Insights from a Southwest CUNA Management School Attendee

Posted: Aug 29, 2022 | Author: Richard Cranfill, Catalyst Strategic Solutions ALM Consultant
education & training  SCMS 

Today’s financial services market is more competitive than ever. For nine years, I have worked as an Asset & Liability Management (ALM) Consultant at Catalyst. To ensure our services continue to surpass those delivered by our competition, Catalyst encourages ongoing education. As such, I decided to extend my credit union education starting this July in Fort Worth, Texas.

The genesis for my decision came earlier this year as my manager and I discussed expectations for the future during my annual job performance evaluation. This year, he suggested I consider attending Southwest CUNA Management School (SCMS) as a member of the class of 2024. After some deliberation, I agreed, because understanding what my clients do day-to-day will make me a more relatable consultant.

During the registration process for the school, I got to know the director of the SCMS, Janine McBee, CUDE, CMM. Janine, other SCMS staff and program ambassadors were incredible. The door was always open for questions and assistance through the process. The SCMS staff were always just an email or phone call away.

I did not know what to expect from the school, but I was eager to get started and meet my classmates. Since 2013, I have worked in the credit union industry and most of my interactions with people have been limited to preparing and discussing ALM-related financial reports. I considered this learning experience an opportunity to grow, both personally and professionally.

I arrived on the Texas Christian University (TCU) campus Saturday to smiling faces. Introductions started right away as we were ushered into a large room for orientation. Monday rolled around, and I truly felt like a student again, excited for what was to come. 

Throughout the week, I was impressed by the diversity, quality and professionalism of the presenters. In these classes, students were exposed to a variety of ideas, methodologies and new ways of thinking. The academic curriculum was well-planned and ambitious. All classes and networking events tied together nicely and encouraged students to take a new approach to goal setting and strategizing to meet their goals.

I got a bonus education from my classmates. The other students at SCMS were a goldmine of credit union industry experience. They all had decades of experience working one-on-one with members from diverse fields of membership. Throughout the week, I sat, listened and realized what this movement is about. Financial institutions are making the extra effort, not to improve the bottom line, but to help the members of their credit union.

I had heard over the years about skip-a-payment loan programs that assisted members experiencing hard times. I had not heard stories such as the one about credit union employees painting a member’s house. I gained insights from these stories that were as valuable as the top-notch curriculum presented by SCMS. That week in school, I learned the “why” behind the credit union movement.

In summary, I gained a great deal of knowledge about goals, ideas, business strategy and entrepreneurial mindset from the presenters. I knew from my own experience that the credit union industry is made up of smart and hard-working financial professionals. My peers, however, taught me that the credit union industry is made up of dedicated and compassionate people, who specialize in community outreach and helping others.

Catalyst Corporate’s hard-working team of ALM experts stand ready to help you. For more information, contact us today.


As an ALM Consultant at Catalyst Strategic Solutions, Richard provides ALM analysis and helps credit unions understand their ALM reports and how to use them in their decision-making.


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