Posts Tagged professional development

CUNA Announces the 2012 CUNA Business Lending Certification Institutes in Madison, WI

Posted by on Wednesday, 15 February, 2012

MADISON, Wis. (February 14, 2012) –Registration and school information is now available for the upcoming CUNA Business Lending Certification Institutes, July 16-20, 2012 in Madison, WI.  For more information and to register, visit

The CUNA Business Lending Certification Institutes is designed to provide a practical education on business lending and, via expert-led sessions, address real-life business scenarios. Presented in partnership with the University of Wisconsin-Madison School of Business, Executive Education, Small Business Development Center, the CUNA Business Lending Certification Institutes are offered in three parts:

  1. Fundamentals
    Provides a solid foundation for business awareness and develops an understanding of the components involved in business lending services.
  2. Credit Analysis
    Addresses the challenges business members face in making debt service payments and meeting other financial responsibilities.
  3. Advanced Credit Analysis
    Provides hands-on experience with credit analysis.

“This program offers training and resources to help credit unions achieve a strong and sustainable member business lending program. Not only does it help them grow their member base, but it strengthens their presence in the community,” said Courtney Cantwell, Manager of Instructional Design at CUNA.

For more information about the CUNA Business Lending Certification Institutes and to register, visit

CUNA Announces the 2012 CUNA Certified Financial Counselor Schools in Austin, TX

Posted by on Tuesday, 14 February, 2012

MADISON, Wis. (February 14, 2014) –Registration and school information is now available for the upcoming 2012 CUNA Certified Financial Counselor Schools, June 11-14, 2012 in Austin, TX.  For more information and to register, visit

The CUNA Certified Financial Counselor Schools offers credit union counseling professionals the opportunity to hear financial counseling experts share their insight into the latest theories and practices of financial counseling. Through live sessions and face-to-face discussions, attendees will develop the skills and confidence they need to help their members through the range of financial situations they may face.

The CUNA Certified Financial Counselor Schools are offered in three parts:

Part 2 will discuss prevention strategies that will keep members out of debt and troubling financial situations. Attendees will learn how to help their members understand the underlying causes of their financial difficulties and give them the knowledge they need to monitor their expenses effectively.

  • CUNA Certified Financial Counselor School: Update
    The update session will survey the current practices and theories of financial counseling. Hear from the leaders in financial counseling and stay up-to-date with the latest counseling techniques and practices that will help you help your members reach their financial goals.

Offered as part of the CUNA Certified Financial Counselor Schools, credits and on-site examinations are provided for those wishing to earn their Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor (CCUFC) certification. Recertification of the CCUFC certification is also available as part of the CUNA Certified Financial Counselor School: Update.

For more information about the CUNA Certified Financial Counselor Schools, the Certified Credit Union Financial Counselor (CCUFC) certification and to register, visit

CUNA Announces 2012 Schools and Conferences Lineup

Posted by on Monday, 9 January, 2012

MADISON, Wis. (January 9, 2012) –CUNA hosts educational events that cover every aspect of the credit union movement. The 2012 suite of CUNA events ranges from large signature events that draw thousands of credit union professionals each year to smaller, more topic-specific conferences. Dates, locations, speakers and additional information can be found at

Every year, CUNA schools and conferences provide credit union professionals around the country with updates on pressing industry topics and regulations. From compliance and collections to marketing departments and board volunteers, the 2012 CUNA schools and conferences offer credit union specific education for every position. Programs are designed to showcase leading experts in their field and provide attendees with take away strategies to use at their credit unions to boost membership, streamline efficiency and strengthen their business and financial institution as a whole. Attendees will also have the opportunity to network with other credit union professionals from around the country.

Many 2012 CUNA conferences also offer opportunities for educational advancement such as CPE credits, certifications, designations, graduate degrees and awards for credit union excellence. These titles are recognized throughout the credit union movement as distinctions for both job competence and career professionalism.

Get a sneak peak at a few of the upcoming CUNA spring conferences:

CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference
March 18-22 • Washington D.C.

CUNA Consumer & Residential Mortgage Lending School
April 2-5 • Orlando, FL

CUNA CU Finance for Non-Financial Managers & Volunteers
April 22-25 • Orlando, FL

CUNA Regulatory Compliance Schools
April 22-27 • Orlando, FL

CUNA Marketing Management Schools
April 30 – May 3 • Las Vegas, NV

View a complete listing of the 2012 CUNA Schools and Conferences and learn more about the educational opportunities available from CUNA.

Staff Turnover Report Reveals Greater Stability in CU Workforce in 2011

Posted by on Thursday, 15 December, 2011

MADISON, Wis. (December 13, 2011) – Credit union employees in all job classifications are more likely to stay in their positions than they were before the recession, says a new CUNA report.

The overall credit union turnover rate is 12 percent, according to the 2011-2012 Turnover and Staffing Survey. This figure is higher than the 2009 turnover rate (nine percent) and matches the 2008 figure. Prerecession turnover was about 15 percent.

“With heightened competition for skilled employees, it’s important for credit unions to monitor turnover rates,” said Beth Soltis, senior research analyst for CUNA. “This is particularly important when it comes to key employees, but turnover in any department or at any level costs the organization time and money for employee training.”

Hiring levels remain modest at credit unions. The creation of new positions at credit unions dipped at the onset of the recession and hasn’t changed since. The percentage of employees hired to fill newly created credit union positions was roughly five percent from 2005 to 2007. In 2008, 2009 and 2010, three percent of credit union employees filled newly created positions.

“During the recession, most employers reduced staffing levels as low as they could possibly go,” adds Soltis. “This makes it more important than ever for credit unions to retain high-quality employees, especially those in positions critical to their credit union’s success.”

The survey provides turnover and staffing trends, as well as key human resources and operating expenditures. Data is segmented by asset size, region, number of branch offices and other criteria. The included worksheets allow credit unions to make side-by-side comparisons of important metrics, such as turnover rates, with their peers.

For more information about CUNA’s 2011-2012 Turnover and Staffing Survey, click here.

Professional Development Beyond the Walls

Posted by on Wednesday, 4 August, 2010

Working in the archives can sometimes be overwhelming.  I’m sure working anywhere can be overwhelming.  So, we all have outside interests to keep us going.  When I was in grad school, our professors would often stress how participating in professional organizations can keep one intellectually interested in their profession.  Moreover, professional associations help to increase and maintain one’s social network.  I’ve stayed active in professional associations in an attempt to grow professionally.  I’m a member of the Society of American Archivists (SAA) and Academy of Certified Archivists (ACA).  These organizations offer archivists the chance to exchange ideas, learn new techniques, and socialize with each other.

As a member of the SAA, I’ve been fortunate enough to present a paper, present several posters, chair a session at the annual meeting, be the editor for the Business Archives Section, and participate on both the Committee on Ethics and Professional Conduct and the Task Force to Develop a Values Statement.  I’ve been very fortunate to have these opportunities, but they didn’t come without effort, and a little luck.

My job makes me a member of the credit union movement, but my profession has little to do with credit unions.  As a result, when I look for growth opportunities, I’m often looking outside of my organization and the credit union movement.  Credit unions, leagues, and CUNA all offer great professional development opportunities.  Heck, CUNA even has the Center for Professional Development!  Whether you’re looking in your credit union, the league, CUNA or outside the credit union movement, there are some basic things to consider as you seek professional development.  Below are my 6 tips for professional development:

1.  Don’t be afraid to look outside your organization. 

Our organizations can limit professional growth for numerous reasons, and none of which may be intentional.  But, that doesn’t mean your organization doesn’t want you to learn and grow, and couldn’t benefit from your development.  In my case, looking to my profession offers many more chances for professional growth.  It might be the same for you.  Accountants, marketers, graphic designers, etc., all have professional organizations they can join.  Or, there are organizations which can use those skills to enhance their organization.  The point is these other organizations can help you improve your techniques, learn new practices, and meet others doing work similar to you.

2.  Volunteer and answer calls for participants.

When an organization asks for volunteers, they mean it.  This is your opportunity to get in the door.  And, we all know getting in the door is half the battle.  Sometimes we get intimated by other members’ credentials or experience.  We can feel like we don’t have the necessary experience to participate.  I’m telling you to place those fears into Al Gore’s lock-box!  Rather take up Rosie the Riveter’s motto, ‘cause, “Yes You Can!”  Take that chance and respond.  The worst thing that can happen is that you don’t get selected…this time.

3.  Be persistent and don’t take rejection personally.

If you don’t get selected for an opportunity, don’t take the rejection personally.  Most opportunities have limited openings.  You might not have been selected this time, but next time you might be needed.  In fact, the more chances you take the more often you are to be rejected.  Remember that a numbers game is always being played.  Keep on working to develop your skill with the existing opportunities.  Eventually, you’ll find you have a skill that is critically needed, and/or you’ve meet someone that can “put in a good word for you.”

4.  Look for social networks. 

Develop and maintain professional and personal relationships with different people.  One never knows when a person in your social network will help you out.  In my case, I was recommended for the SAA Values Task Force because of my youth and inexperience in the profession by a professor I had during library school.  Without this connection, my name likely wouldn’t have come up.  We all know the saying, “It’s not what you know, it’s who you know.”  Sometimes this is the case, so try to know as many people as possible.

5.  Participate with pride, conviction, and honesty.

When it comes down to what you know, doing things with pride, conviction, and honesty will help out.  While my name was in the mix for the SAA Values Task Force based on who I knew, it was the “what I knew” that really got me into the group.  I had taken a course on archival ethics with the professor that offered my name.  He knew that I have the ability to critically examine important ethical value positions without being overly impressed by convention or other people’s convictions.  I can argue with the best, but try not to belittle or demean any other position.  I simply go on the facts as presented.  But, you must do your homework and be ready to offer your honest critiques.  Do this, and respect will follow.  Then people will come to you because they can trust you to be a positive member and to do good work. 

6.  Know your limits; or know when to say “no.” 

Once you get your foot in the door, it will quickly become apparent that more help is always needed.  In professional associations, there is often a snowball effect.  This happens in organizations too.  One committee leads to two committees – leads to a task force – leads to a presentation – leads to a paper – leads to another committee.  I’m sure you’ve seen this before.  Knowing how and when to say, “no” can be a very critical step in our development.  And, knowing when to step away can help too.  The point here is to say “no” before you start something that feels “off” or you feel yourself being too drained.  In my opinion, it is better to say “no” beforehand then it is to quit in the middle because you “burned out.”  Once you gain a good reputation, people will understand if you can’t help them every now and again.  They know when you are ready or interested they’ll be able to count on you.

I’m sure you have some other points which are helpful as well.

Can Your Frontline Recover?

Posted by on Tuesday, 3 August, 2010

I’m sure something like this has happened to you – a negative experience with a company that could have been saved so easily.

Last week my daughter developed pink eye after our normal pharmacy was already closed so I was sent to the other pharmacy in our area.  The pharmacist mistakenly declared there was no co-pay for the purchase and sent us on our way.  A few days later, I received an angry phone call from someone else at the pharmacy who was shocked that this mistake had happened. They went on to slam the poor guy that made the mistake, and demanded I come in immediately to pay for the prescription.  So back to the pharmacy I went.  I had to explain the situation to four different employees and wait for 45 minutes while they discussed how to proceed right in front of me.  Turns out their system couldn’t accept my $10.00 at this point due to how the initial mistake was entered. Again, they mentioned how stupid the first guy must have been and now the person that called me was an idiot in their eyes too.  Eventually, they agreed that I had waited long enough and it was time to let the $10.00 go.  They apologized for the inconvenience and sent me on my way. 

There were a few opportunities throughout this whole ordeal that the negative experience could have been turned around, but those opportunities were wasted.  Finally, waiving the co-pay could be viewed as a last ditch effort to save the interaction, but it was too late – the amount of time I ended up wasting with this pharmacy and how negative they made me feel certainly won’t be forgotten. 

Parts of this experience could have possibly been blamed on just one of the employees or even attributed randomly to the circumstances – but the whole experience had me really questioning this particular company and even more specifically their lack in arming their front-line staff with the training and tools necessary for recovery.   Studies show that some of the strongest customer loyalty comes not from smooth customer service experiences but from those times when something went wrong and the company did a stellar job in making things right.  

According to Celeste Cook, President/CEO of cuSrategies and opening keynoter for this year’s CUNA FUSE “Frontline staff is the face of your institution.  They have mega influence on whether you prosper, earn client loyalty, and develop new relationships.  Everything frontline employees do and say or don’t do and say impacts growth and retention.”  Cook shared these insights about the connection between employees and growth and retention in a recent article for Branch Manager’s Letter.  She goes on to state that “The touch points and opportunities afforded frontline staff to build and strengthen client relationships are far greater and have a far greater impact on growth and retention than any other delivery channel.”

With frontline staff at credit unions playing such an important role it is imperative that they be ready to handle all member interactions, even the really negative ones, as an opportunity for growth.  What about the frontline staff at your credit union?

  •  Do they see the importance of the job they are doing and how strongly that can impact the success of your credit union? 
  •  Have they been provided with adequate training? 
  •  Are they rewarded for exemplary service to members? 
  •  Are they empowered to do what is necessary to turn a negative member experience into a positive opportunity for the credit union?

I’m hoping that the answer is yes to most of the above questions, if not, what are you doing to ensure a simple $10.00 transaction doesn’t turn in to the loss of a loyal member?

Reflections of a CUNA Management School Graduate

Posted by on Friday, 25 June, 2010

CUNA Management School Class of 2008

After spending almost three years working at CUNA and marketing CUNA Management School, I was asked to go through the program as an attendee in 2006.  I remember arriving on a hot, steamy July Sunday to gather my materials and check in to my dorm room.  That wasn’t a typo, I stayed in a dorm room for two weeks, and actually enjoyed it.  Unlike my college days at the same UW-Madison, this school offered a completely different experience.

After attending the evening mixer, I began to notice quickly the diversity amongst the group.  Though we were all from the credit union movement, there were CEOs, marketers, branch managers, lending officers, business development managers, compliance officers and many others.  Plus, there were veterans of the movement, new hires, young parents, grandparents, and even one woman who was pregnant.  All in different stages of our careers and lives, we embarked on this experience to…? That was the question I wanted to answer.  After all, I promote this program to credit union professionals each year.  What were they hoping to gain or learn during these two weeks, and what would bring them back for the following two summers?

Needless to say, I certainly got an education at CUNA Management School.  Not only was I educated about what people gained and learned at the program, I experienced it.

I learned about and experienced idea sharing.  Unbeknownst to me at the time, I sat next to 3 other marketers during my first day of class, and sat next to the same 3 my last day.  We loved learning from each other, and discussing the concepts presented in class as they related to marketing.

I learned about and experienced leadership and teamwork.  Sure, at first I thought it was hokey to have a class motto and chant.  But sure enough, after serving as our class treasurer, fundraising for the scholarship fund, assisting with the welcome committee and planning our class celebration, I felt the credit union philosophy come alive along with a camaraderie that continued long after the day we headed home.

I learned about and experienced credit unions.  I knew business concepts before I attended CUNA Management School.  In fact, many of my class members already had masters in business.  However, we learned about the credit union way of doing business as we sifted through ALM, ratios, human resources, marketing, innovation and crisis management.  Not just how to do it, but how a credit union should do it.

As the day approaches that a whole new CUNA Management School class begins, I remember my last day of the program.  I was the pregnant woman (with only two weeks until my due date, now that’s dedication) and others were now CEOs and COOs. We all took something a little different away from the program, yet we were all taking away something just the same: We learned about and experienced people helping people.

Incentive Programs – First Up or Last Resort?

Posted by on Tuesday, 1 June, 2010

Angela Prestil

From Angela Prestil:

I recently had the pleasure of being one of the two co-instructors at CUNA’s Sales and Service Culture Institute. One of the questions asked by the majority of the attendees was regarding incentive programs. Should we implement them? How do we implement them? What’s the best way to implement them? How do we make them fair? I guess that’s lots of questions, but you get the idea. My first realization: We’re confused about incentives.

My first question if you’re seriously thinking about implementing incentives is “Why?” Why are you thinking about paying staff to do something that should be in their job descriptions? Recommending the right products at the right time to the right members is in your job descriptions, isn’t it? Maybe? Maybe not? My second realization: We’re confused about what’s in staff job descriptions.

We are quite positive that all supervisors and managers are coaching all staff on the processes taught for recommending products, right? What’s that you say? Branch managers can’t possibly be expected to coach with everything else on their plates? And you don’t really have a process for recommending products, unless we count that little pop-up window that keeps recommending the same credit card to the same members? My third realization: We’re confused about coaching and the processes we use.

Here’s my thought: Before you start throwing money at your staff like clowns throwing candy at a parade, get your ducks in a row:

  1. Be sure the whole credit union is supporting efforts to exceed your members’ needs. There are entire books and classes on creating organizational alignment around goals, so take your time and get some help if necessary.
  2. Figure out what you’d like your member experience to be for every delivery channel and touch-point. Then, make it happen consistently. Not sure what a member experience looks like? Check out a free webinar from CUNA’s Creating Member Loyalty™ for a quick look.
  3. Ensure managers have a repeatable, consistent process for creating a positive employee experience. Clear managers’ plates so they can provide timely coaching to each employee to deliver your desired member experience.

Got all of that done? And done well? If not, I’ll give you about 18-24 months to get that in place. Don’t worry, I’ll wait! I’ve heard that posts like these live forever. Come back when you’re done, and then we can talk more about incentives.

Back so soon? I’m not trying to be flippant. I know this takes a lot of work and a lot of concentrated effort by lots of people in the credit union. And I’d encourage you to do some homework and think about what you’re not seeing now that you’d like to see. Will incentives really get you there? If you’re not sure, drop me a line and we can talk about how to get you there. What have you got to lose? Perhaps we’ll both be confused at a higher level!

Angela Prestil is the Sales Culture Development Director for the Credit Union National Association.

CUNA School Goes 3 Dimensional

Posted by on Thursday, 6 May, 2010

When I started hearing buzz about Avatar, I had no interest in jumping on the 3D bandwagon.  The thought of Titanic in space came to mind – and that just wasn’t going to push me to go to the trouble of working out the logistics of a night out. (I still can’t believe the amount of pre-planning needed for something as simple as going to a movie when you have a 2 year old.)  After the movie was out for awhile, we had a sitter lined up and I finally gave in to the hype.  Despite the fact that I had no clue the IMAX would be still sold out, and I had to sit in the 2nd row fighting some pretty bad motion sickness – I absolutely loved it!  So much that I went back the next week with a much better seat, and had the best movie experience ever.  I know I sound like a geek – but come on, it really was fantastic!

After getting caught up in all the hype,  I was so excited to see a 3D concept for CUNA’s Marketing Management School.  This year’s school is going to be such a fun event, held just minutes from Disney, with a great opening keynote from Bill Capodagli, author of Innovate the Pixar Way.  I think the 3D concept (complete with a brochure including glasses!)  is the perfect way to convey both the playful side of the school as well as the fact that this program will truly help you add a whole new dimension to your credit  union marketing efforts.

Within days of our direct mail piece going out, I received more feedback than I ever have regarding a mailer.  Thank you to all who reached out to let us know how much you liked it.  We’re still having fun with it – and want to keep sharing our excitement with you.  We’re putting the 3D glasses included in the brochure to use with a newly announced contest.  The winner will receive a complimentary registration to CUNA’s Marketing Management School.  Put on your 3D glasses and check out the details (hurry – contest ends May 10th).

We all receive a ton of mail, so hearing that so many of you liked this particular piece was pretty cool.  Have you gotten something in the mail recently that really stood out  or has your credit union put together a mailer that had great results?  What was it that made the difference?

>Keep Talented Young Employees

Posted by on Friday, 27 June, 2008

>Christopher here again with another self serving and redundant post.

Recently, Credit Union Magazine asked members of Filene’s 30 under 30 group for their thoughts on keeping talented young adult employees. I was one of the members who responded and my thoughts were subsequently published online.

> Click here to read the interview

Fellow members Robin Hickey and Megan Primeau are featured as well. Thanks to Bill Merrick for the opportunity and hope you find the responses useful.

What are your thoughts on keeping talented young adult employees? Are credit unions doing a good job?