The Pulse | 02-06-2018

Volume 7, Issue 6

The Pulse Archive


8 Minnesota Credit Unions Receive 2018 CUNA Diamond Awards

Recently, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Marketing & Business Development Council announced recipients of the 2018 Diamond Awards. Recipients included eight credit unions serving Minnesota. Winners will be recognized at the 25th Annual CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Conference Awards dinner on Tuesday evening, March 13 at the Hilton San Francisco Union Square.


Congratulations to the following Minnesota Credit Union Network members:


  • Altra Federal Credit Union, Onalaska, WI
  • City & County Credit Union, Saint Paul, MN
  • Firefly Credit Union, Burnsville, MN
  • First Alliance Credit Union, Rochester, MN
  • Mill City Credit Union, Minnetonka, MN
  • Royal Credit Union, Eau Claire, WI
  • SPIRE Credit Union, Falcon Heights, MN
  • TopLine Federal Credit Union, Maple Grove, MN

The complete list of CUNA Diamond Award winners is available online.


The CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council is a member-led community of marketing and business development professionals dedicated to providing relevant resources and tools essential for success to its members. The CUNA Marketing and Business Development Council is one of seven CUNA Councils, a network of more than 7,000 credit union professionals.



Still time to Register for the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference

More than 5,000 credit union professionals will gather in Washington, D.C., in 2018 for the foremost credit union event of the year: the 2018 CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference, set for February 25 through March 1.


As the largest credit union event in the industry, CUNA GAC unites thousands of credit union advocates in Washington to fight for credit union priorities, including regulatory relief, expanded credit union powers, the credit union tax status and data security.


During the GAC MnCUN will coordinate Hill Hikes to connect attendees with their lawmakers and federal regulators during the conference. Attendance allows credit union professionals to meet face-to-face with their members of Congress to tell their stories and compel them to support credit unions as they work to serve 110 million Americans. Attendees should be sure to also Register for Minnesota-specific events, including our Network Issues Briefing & Luncheon.


Additional information and registration available on the GAC page of the MnCUN website.




GREAT Action Alert: Economic Growth, Regulatory Relief, and Consumer Protection Act (S. 2155)

Minnesota credit unions display excellence in political advocacy fundraising in 2017


View all Governmental Affairs news stories



Impact of the Decision in the ADA Lawsuit in Virginia


View all Regulatory Compliance news stories


Fintech: Friend or Foe?

Brian Kaas, Managing Director, CMFG Ventures


Over the last several years, credit unions have shown tremendous growth, even alongside the uprising of many “fintech” companies. In the last number of years, credit union membership has experienced robust growth, with this year exhibiting the fastest member growth in more than 25 years, as measured from October of 2016 to that point in 2017[1]; meanwhile, fintech companies have seen a 778% increase in funding in the last 5 years[2]. As the buzz around fintech continues, much attention is given to the market share these early-stage companies were actively seeking within the credit union space. However, at an age of nearly infinite resources and technology right at our fingertips, consumers aren’t specifically looking to do business with a “fintech”; but rather, consumers are simply looking for businesses to meet their needs in a convenient and trustworthy manner. Credit unions continue to meet this need, but as the industry changes, credit unions will need to embrace technology and innovation to build for the future.


Financial Institutions are facing a choice: spend a significant amount of time and money developing their own capabilities to meet the changing market, or pursue partnerships with fintech companies that are disrupting this space. Even the major financial institutions are facing this dilemma, and many are choosing to partner with fintech companies to bring in new technology, products, and channels. Since 2012, the top 10 major financial institutions have invested approximately $3.6B in fintech companies.[3]


According to a recent study done by Accenture, more than 40% of consumers would be more loyal to their credit union or bank if they simplified the car or home buying process, and 39% would like their financial institution to proactively provide real-time, actionable financial advice[4]. For each credit union, partnering with fintech companies can look drastically different, however there are some commonalities that a credit union can explore now. Here are a few examples of ways fintech companies can bring added innovation and value to credit unions:


  • End-to-end digital loans: providing loans at the convenience and control of the member, so that they can apply anywhere at any time from their mobile device or laptop.
  • Reaching underserved markets: Data continues to be one of the most critical elements to identifying and serving new market segments. For example, the “thin file” consumer who does not have an established credit score has in the past received limited financial options, whereas with new developments, credit unions can now offer comprehensive financial services despite their lack of traditional financial data.
  • Use new marketing channels: technology such as mobile platforms or non-traditional distribution partnerships can help reach new customers and offer credit union products in more convenient ways for the member.

Partnering with fintech companies can have the potential to combine cost efficiency with more comprehensive services for credit union members. In a recent study done by global law firm Mayer Brown, 87% of Financial Institution-Fintech partnerships cut costs, and 54% of these partnerships boost revenue.[5]


So how should credit unions respond?


  1. Get educated and seek out potential mutually beneficial strategic relationships between incumbents and startups. 
  2. Keep an open mind to the new and sometimes intimidating or crazy sounding ideas of startups.
  3. Use caution when negotiating agreements with eager young companies, and seek validation from industry experts, startup customers, other credit unions, and CMFG Ventures.

CUNA Mutual Group is a strategic partner of the Minnesota Credit Union Network. For more information about CUNA Mutual Group, contact Chief Operations Officer - Network Service Corporation and TruLync John Ferstl by email or at 651-288-5505.

[1] Credit Union Trends Report (Pg 5); CUNA Mutual Group – Economics; December 2017 (October 2017 Data)

[2] Fintech’s Golden Age (Pg 1); Accenture; 2016

[3] Visualizing Where Major US Banks have Invested in Fintech (Pg 1); CB Insights; June 2017

[4] Banking on Value (Pg 5); Accenture; 2016

[5] The ABC of Fintech: Acquisitions, Brexit and Collaboration (Pg 12); Mayer Brown; November 2016

Minnesota Credit Union Network
555 Wabasha Street N, Suite 200
St. Paul, MN 55102

(651) 288-5170
(800) 477-1034