That’s not news: It’s been going on since December, when the campaign to move deposits from big banks to “community banks” was first outlined on the Huffington Post (and, as a result of demands by readers of HP, eventually extended to credit unions).

Lately, though national press interest in the idea of more consumers moving to credit unions has been spiking. At CUNA, we’ve received inquiries from national media as well as big regional papers. A Newsday feature (in NYC and Long Island) about consumers moving their money to credit unions is just the most recent example. At CUNA, we jump on the opportunities to promote credit unions through all channels.

There is no doubt that consumers have been moving their money to credit unions. Last year, savings grew by 10.3 percent, the biggest one-year increase in at least five years. But are consumers moving with their money? In other words, what’s the membership growth?

More people are, in fact, becoming credit union members: 2009 witnessed more than 1.2 million new members — a 1.4 percent growth rate (to 91.2 million members — now nearly 1 in 4 Americans are CU members). That growth is robust: It outpaces the U.S. population growth by 1.5 times, as well as the growth of the nation’s banking customer base, which largely mirrors the U.S. population growth rate.

But is the 2009 growth rate an anomaly? On its face — not really. In 2008, for example, membership grew by 1.6 percent (the fastest one-year growth over the last half decade), and 2006 growth was 1.4 percent also.

But, CUNA economists suspect there is something more to the numbers (as economists typically do). They point out that indirect lending by auto dealers had been the engine (so to speak) of CU member growth prior to the Great Recession starting in late 2007.

Over the last 18 months or so, car buying has waned with the growth of the economy, which means indirect-lending-member-growth has slowed as well.

Nevertheless, membership grew in 2009, as the numbers show! CUNA’s experts believe that consumers are, in fact, moving their money and their feet to credit unions, even though the numbers were not inflated so much last year by new members through indirect lending.

We don’t have 2010 numbers yet (for 1st quarter), but they should be ready soon. Will there be a corresponding spike in membership? If so, we’ve got another great story to tell to the national press. If not — well, we’ve still got a great story anyway. More to come, no doubt.

>CCUC09 Live – Bill Hampel’s Message to CUs about the Current Economy

Posted by on Thursday, 22 October, 2009

>CUNA’s senior vice president of research/policy analysis and chief economist had a message about the economy for credit unions…

>Gen Y: Stereotypes, Economy, Technology, and the Workplace

Posted by on Friday, 24 October, 2008

Happy Friday everyone! I recently ran across some interesting reads and want to share them with everyone. These links are to articles on various young adult and Gen Y topics from around the world.

Check them out…

  • Here is a rather gritty opinion piece from a Gen Y’er regarding the stereotypes associated with our generation.
    Baby Boomers Beware: Gen Y knows what’s up
    The Voyager – Pensacola,FL,USA
    I’m tired of getting discriminated against for my age. Everywhere I go, all I hear is, “Your generation is so lazy,” or, “Everyone your age is pale and fat

  • From our friends in Canada, this article offers info on how young adults can cope with the current economic situation.
    How does GenY cope amid such a turbulent economy? Save, save, save

    The Canadian Press – TORONTO
    TORONTO — Generation Y has by now moved beyond the allowance years, their financial concerns ranging from university tuition to mortgages and RRSPs.

  • This article comes to you all the way from India. It discusses a “new breed” of consumers, and how brick and mortar institutions use technology along with digital strategies to make the most of my generation.
    FMCG firms in digital mode to woo Gen Y – New Delhi,Delhi,India
    Bengaluru, Oct. 23: The digital economy has spawned a new breed of consumers who choose how or when to engage with a brand that is trying to woo them.

  • Penelope Trunk, better known as the Brazen Careerist and author of a book bearing the same name, blogs about how Gen Y will change the workplace when we’re at the helm.
    3 Ways work will change when Gen Y is in charge

    Brazen Centrist – USA
    In ten years, Gen Y will have taken over middle management. Maybe in five years, if my own office is any indication. But I am sure that Gen Y will run the…