2023 NACUSO Network Conference Highlights

“NACUSO is one the highlights of my year! It brings together innovative solutions and credit unions and is a catalyst for what ends up being the future of the industry.” Jack Smith, CEO, Pure IT

This year’s NACUSO Network held at the Wynn Las Vegas Resort was our largest to date! Packing out the networking exhibits lounge completely and offering engaging sessions throughout the event, gave the 580 attendees plenty of opportunities to do what this event is favorited for, Networking! Please enjoy our event highlights and news coverage and if you missed this year’s event, join us next year at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Convention Center in Orlando. If you aren’t already a member, don’t forget to join NACUSO, so you can enjoy benefits year round!

The News is Out

Jack Antonini announced his retirement after serving as NACUSO’s President and CEO for the past 13 years. He will be missed, not only for his leadership of our organization, but also for his outstanding contributions to the CUSO and credit union industry. During Jack’s time at NACUSO, he has guided the organization through unprecedented growth and worked tirelessly with legislators to make sure that credit unions and CUSOs have fair governing laws. While he may be officially stepping away, don’t be surprised if you still see him around, especially at NACUSO Network at Disney World – one of his favorite places!

At the event Jack shared insights, memories, and advice during the Underground CUSO Mayhem hosted by Mitchell Stankovic & Associates. Jack is a wonderful speaker and has an incredible career history from his time as CEO of USAA Savings Bank and his many dedicated years at NACUSO. You can hear some of the quick fireside chat conversation below.

Discussions on Achieving Greatness with Jerry Rice, Featured Mastercard Keynote Speaker

Attendees had the chance to hear words of wisdom and have breakfast with Jerry Rice. Rice was drafted by the San Francisco 49ers and Hall of Fame coach Bill Walsh as the 16th overall pick in the 1985 NFL Draft. During his career, Rice was selected to the Pro Bowl a record 13 times, won the NFL Most Valuable Player Award in 1987 and was Super Bowl MVP in Super Bowl XXIII. In 1999, he was ranked No. 2 in The Sporting News’ list of 100 Greatest Football Players – the highest-ranked active player and receiver – and in 2010, was voted the No. 1 player in the NFL Network’s The Top 100: NFL’s Greatest Players. In 2019, he was voted Greatest Player in NFL History by USA Today Sports and was also named to the NFL’s All Time Team.

Four CUSOs Receive Prestigious CUSO Award

The CUSO model brings together a unique combination of leaders with a cooperative heart combined with business acumen that is unparalleled. We recognize these CUSOs annually at our conference to inspire others to continue to make certain our future is secure. CUSOs nominated for the awards are then evaluated by NACUSO’s award committee, which is no easy feat. The awards committee conducted interviews with each nominee and ultimately chose four CUSOs to be awarded for their cooperative efforts. These CUSOs have added extraordinary value to their members, created an innovative solution to a problem, and have helped credit unions reduce operational costs and increase income.

Centennial Lending was formed in March 2000, initially as a commercial lending CUSO and began offering mortgage services a few years later and have been a direct seller to FNMA for nearly 20 years. In 2010 one of their owners asked them to help with leased vehicles and now they have 14,000 leases in place. Today they have 25 CU owners and work with over 100 CUs and service $100 million in loans in nine states. Centennial has Net Promoter Scores of 75 in mortgages and 85 in commercial lending and are passionate about their commitment to their credit union partners and helping them achieve their financial goals.

Arkatecture loves data! Everyday they play and learn from it to make it reliable, human and fun for credit unions. Arkatecture was started in 2012 with a passion for information, business, and getting things done. Today, they are still a team of data lovers and technical experts who help you harness, utilize and optimize your data.

At its core Reseda Group believes in building better for members. Supporting the best and brightest in FinTech and dynamic solution providers in the financial services space will get us there. Reseda Group invests in innovative partners, and supports their growth, which in turn allows them to support credit unions and their member communities in reaching their financial goals.

Origence has been helping credit unions originate loans and streamline back-office operations for nearly 30 years. In 1994 CU Direct was started and helped put several credit unions on one terminal, which met dealers’ needs and facilitated credit unions making loans to their members at the dealerships. Jump forward 30 years and CU Direct has evolved to Origence – a combination of Origination and Experience, rolled into one technology company helping credit unions originate loans. In 2022 Origence funded $78 billion in loans, up from a record $56 billion in 2021, originating more vehicle loans than any other lender! Origence has 1100 credit unions on their platform, 13,000 dealers with 19,000 dealership locations! Origence has 650 employees in 41 states supporting their 1100 credit unions and their 115 credit union owners.

Conversations of Regulatory Updates and Ensuring Relevance for Credit Unions

Guest Speakers: Brian Lauer, NACUSO General Counsel, Rodney E. Hood, NCUA Board Member and Kyle S. Hauptman, NCUA Vice Chairman

We were fortunate to have two NCUA Board Members come and share with the audience their passion for the credit union industry and discussing with attendees how we can remain relevant through innovation to meet member needs. We also thank them for the significant accomplishments in protecting CUSOs and giving credit unions the chance to compete.

Leveraging the Power of Collaboration among Small Credit Unions

This two part workshop and roundtable session was a HIT! Collaboration is the credit union industry superpower, and this was all about how credit unions of all sizes are using CUSOs to achieve economies of scale, enhance their member experience through innovative technology solutions and leverage subject matter expertise that would otherwise be out of reach. This session was facilitated by Mike Kelly with panelists: Kevin Landel, Lily Newfarmer, Tom Sakash, Sandra Szymanski, Peter Barnard, James McBride, Scott Prior and Kevin Scott.

Highlighting Opportunities for the CUSO Industry

Market uncertainty and increased costs continue to challenge small businesses, and many will rely on extended credit lines and loans to weather the current environment and grow their businesses. According to Mastercard’s Rise of Open Banking Small Business Report, 85% of small business owners are looking for more choices that deliver faster and easier access to capital. And, according to the Federal Reserve bank’s Small Business Credit Survey, the share of small business applicants receiving all the traditional funding they sought fell from 51% in 2019 to 36% in 2020 to 30% in 2021. Attendees at this session learned about ways in which credit unions can serve this small business market. 

Diving into the Digital and Metaverse

This session was all about cryptocurrency and the growing role of technology in finance. Professor Lamont Black, who spent 8 years working for the Federal Reserve in Washington DC, provided insights into the history of money and why the use of digital wallets to store and send digital assets could be the next wave of innovation. He also spoke to the audience about decentralized finance (DeFi) and why credit unions should be exploring blockchain as a platform for traditional lending like auto loans.

Created Some Mayhem with Mind-Changing Conversations

NACUSO was excited to have Underground Collision, hosted by Susan Mitchell, kick off the event. This always exciting event brought in a great panel of credit union industry speakers to discuss everything from Jack Antonini’s life lessons, to CUSO vs. Fintech debates, to profit isn’t a bad word and so much more!

CUSO Challenge: Let’s Change the Way We Think About Mergers

There are several reasons a credit union might have for a merger request. This session with Liz Winninger and Vic Pantea focused on providing alternative strategies and tactics that credit unions can adopt to avoid one. CUSOs are a great resource that have the ability to guarantee a healthy and vibrant credit union industry for years to come.

Winning the Title of NACUSO’s 2023 Next Big Idea Competition…

Left to Right: Denny Howell (Mahalo Banking), Matt Kardell (Co-op Solutions), Brian Lauer (Messick Lauer & Smith P.C.) and Tanya Van Court (Goalsetter)

Goalsetter took first place in The Next Big Idea Competition, winning 40% of the audience votes. This is the only family saving, investing, financial education, and smart spending platform that makes it easy for the whole family to go cashless while teaching them how to be money smart. Centered around fun, relevant, and engaging financial education content, Goalsetter’s smart money platform for families provides users with a savings account, an investment platform, and a teen and tween debit card with parental controls and game-based financial education quizzes.

Following in second place, was Mahalo Banking. Mahalo Banking is a CUSO that provides online and mobile banking solutions for credit unions and has created a next-generation digital banking platform. This technology is engineered to deliver neurodiversity functionality intended to improve digital inclusivity and accessibility and better accommodate the cognitive needs of all credit union members.

NACUSO attendees also enjoyed hearing pitches from three other contestants: BankSocial, Harness FI, and Quilo. All five finalists were chosen from a pool of over 35 applicants making this year the toughest competition ever! Special recognition goes out to Co-op Solutions for sponsoring the competition and awarding $10,000 in total prize money.


Thank you to all our great media partners who provided such wonderful coverage of this year’s event. Below is a collection of some of the highlights from the week.

Save the dates of April 15-18 for the 2024 NACUSO Network Conference to be held at Disney’s Yacht & Beach Club Resorts in Orlando!

NACUSO attendees will be able to reserve rooms at the unbelievable room rate of $289 per night at one of Disney World’s best and often sold-out resorts, where the average daily room rate is over $600. Registration and hotel reservations will be available this Fall.