credit unions

Balancing Gender in the Credit Union Workplace

By Lynn Heckler, EVP, Chief Talent Officer for PSCU

Women’s Equality Day is celebrated on Aug. 26 each year. It commemorates the 1920 adoption of the Nineteenth Amendment granting women the right to vote and has been celebrated in the U.S. since 1973. While much progress has been made in the area of gender equality since that time, digging a bit beneath the surface unearths some telling trends.

The bad news

Here are some global stats, based on research conducted by Filene, to consider as it relates to gender parity:

  • Women generate 65 percent of consumer discretionary spending, but their presence in the economy and representation in leadership roles remains unbalanced
  • Women are 20 percent less likely than men to have a formal bank account and often lack access to savings, credit and other financial services
  • The World Economic Forum predicts the gender gap will not close entirely until 2186

When it comes to the credit union industry, some progress has been made, but not enough. Women are still very under represented in senior leadership positions within the industry, and the disparity becomes especially apparent when you look at credit union asset size. In the U.S., women make up 70 percent of credit union employees, yet only 53 percent of all federally insured credit unions have female CEOs and 20 percent have female board presidents.

The good news

Credit unions were founded on the cooperative principle, and nondiscrimination is a tenant of that principle, making credit unions inherently more likely to be receptive to ideas surrounding gender parity.

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Hurricane Harvey: A Week of Hell in Houston and How You Can Help by Jack Antonini, NACUSO CEO

It is such a strange feeling, as you prepare for a Hurricane, hoping it will not be as strong as predicted, praying for everyone in the path of the Hurricane, getting supplies to help you survive if you lose power or sustain damage … and all the while worrying about friends and family in the forecast path.  It’s a little bit excitement, since it is so unusual, combined with anxiety about the impending disaster, while trying to calm and convince those you love that everything will be okay.

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The “R” in the DREAM Big Contest: Recreate and Reinforce

Kirk Drake (right) with Mike Lawson at 2017 NACUSO Network Conference

Last week we talked about the importance of differentiating with data … the “D” in Dream. Now let’s begin by talking about the Google machine. I cannot even remember my life before it? Did we go to the library to do research? Pull out our 10 year old Encyclopedia Brittanica? If you’re a Millennial reading this – Google it – it’s a thing.

Anyway- Kirk cracks the code on getting Google’s attention. Put simply, the ultimate goal is to have someone in your field of membership searching for a solution to a problem and bam – you have the answer and land on the top (or near) the first page of responses. So just for fun Google “good financing for a car loan in (insert your city name).” Was your credit union there? If so, congratulations. If not, why?

I don’t know of a credit union out there that doesn’t want to be known as the “trusted resource for financial services.”  How do you earn that trust? Not by product pushing and always leading with rate. Not with clever ads and shiny happy people on your website. It’s about identifying with your target audience and giving them resources, content, information and education, about stuff that has nothing to do with your products and services. A really good example is Point West Credit Union in Portland, Oregon. They were founded in 1932 to serve employees of Multnomah County. After the Great Recession of 2008 they focused their mission on community development. They received their CDFI designation in 2013 and merged two very small diverse credit unions in – NAACP and Hacienda Community.  In 2016 they funded $5.4 million in affordable loans to non-citizens! That’s a real differentiator. They have created a community within their community.  On Point West’s site they have a page dedicated to resources for non-citizens.

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Cooperation Among Cooperatives: Stories From the Inside

Pat Connealy at the 2016 NACUSO Network Conference

Patrick Connealy at the 2016 NACUSO Network Conference

Each month we highlight at least one NACUSO member by interviewing one of their top executives. It’s an opportunity to tell their story in a casual and fun way. This month we sat down with Patrick Connealy.

PART ONE: Life Story and Experiences

What’s your current position and can you give me a brief overview of what it is you do in your work?

I’m the Executive Vice President of Commercial Banking for the National Cooperative Bank and I oversee nine Business Development officers that cover a variety of cooperative business segments nationwide.

What would you say most motivates you to do what you do? What are you most excited or passionate about?

I’ve been working with co-ops my whole life and have been with NCB for 30 years.  I started my career in the agriculture co-op banking business and spent seven years with them including three years with the Farm Credit Administration. I moved to NCB in 1986 when the bank was six years old. We fill the financing gap for co-ops that are not agricultural or electric co-ops.  I am most passionate about the long term customer relationships developed by NCB- some of which have been with us since 1980!

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