Credit union leaders need to get out of their comfort zone, and motivational speaker Dan Thurmon showed attendees at CU Direct’s Drive ’19 conference just how to do that by juggling knives, doing handstands, and riding a unicycle.
Thurmon delivered the message in spectacular fashion during the conference’s keynote presentation on Tuesday at The Cosmopolitan in Las Vegas, NV. Thurmon reminded leaders that a single member is constantly juggling many aspects of their life, so it’s the credit union’s role to mitigate the member’s financial strains.
Tony Boutelle, president and CEO of CU Direct, opened the conference Wednesday morning with a more focused outlook on credit union lending, particularly in the mortgage and auto lending space and changes coming in the next five to 10 years. Boutelle talked about economic and societal changes and the rising cost of cars, a depreciating asset that sits in the member’s garage for more than 90% of its ownership. Lastly, Boutelle dove into the idea of seamless mortgage origination platforms, an area in which he said credit unions have room for improvement.
Next up, CUNA president and CEO Jim Nussle talked about challenges credit unions face, such as attacks on both the model and the market by large, profit-seeking institutions. Nussle says there’s a false notion among cooperatives that the American consumer does not know what a credit union is and, hence, will choose a different financial model. On the contrary, according to Nussle, 98% of Americans have heard of a credit union and still 76% of them would not open an account because they don’t believe they meet membership qualifications and they believe they won’t be able to access their money quickly. Every credit union owns the “credit union” brand, and Nussle said it’s everyone’s responsibility to educate consumers and move the industry forward.
The day’s first panel session included four dealers who discussed their indirect lending interactions with credit unions. The panel was split between those who have seamless communication and those who have issues. Particularly with rising rates and squeezed margins, dealers and credit unions alike are experiencing difficulty in the indirect space.
The second panel focused on trends in automotive digital retail. Executives from Fair, Carvana, and Roadster discussed how digital retail is reshaping the way consumers interact with the auto market. In a digitized auto experience, consumers feel in control and have confidence to follow through with a purchase. But digital retail is not taking old manual processes and putting them online, it’s developing an entirely new fluid experience that educates, advices, and supports. Younger generations are comfortable completing an entire transaction on their phones, and seamlessness is integral to a successful lending model that serves this market.
The loan origination market is changing. Credit unions have to remain informed and willing to develop and respond to societal changes.