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Texell CU's George Ferretti: The Evolving Role of a CFO
Friday, December 13, 2013 6:50 AM

George Ferretti

Chief Financial Officers (CFO) play an important and challenging role in an organization. In the following Q&A, George Ferretti, CFO of Texell CU in Temple, Texas shares with Leaguer readers the evolving role of the CFO, as well as the challenges and opportunities for credit union CFOs.

Question: How long have you served as a CFO at your credit union?

Ferretti: I was hired as the CFO in March 2013. Prior to joining Texell CU, I was vice president of finance for Tropical CU. I’ve also worked for Ernst & Young and Citigroup. 

Question: What is your educational background?

Ferretti: I’m a Certified Public Accountant, with a Bachelor of Science in Accounting from the University of Missouri and a Master of Business Administration from St. Louis University. 

Question: As the CFO, what are your primary duties and responsibilities?

Ferretti: I am responsible for our accounting, HR and information technology efforts.

Question: What role do you play in the strategic planning process?

Ferretti: I serve on the senior management team, so I play a role in developing strategic plans and evaluating business opportunities for the credit union. 

Question: Do you find CFOs today have a more active role in the strategic planning process than in previous years?

Ferretti: Yes, with the tight economic environment, financial analysis adds more certainty to an outcome.

Question: What excites you most about your role as the CFO?

Ferretti: In my current role, I have much more exposure to the deployment of technology. It has been something I grew up with, using it as a tool. Now, it’s nice to be directly involved in its development.

Question: How has the role of a CFO evolved over the last five years?

Ferretti: More than ever, the CFO of a financial institution must have a command over controlling all the risks of the organization. With rates as low as they are, the future will hold some seldom seen challenges as rates rise.

Question: Did the economic recession change the demands and expectations of a CFO?

Ferretti: Yes, there has been a greater scrutiny over the soundness of our organizations by all the stakeholders; i.e. members, directors, the public and not least of all, the regulators. Priorities have shifted toward greater financial control of our risks, not only in perception, but also in fact. Measuring, understanding, and then controlling these risks require better tools than we have had to work with.

Question: Since the economic recession, there has been greater demand for increased transparency, how is this impacting your role as the CFO?

Ferretti: Increased transparency means more communication. The CFO needs to dig deeper into the operations of the organization to reveal more meaningful information. Understanding and then utilizing your technology resources will be a huge help. 

Question: What do you see as the greatest challenge facing a CU CFO?

Ferretti: Now, for most CFOs, the challenge is managing the ever thinning margins and finding alternative non-interest income activity.  In the near future it will be balancing interest rate risk with the demands of those members who are savers.

Question: What do you see as the greatest opportunity facing a CU CFO?

Ferretti: Of course, the greatest opportunities come from our greatest challenges, one of which would be exploring new avenues of business and branching out into new territory. Last month, we started an insurance agency CUSO, selling property and casualty policies to our members. We benefit our members with lower cost insurance and bring in non-interest revenues. This is good for the member and the bottom line without a burden to our capital, which we chose to use optimally.