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October 2023

    A Note from Chris

    October is a very special month for credit unions. It is the month in which we celebrate International Credit Union Day® (ICU Day). A day of celebration, reflection, and gratitude. It provides us with an opportunity to pause and appreciate the principles that form the foundation of our credit union movement. As we come together as a global community, we reflect upon the movement’s history, promote achievements, recognize hard work, and share member experiences.

    This year’s theme “Empower Your Financial Future with a Credit Union™” looks toward empowering your members and your communities to build better financial futures with your credit unions. Your credit unions have weathered storms, adapted to changing circumstances, and remained committed to the financial well-being of your members. And you have done so while consistently upholding the principles of cooperation, community, and financial inclusion that define the credit union philosophy.

    I encourage each of you to share the memories that you have made with your members. I certainly find the stories of how credit unions impact the lives of members to be inspirational and key examples of our “difference.” Thank you for the awesome work you do. As we look ahead to the future, I am confident that, together, we will continue to build a brighter financial tomorrow for all members.


    Chris Felton

    Did You Know?

    We can help you deliver competitive health insurance plans to your members and business accounts.
    Through a partnership with InterLutions, your credit union can re-engage with current business members and attract new accounts by delivering an important service to your community. Credit unions earn non-interest income for every member insured under the health plan. And even more importantly, credit unions secure deeper relationships with your business community by providing a much-needed service.

    The custom-built health plans from our CUSO's insurance agency have been proven to lower insurance costs for credit union business members. Contact Ken Meyer at InterLutions to learn more.

    Contact Us

    Financial Services Consulting

    October Investments 101 webinar series.
    QuantyPhi’s Investment 101 webinar series continues. In September, we looked at the importance of adopting longer term analytics to make better strategic decisions. If you missed it, let us know and we will get you access to a re-play. This month’s edition will focus on using analytics to align your investment portfolio with the needs of your balance sheet. If you are not familiar with the process, attendance is highly recommended.

    Register Today

    Recapping the market's movements in September.
    The Fed announced they were leaving their overnight rate target at 5.25 to 5.50% at their September meeting. The news was widely expected with more interest in the accompanying statement and Fed Chairman Powell’s press conference following the announcement. Both came with a more hawkish undertone as the Fed raised their forecast for a stronger economy with employment remaining solid, consumer spending resilient, and inflation sticky. The Fed committee survey reflected anticipation of an additional rate hike by year-end and expectation that rates will likely remain higher to bring inflation down to their 2.0% target.

    The bond market pulled back as the consensus sentiment of a Fed pivot early next year followed by aggressive accommodation weakened. The Fed funds futures market trading implied the anticipated Fed pivot three months further out and the January 2025 funds level shifting from 4.09% to 4.62%. The yield curve also reacted to the move with the inverted curve flattening suggesting some adoption of the “higher for longer” rate path going forward. For the month, one-year Treasury yields climbed about 10 basis points, 2-years 25 basis points, and the 5-year maturity 40 basis points. Longer paper saw yields rise 45 to 50 basis points for the month.

    With the market sentiment and the Fed’s projected rate path coming closer together, we must continue to be prepared for any possibility. History has shown that neither the Fed, the futures market, nor the yield curve’s implied rates can be counted on any more than a coin flip. With a war still raging in Ukraine, Europe struggling with economic conditions like our own, and a presidential campaign soon to shift into full gear, nothing is certain.

    One area that should remain near the top of your focus list is liquidity. A higher for longer rate path is likely to make liquidity worse before it gets better. We have all experienced the effects of the Fed’s historic tightening. The Fed and the markets are suggesting that it is likely going to be with us for some time.

    Employee Benefit Resources

    Is your employee health plan coming up for renewal?
    Let us help with a free and consultative evaluation of cost, network, and plan design options.
    InterLutions recently welcomed 30 credit unions to its I-Care Health Plan solution. Formed by credit unions for credit unions, I-Care is a collaborative employee healthcare solution that allows credit unions to provide better employee benefits at a lower cost.

    Why are so many credit unions choosing I-Care?

    • Unlimited major medical coverage for groups of all sizes
    • Exclusive plans built for credit union employees, members, and business accounts
    • Multiple plan designs and competitive price points making it easy to find the right fit
    • Trusted and licensed advisors ready to provide expertise before and after you have chosen your plan

    Plan renewals are just around the corner. Don’t wait until it’s too late. Call us today for a complimentary consultation customized to your credit union’s needs.

    Learn More

    Technology Solutions

    We can help silo-bust IT.
    Wait – you bought what?

    It’s not uncommon for technology decisions to be made independently by all business units. Departments buy the technology and apps they need to do their jobs. However, the impact on IT, cybersecurity and risk are not always properly considered. These decisions are made, unintentionally, in silos. The impact includes potential security threats, burden on technology resources, integration and compatibility concerns, overlap among systems, and lack of alignment of technology.

    As a result, IT departments are forced to firefight and react, balancing constant flows of requests, and trying to keep prioritization among the credit union without clear organizational direction. Departments feel like they cannot ever get their projects completed, and Risk Management is concerned about vendor management. Systems don’t work together like they promise, functionality is never fully realized, and no one owns ongoing deployment and innovation of platforms (wasting the investment and creating massive overlap). Credit unions usually use about 20% of the systems they deploy and have tremendous functionality overlap, wasting huge investments in tech.

    Here are just a few of the challenges faced by credit unions:

    • Decisions are made in silos and are not in alignment with overall strategy or organizational priorities.
    • New technology may not integrate with current systems.
    • Overlap of functionality across platforms because business units buy for one feature, not realizing the full benefits, and these benefits are not communicated to all departments who may be able to use other features, or departments buy similar products not knowing others have already purchased them.  
    • No department owns the ongoing feature updates of all platforms, keeping them updated for security and features, and then sharing the new innovations that could be felt with new features. It is common for people to have platforms with new capabilities that they are unfamiliar with. 
    • Training becomes an issue because no one knows all the systems in use.
    • Security is far more challenging.

    If your credit union is dealing with any of the issues above - Think|Stack can help.

    We have created a series of workshops that help credit unions first build an overall strategy that sets the IT direction for the organization to define what they want, and what priorities exist now and in the future. We then work through each department to understand their needs and help identify how technology can help them, creating a two to three-year IT roadmap to bridge the gap between where they are, and where they want to be. Finally, we build frameworks and processes to avoid these issues from arising in the future, developing processes to create more alignment and involvement in future IT decisions.

    This will give you:

    • Organizational alignment around IT that busts existing silos.
    • Cost savings from overlapping applications/application creep.
    • Innovation by tapping into unused features and updates in existing applications.

    Learn More

    What’s Trending?

    Four reasons why evaluating your tech stack should be on your 2024 strategic planning agenda.
    As we approach the season of strategic planning and budgeting, it is essential to include the assessment of your tech infrastructure and contract costs as a key agenda item. The process of updating your tech stack is crucial for achieving operational efficiency, enhancing member satisfaction, and promoting overall business expansion.

    Aligning your technology stack with growth strategies involves a thorough evaluation of current technologies for their effectiveness and efficiency, with the aim of streamlining workflows, automating tasks, and enhancing the user experience.

    For safeguarding members’ interests and ensuring optimal performance, a meticulous review of contract terms and Service Level Agreements (SLAs) is critical. This assessment guarantees that technology contracts are not only cost-effective but also provide the reliability and security required to meet regulatory standards.

    Read the Article

    Credit Unions Connect

    Stories that exemplify the movement

    Hosting the Hometown Hustle.

    For the seventh year in a row, Chief Financial Credit Union had the exciting opportunity to sponsor and host the Hometown Hustle 5K run to benefit local schools. The Rochester Community Schools Foundation raised a record-breaking $76,000!

    Golfing for a cause.

    Team members from Limestone Federal Credit Union came together and helped raise $1,420 in donations for the Food Pantry at St. Vincent de Paul at a local golf outing. It is inspiring to see a team come together to raise money for a local cause.

    Read More Credit Union Stories

    What’s New and Who’s Who

    Guess who’s back?! Heather Ristow, CCUE rejoined Corporate Central as Senior Vice President/Chief Experience Officer.

    We are very excited to share that Heather Ristow, CCUE has rejoined our team as Senior Vice President/Chief Experience Officer. Heather has over 20 years of experience in banking and financial services including a previous role at Corporate Central as a Relationship Development Officer. In this member focused leadership position, Heather creates an inviting member experience by playing a pivotal role in ensuring excellence within the entire organization by managing the member journey, while helping shape the employee journey with exceptional quality products and services. She serves as a member ambassador, connecting Corporate Central with members, improving member relations, and contributing to business growth. She works closely with the leadership team to improve processes and systems/software utilization, while investigating and driving new technologies, new products, and new opportunities to bring to market. Welcome back, Heather!

    Read the Press Release

    Amy Nowak earned her aPHR certification.

    Congratulations to Amy Nowak, aPHR, Human Resources Generalist, for successfully earning the Associate Professional in Human Resources (aPHR) certification from the Human Resources Certification Institute (HRCI). This accomplishment underscores Corporate Central’s commitment to fostering excellence in the field of human resources. The aPHR certification is widely recognized as a rigorous and comprehensive credential for HR professionals at the beginning of their careers. It signifies Amy’s dedication to enhancing her expertise and knowledge in human resources management, employment laws, and HR best practices.

    Prior to joining the Corporate Central HR team in July 2023, Amy had the honor of teaching elementary students for 27 years. She earned her bachelor's degree in Elementary Education from Edgewood College in Madison. She then went on to earn her master’s degree in Education from UW- La Crosse.Amy embarked on this journey with a determination to excel and a passion for the HR profession. Through diligent study and a commitment to continuous learning, she demonstrated her capabilities and dedication to her career. Her success is a testament to her hard work and the support of Corporate Central. Amy’s achievement enhances Corporate Central’s HR department's capacity to navigate the complexities of modern HR practices, ensuring the continued success of the organization. Way to go, Amy!

    Read the Press Release

    Brittany Poe earned her NCBSO designation.

    We are pleased to announce that Brittany Poe, BSACS, Risk & Compliance Coordinator, has earned the prestigious NAFCU Certified Bank Secrecy Officer (NCBSO) designation, solidifying her commitment to excellence in financial security. The NCBSO designation is widely recognized as a mark of distinction in the field of financial security. It reflects a high level of expertise and dedication to maintaining the highest standards in bank secrecy and anti-money laundering (BSA/AML) compliance. Congratulations, Brittany!

    Read the Press Release

    Read more about Corporate Central's team.


Upcoming Events

NASCUS – WI Executive Forum

3/12/2024 9:00 AM - 3/12/2024 3:00 PM Central Time (CST) | TruStage 5810 Mineral Point Road Madison, WI 53705

NASCUS, the Wisconsin Department of Financial Institutions Office of Credit Unions, and the Wisconsin Credit Union League are hosting this full-day collaborative meeting to bring industry leaders and directors across our state system together to discuss the most pressing issues facing our industry today.

Monthly Market Monitor

3/13/2024 3:30 PM - 3/13/2024 4:00 PM Central Time (CST) | Webinar

The Monthly Market Monitor is a webinar geared toward credit union investment managers. It will provide up-to-date economic highlights, yield curve analysis, investment product recommendations, and outlook.

Debunking Health Plan Renewal Myths | Webinar

3/19/2024 11:00 AM - 3/19/2024 11:30 AM Central Time (CST) | Webinar

Join InterLutions, the industry’s premier employee benefits CUSO, as they debunk three common myths relating to health plan renewals

Making Your Email Marketing More Effective: A Guide for Credit Unions

3/19/2024 2:00 PM - 3/19/2024 3:00 PM Central Time (CST) | Webinar

Join us for our “Making Your Email Marketing More Effective: A Guide for Credit Unions" webinar and in just one hour you will learn beyond the basics and understand how to really amplify the email marketing messages you send.

Investments 201 Webinar Series

3/21/2024 2:00 PM - 3/21/2024 2:45 PM Central Time (CST) | Webinar

Join QuantyPhi for the Investments 201 Webinar Series, a monthly deep dive into the world of balance sheet and investment portfolio management.

Why 45 Small Credit Unions Chose a CUSO’s Health Plan | Webinar

5/21/2024 1:00 PM - 5/21/2024 1:30 PM Central Time (CST) | Webinar

Join InterLutions for a complimentary 30-minute webinar to learn how our customized solutions are helping small credit unions offer affordable and quality employee health plans.

Credit Union Day at the Ballpark 2024

8/11/2024 1:10 PM Central Time (CST) | American Family Field 1 Brewers Way Milwaukee, WI 53214

Credit Union Day at the Ballpark 2024

2024 Economic Outlook Conference

Thursday, September 12, 2024, All Day Central Time (CST) | The Ingleside Hotel 2810 Golf Road Pewaukee, WI 53072

Save the date for Corporate Central's 2024 Economic Outlook Conference.

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