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Can Your Credit Union Afford The Future?
Friday, October 18, 2013 9:15 AM

This is the time of year when credit unions approach their strategic planning process and make decisions about the future.  They hire professionals to guide them through the maze of setting goals and objectives to enhance member service.  A wide realm of topics should be considered and certainly the financial condition of the credit union should be included in the list of topics. 

Debbie Rightmire, vice president of Asset/Liability Management (ALM) for the Cornerstone Credit Union League, spends quite a bit of time during the fourth quarter providing that assessment. 

“I do not actually lead the strategic planning process, I leave that to the professionals,” Rightmire explains. “But I do offer a financial overview of the credit union prior to beginning the planning process.” 

Rightmire says it’s imperative that board and staff know where they stand financially before they make decisions about the future.  During these sessions, topics include analyzing the current financial situation and potential goals which would significantly impact the credit union’s balance sheet and income statement – goals such as fixed asset acquisition, adding services, acquiring new fields of membership. 

This, Rightmire says, enables the group to review the impact of potential decisions and anticipate changes to the balance sheet and income statement.

Among other things, these sessions:

  • Provide a current assessment of credit union strengths and weaknesses
  • Prompt discussion about the ramifications of future product and service decisions
  • Produce insight into potential changes to the financial condition of the credit union to avoid surprises

For several years, AMOCO FCU has had Rightmire begin the annual strategic planning meeting with an independent financial overview of the financial statements, key ratios, and ALM position. 

“I firmly believe the foundation of any strategic planning process for a credit union should begin with a thorough financial analysis,” says Shawn Bailey, president and CEO of AMOCO FCU.  "Debbie clearly articulates what the primary areas of focus should be for our credit union and provides a good starting point for our strategic discussions."

While credit unions are more than numbers and financial statements, Bailey explains that a financial analysis provides a gauge for how well credit unions are serving members in the areas of lending, savings, fees, and pricing. 

“Effective strategic planning should always take into account the potential impact of future decisions on the credit union's financial position,” he continues.

Wichita Falls Teachers FCU has invited Rightmire to be a part of their two-day strategic planning session with the board and management team for a number of years.  

“We have built a very strong relationship with Debbie and feel her training has become an important component of our weekend” says Angela Clark, president and CEO of Wichita Falls Teachers FCU. ”We were utilizing Debbie’s expertise even before NCUA required the Board of Directors to have a base level of financial skills.  She does an excellent job of reviewing our financial position, comparing our credit union to peer, and providing valuable insight and feedback to ensure the continued success of the credit union.”

Can your credit union afford the future?  Tomorrow’s financial condition will be affected by the decisions made in planning sessions today.  Assessing current objectives helps alleviate future surprises. 

For more information on how your decisions affect the future of your credit union, please contact Rightmire, at (800) 442-5762, ext. 6496.