CU*Answers recognized Jim Blaine, retired CEO of the State Employees Credit Union in Raleigh, North Carolina, as the winner of its 8th annual “Spirit of CU*Answers” award, for his long-time contributions to the credit union industry.
Mr. Blaine accepted the award at the CU*Answers 2018 Leadership Conference on June 27th, after sharing with the conference participants his thoughts about credit union core values and the changes he believes credit unions must make to build a sustainable future. “We have a tremendous opportunity, and a tremendous problem, and that problem is that credit unions are unique in the financial segment,” said Blaine is his remarks to the assembled group of nearly 200 CEOs and other credit union professionals from across the country. He explained the problem is that it’s very hard to explain something unique to somebody who’s never experienced it. Like explaining how something tastes to someone who’s never eaten it, you have to put it in the context of your audience. “If you say it tastes just like fried chicken, then everyone immediately understands what you are talking about,” explained Blaine. “Our members have no idea for the most part what being a credit union is. Their only frame of reference is that four-letter word: what they do understand is bank. Your challenge in trying to stay in business and do great things for your members is being able to define something that you are which is unique.”
The Spirit of CU*Answers award, established in 2011, recognizes a client credit union for excellence in a variety of areas. Mr. Blaine was selected as this year’s winner based on his long career of inspiring credit unions and influencing the industry. In the past the award has also allowed the CUSO to recognize credit unions who have strong volunteer programs, who’ve demonstrated particularly strong execution and performance or a high level of adoption of CU*Answers tools, who show innovative examples of collaboration and cooperation, who have found new ways to demonstrate commitment to the 7 Cooperative Principles, or who’ve started new businesses in the network.
About CU*Answers, Inc.
CU*Answers offers expertise in implementing technical solutions to operational needs, and is a leader in helping credit unions form strategic alliances and partnerships. CU*Answers provides a wide variety of services for credit unions including its flagship CU*BASE® processing system (online and in-house) and Internet development services featuring It’s Me 247 online and mobile banking. Additional services include web development, network design and security, and image check processing. Founded 45+ years ago, CU*Answers is a 100% credit union-owned cooperative CUSO providing services to credit unions representing over 1.9 million members and $19 billion in credit union assets. For more information, visit www.cuanswers.com.