Ronaldo Hardy, President/CEO of NACUSO, joined us in the Studio Lounge to discuss his new appointment leading NACUSO. Ronaldo discussed his immediate and future plans for the organization, its value proposition, benefits of becoming a CUSO, and much, much more.
“The greatest leaders are people builders.” – Ronaldo Hardy
Thank you for tuning in to episode 167 of The CUInsight Experience podcast with your host, Randy Smith, co-founder of CUInsight.com. This episode is brought to you by PSCU, the nation’s premier payments CUSO and an integrated technology solutions provider. Visit PSCU.com to learn more and discover PSCUTV, a new thought leadership platform hosted by PSCU Chief Growth Officer, Brian Scott. Each episode explores top-of-mind insights in the credit union industry.
My guest on today’s show is Ronaldo Hardy, President & CEO at NACUSO. Ronaldo shares his career journey in financial services that led him to where he is today. Ronaldo describes NACUSO as a unique experience and opportunity for credit unions, CUSOs, fintechs, and credit union service partners to come together to advance collectively. The team works to drive innovation and collaboration for the credit union industry.
During our conversation, Ronaldo and I talk about how collaborating is the pathway for progress. Ronaldo explains how CUSOs can help the industry leverage opportunities collectively. He shares the lasting impact mentors have had on his career, and gives advice to those working towards a leadership role. Listen as we discuss recent trends, community impact, and relationship building and management.
As we wrap up the show, listen in as Ronaldo shares how excited he is for his new role and the future of the movement, how he keeps his bond with his wife and children strong, and why his mom is his inspiration. Enjoy my conversation with Ronaldo Hardy!
In This Episode: [00:54] – Ronaldo Hardy says he thought he’d pursue computer science. How did he end up in financial services? [03:47] – Ronaldo recalls his first leadership roles within the credit union industry. [05:41] – “I think that I should give this some consideration.” [08:41] – What matters to you? [10:49] – Ronaldo talks about recent consumer trends in the credit union industry. [12:59] – CUSOs can help the industry leverage opportunities collectively. PART 1 [14:58] – CUSOs can help the industry leverage opportunities collectively. PART 2 [16:47] – The role of a CEO is like a relationship management position. [19:37] – Ronaldo gives tips for building a strong rapport with board members. [21:35] – Ronaldo shares the personal and professional connections that amplified his career path. PART 1 [24:22] – Ronaldo shares the personal and professional connections that amplified his career path. PART 2 [26:57] – Ronaldo talks about the role education played in his career. [28:48] – “The greatest leaders are people builders.” [31:20] – Why do leaders need emotional intelligence? [34:19] – Ronaldo says the first job he ever worked only lasted a couple of weeks. [36:18] – How does Ronaldo balance work and life? [39:17] – Embrace people. [41:35] – Thank you Ronaldo, and thank you for listening!
Today marks the first day of Ronaldo Hardy as the new CEO of NACUSO, and we couldn’t be more thrilled to welcome him to the team! Amanda Reed had the chance to get to know our new leader and shares some fun facts she learned about him:
Q: What’s one book, movie, or song that has significantly influenced your perspective on life? A: The book that influenced me the most is “Blue Ocean Strategy.” It completely adjusted my mindset on building effective organizational strategies. I don’t even consider red oceans anymore.
Q: What’s your favorite thing about the city or town you currently live in? A: I absolutely love being in between two airports. I get the best of both worlds. And if I had to choose a second, it would be the food. Louisiana may be last on many lists, but food certainly isn’t one of them.
Q: What’s one random act of kindness you’ve done or received that had a lasting impact on you? A: The CEO of my first credit union job changed my life completely. She knew I needed a degree to reach my full potential, so she paid for me to take my first course when I decided to go back. Plus, she held one-on-one mentorship meetings with me monthly. When I got this role, she and I went to lunch, and she was just as joyful to see the impact her decisions and time have had on me long term. I’m forever grateful.
Q: What’s a memory from your childhood that still brings a smile to your face? A: There’s not one in particular. Instead, I value the many moments I got to spend with my Mom. She was my superhero. She invested in me with great intentionality in ways that helped me overcome insecurities and embrace leadership at a young age. She was one of a kind, and I’m grateful for the 36 years I had with her.
Q: What’s one skill or talent you’ve always wanted to learn, but haven’t had the chance to yet? A: Believe it or not, I can’t dance. If I ever learn how to, watch out!
Let’s show our support and give a warm welcome to Ronaldo Hardy as he takes on this exciting new role! Drop your well wishes and let us know if you share any of the same favorite things or aspirations. Here’s to an amazing journey ahead with our new CEO!
Juniper Payments, a PSCU company and the largest cloud-based non-bank third-party provider of inter-bank transaction and reporting systems in the U.S., announced today it is now supporting live transactions on the Federal Reserve’s new instant payment rail, the FedNow Service. Juniper Payments is among the first service providers supporting transaction activity for financial institutions on the service.
Through the FedNow Service, Juniper Payments is positioned to offer financial institutions access to instant payments, helping them remain competitive and offer best-in-class service for consumers.
“As a service provider of the FedNow Service, Juniper Payments demonstrates dedication to innovation,” said Ken Montgomery, Federal Reserve Bank of Boston first vice president and FedNow Service program executive. “Financial institutions benefit from the ability to offer instant payments through the seamless experience offered by service providers; these critical organizations expand the reach of instant payments and pave the way for industrywide progress.”
“The entire Juniper Payments team is extremely proud and thrilled to be among the first service providers to leverage the powerful new FedNow Service, which is poised to truly transform the speed and transparency of sending and receiving money in our banking system,” said Jon Budd, CEO, Juniper Payments. “We are eager to see all the capabilities this new service will offer, as well as continue our pursuit to provide clients with access to the most cutting-edge payments solutions that meet the unique needs of today’s digital world.”
Financial institutions and service providers will continue to onboard throughout 2023 and beyond, helping the FedNow Service build a strong instant payments infrastructure across the U.S.
About Juniper Payments
Juniper Payments, a PSCU company headquartered in Wichita, Kansas, delivers payment solutions through correspondent and direct relationships with banks and credit unions throughout the U.S. Our modular solutions are utilized by more than 3,000 financial institutions daily, enabling payment initiation and receipt across all payment rails. Juniper’s technology interfaces with core processors and the Federal Reserve, providing streamlined, real-time payments. From traditional payment channels such as ACH, cash letter and wires, to faster rails such as RTP and soon FedNow payment options, Juniper focuses on technology delivery so our customers can focus on their business. Visit JuniperPayments.com for more information.
PSCU, the nation’s premier payments CUSO and an integrated financial technology solutions provider, supports the success of more than 2,400 financial institutions and processes nearly 7.7 billion transactions annually. Committed to service excellence and focused on continuous innovation, PSCU’s payment processing, fraud and risk management, data and analytics, digital banking, strategic consulting and real-time payments platforms, along with 24/7/365-member support via its contact centers, help deliver personalized, connected experiences. The origin of PSCU’s model is collaboration and scale, and the company has leveraged its influence on behalf of credit unions and their members for more than 45 years. Today, PSCU provides an end-to-end, competitive advantage that enables credit unions to securely grow and meet evolving consumer demands. For more information, visit pscu.com.
CO-OP Solutions Payments Trends Report (Spending Data from June 1-30)
July 19, 2023 – Summer spending is in full swing, as consumers are making the most of warm weather and lazy days to hit the beach, improve their golf game or spend time with family.
On balance, June’s economic signals were largely positive. Nonfarm payrolls increased by 209,000 in June, less than the 2023 average of 278,000 per month and well behind 2022’s average of nearly 400,00 per month. Yet, unemployment ticked down to 3.6% for the month, and wages rose by 4.4% over the prior year, signs that job seekers still are in the driver’s seat.
Overall, per Co-op spending data, June year over year transaction volume rose by 4.7% in credit and 2.4% in debit.
Co-op’s SmartGrowth team members are closely watching the following key spending trends this month: 1. Planes, trains and automobiles: The Travel sector continues to see robust growth in 2023, with the overall category posting transaction volume gains of 12.7% in credit and 7.6% in debit year over year in June.
Although Airline spend has shown more modest increases versus 2022, transaction growth has picked up with the arrival of summer, with month over month gains of 5.2% in credit and 2.5% in debit reflected in June’s data.
Interestingly, despite a sharp decline in gas prices since June 2022’s all-time peak, transaction volume in the Gas category is down in both debit and credit year over year, supporting the view that more consumers are choosing to travel greater distances for vacation, versus the shorter, drivable trips they favored in the immediate wake of the pandemic.
“Lower airline ticket prices, a more favorable economic outlook and consumers’ desire for escape to more remote locales are all contributing to the boom in long-distance leisure travel this summer,” said Beth Phillips, Director, Co-op Solutions. “We expect to see continued strength in the overall travel category through the remainder of the summer season.”
2.Summer fun takes focus: Even among families that are forgoing vacation travel this summer, leisure and recreation activities are booming.
The overall Sport/Recreation merchant category was up 2.0% in credit and 4.0% in debit transaction volume year over year, with notable spikes in the sub-categories of Commercial/Professional Sports, Golf Courses and Recreation Vehicle Rental.
Similarly, the Dining & Entertainment category grew by 5.7% in credit and 3.7% in debit, led by transaction volume increases in Arcades, Bars, Caterers, Fast food and Restaurants, Sports/Country Clubs, Theater and Tourist Attractions.
“Consumers are really enjoying their recreational activities this year,” said John Patton, Senior Payments Advisor, Co-op Solutions. “Whether it is hitting the beach or the golf course, credit union members are opening their wallets to maximize the good weather and family time.”
3. Home improvement continues recent decline: After a strong spring for the Home Improvement merchant category, transaction volume crumbled like aging sheetrock in June.
The category was down -11.9% in credit and -12.3% in debit month over month in June, putting both into negative territory compared with prior year. Much of this drop was led by the sub-category of Equipment, Parts & Supplies, indicating that the industry has not yet fully recovered from high prices and lingering post-pandemic supply chain issues.
“Slow delivery and high costs of materials are still impacting the home sector,” said Phillips. “In addition, residential real estate sales have slowed considerably due to high mortgage rates, so homeowners are deferring some of these big projects for the time being.”
4. Softening job market leads to spike in employment agency spend: Credit transaction volume has accelerated in the Employment Agencies category, rising 65.2% year over year in June. This rise mirrors the recent softening in the job market, and an increase in job seekers pursuing better-paying opportunities. If the economy does tip into recession, expect volume in this category to continue to increase.
5. Credit card balance growth slows: Following rapid growth in credit card balances through much of 2022, the trend has decelerated in 2023.
Co-op’s credit union credit portfolio balances were up 14.39% in June 2023 over the prior year, a figure that has slowly declined since hitting a peak growth rate of 15.63% in December 2022.
According to the Wall Street Journal, more U.S. credit card holders are having trouble making monthly payments, a trend that is particularly acute among those with lower credit scores, a group that benefitted strongly from government-issued stimulus checks in the early days of the pandemic.
Year-Over-Year Category Level Spending (Rolling Year Average, and Comparing June 2022 to June 2023)
(Jul’21 – Jun’22) vs (Jul’22 – Jun’23)
Jun’22 vs Jun’23
(Jul’21 – Jun’22) vs (Jul’22 – Jun’23)
Jun’22 vs Jun’23
Campers & Camping
Books, movies, music
Dining & Entertainment
Billiards and bowling
Fast food, Restaurants
Quasi Cash – P2P
Equipment, parts & supplies
Services / Repair
Services / Repair
Second hand stores
Recreation Vehicle Rental
What Credit Unions Should Do Now
High borrowing rates and ballooning credit balances are taking their toll on consumers’ balance sheets. Credit unions should make sure they are there for their members during their times of economic need. Institutions should review their credit portfolio regularly to identify concerning trends, like late credit card or loan payments, high revolving balances or an increase in checking account overdrafts. Then proactively reach out to those members showing signs of struggle to offer personalized solutions like low-interest balance transfers, skip-a-pay relief and loan consolidation.
With merchant categories like Travel and Sports/Recreation trending up, now is also the time to buff up rewards programs. Credit unions should look to incent members to use their cards at those retailers and spending categories they value most, whether it is online, in store or on the go. Institutions should also consider developing a relationship rewards program to entice members to move their deposit accounts, mortgages, installment loans and other key products to their credit union.
More information on the Co-op SmartGrowth Consulting Team can be found here.
About Co-op Solutions Co-op Solutions is the market-leading financial technology platform whose mission is to connect credit unions to the technology, strategic partnership and scale they need to best serve their members now and into the future. Co-op partners with credit unions to unlock their potential so they can compete; does the hard work of innovation, creating a one-stop opportunity to help credit unions grow; and offers knowledge and expertise in a world where everything must be integrated. For more information, visit coop.org.