Reemerging and Transforming

CUES managing editor and publisher Theresa Witham
Theresa Witham Photo
Managing Editor/Publisher

3 minutes

From the editor

Reemergence is the theme here in the mid-Atlantic, where the 17-year cicadas known as “Brood X” have surfaced from their underground world at the same time many of us are (finally!) reemerging from our homes after a long year and a half of pandemic restrictions. 

Unfortunately, cicadas do not transform into beautiful butterflies like the one on the cover of this magazine. However, many of us have experienced a metamorphosis of sorts, at least in our way of thinking during our time in lockdown. For example, the past year taught us that working from home can work for credit union employees and boards. Plus, we’ve woken up to the need for more resources and dialog about diversity, equity and inclusion

In many ways, the events of 2020 have us rethinking almost everything, which is exactly what credit unions need to do if they want to transform into a truly digital organization. 

“Digital transformation touches not only all of the credit union’s products and services, but also its people, processes and technology,” explains Jim Burson, managing director with CUES Supplier member and strategic provider Cornerstone Advisors, in our cover story. Read more about how to move beyond thinking of digital transformation as just a buzzword and instead considering how it can lead to true strategic change in “Five Hallmarks of Digital Transformation.” 

Does your credit union’s lending need a digital update? If you are in the mortgage market, it very much could—especially if you can’t keep up with the speed at which homes are selling. “The ability of your lenders to close a loan within the contract date without having extensions is very, very important,” says Steve Hewins, SVP of CUESolutions provider CU Members Mortgage. “The faster you can get over the finish line consistently, the more business you’re going to win—because word spreads.” Read more in our special report about lending, starting with “Put the Deposit Deluge to Work.”

Your credit union’s marketing may need to transform, too. “As we put the pandemic in the rearview mirror, we should set our sights on what’s in front of us, tap into how consumers are feeling and behaving now, and use what we’ve learned to retool our member experience and marketing,” writes Bryn C. Conway, MBA, CUDE, principal of BC Consulting LLC. In “Check Your Blindspots,” she discusses several lessons learned from the pandemic and how credit unions can use these insights to rethink their marketing. 

But there’s more. Transformation is also coming to ERM. “Risk management is one of those things that can’t be ancillary anymore,” says CUES member Omar Ramsay. In February 2020, $1.1 billion United States Senate Federal Credit Union hired Ramsay as chief risk management officer. “Oftentimes the function fell under the duties of someone else, either the CFO or the COO, but when risk management is not an executive’s central focus, it’s hard to give it the attention it deserves. There’s a different skillset involved with risk management and compliance, and I think it’s notable that people are starting to recognize that,” he adds in “Pandemic Highlights Value of Enterprise View.”cues icon

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