DANA POINT, Calif.–Attendees at Raddon’s invitation-only CEO Forum here left with a number of key takeaways around what’s needed for strong leadership, what the economy likely holds, and why CUs should consider working with local health professionals when it comes to education around debt.
Among the takeaways, according to the company:
- Key takeaway: Strong leadership that embraces continuous feedback and measurement leads to organizational growth and improvement. Raddon’s GM Edward “Skip” Wipson noted during his opening remarks the goal of the event and everything the company seeks to do is to provide financial institutions with strategic guidance for profitable growth. To that end, the CEO Forum kicked off with a Performance Analytics CEO Roundtable session, allowing executives to compare notes on strategic initiatives and use benchmarking data to tailor strategies that will drive growth to their business, the company noted.
Among some of the more interesting discussions during this session, the group heard from the CEOs of three institutions that each shared insights on their path to high performance. A consistent theme among these three top performers and Raddon Crystal Performance Award winners was the consistent and measured use of data to better understand their performance and identify specific areas of opportunity.
- Key takeaway: The importance of open and honest two-way communication is a key to stronger employee engagement and organizational success.Fiserv Credit Union Solutions President Vinnie Brennan challenged the leaders in attendance to think about what they would do if they were not afraid, as fear can often paralyze individuals and organizations from achieving their full potential.
- Key takeaway: Consider working directly with local mental health providers to provide education about debt and mental health.Bestselling author and psychotherapist Amy Morin discussed the link between financial health and mental health, and made a strong case for why financial institutions should care. Citing research that concluded the likelihood of having a mental health problem such as anxiety and depression is three times higher among people who have debt, Morin talked about ways in which financial institutions can assist with this national crisis.
- Key takeaway: Promoting financial health is good for the financial services industry, not only because financially healthy consumers are necessary for sustainable long-term growth, but also because it has a positive impact on our communities and society as a whole. To continue the conversation after her presentation, Morin joined a panel alongside Community First Credit Union CEO Cathie Tierney and Travis Credit Union CEO Barry Nelson to discuss some of the ways in which their organizations are addressing these financial health challenges. Tierney shared an inspiring letter from an individual who had rebounded from a dark mental state after being assisted with her financial woes, reminding the audience of the awesome power that financial institutions have in helping to alter someone’s life for the better.
Nelsonshared his credit union’s initiatives to help improve the financial literacy and wellbeing of their own employees, recognizing the impact that this can have on their organization and the communities in which they serve.
- Key takeaway: Strategic mergers for marketplace and economies of scale are being discussed more prevalently. FormerNCUA Chairman Dennis Dollar outlined some of the regulatory and legislative challenges that financial institutions are facing with a divided Congress, and what the industry might expect from the Democrat majority in the House and Republican majority in the Senate. Dollar also highlighted the continuing industry consolidation and merger trends, underscoring the importance of growth as a means to survive and effectively compete.
- Key takeaway: The implications will be significant for financial institutions; there is likely to be renewed pressure on margins as loan refinancing may again re-emerge as a significant activity and put downward pressure on loan yields, but at the same time it may be difficult to lower deposit rates.Former Vice Chairman of the FDIC Thomas Hoenig shared his insights and predictions on interest rates and the economy during his presentation.
Hoenig discussed the probability of rate reductions for the remainder of 2019 and 2020, and said global environment, particularly in regard to trade policy, will require continued low rates in the U.S. However, he did not think the U.S. will move into a negative rate environment as is being seen in other parts of the world.
- Key takeaway: Effective management centers on agility and the ability to innovate. Raddon VP of Research and Chief Economist Bill Handel presented his view on what the next five years will hold for the industry, using research to help separate the true trends from inconsequential noise. Among his top 10 trends for 2025 to watch for, according to Handel, are why deeper and more precise marketing analytics will be key to institutional success.
Citing brand new Raddon research on the financial behavior of Gen Z, Handel pointed to findings that nearly one-half of consumers between the ages 16 to 19 are willing to use a checking account offered by Amazon, a percentage much higher than previous generations. It’s evidence that innovation is critical for financial institutions to survive and succeed, Handel said.