Your Credit Union’s Strategic Plan Success: 5 Best Practices 

By Peter Myers, MSC, PCC, Senior Vice President, DDJ Myers

DDJ Myers speaks to hundreds of credit unions every year. This helped inform us that with the ever-changing industry dynamics facing boards and executive teams, credit unions require a reinvigorated approach to formulating and executing their strategic plans. Board members and management are asking for the same progress in the dialogue during the strategic planning session. 

We have carefully listened to the challenges that face credit union leadership and boards and constructed five best practices to implement right away for a more successful strategic planning process. 

  1. Educate your board ahead of time 
  2. Understand the competitive landscape and the market holistically
  3. Outline your membership demographics and define your target membership
  4. Map out your credit union’s cultural variables by examining your executive team’s decision-making process and your staff’s strengths 
  5. Define your credit union’s capacity for change and risk tolerance 

It is critical to the health of your credit union to have more robust discussions that focus on the bigger picture, are less tactical, and more inclusionary with your board. These dialogues should also conclude with clearly defining measures of success. To produce meaningful change in the strategic planning process it is necessary to integrate a structured roadmap. This is a common missing element in the efforts of most credit unions.

For more information about the missing elements and best practices in strategic planning, specifically for credit unions, listen to Peter’s podcast series with Paul Timm, VP of Marketing for NAFCU Services. 

The Missing Elements in Strategic Planning – Part 1 

The Missing Elements in Strategic Planning – Part 2 

DDJ is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Leadership Training, Executive Search and Recruitment Services. More educational content and information is available at

5 Facts You Should Know about Disability Insurance

Last month was Disability Insurance Awareness Month, and in case you missed it here are five fast facts you should know:

  1. Over 60% of Americans say they are unable to handle a $500 car repair or a $1,000 emergency room bill.1
  2. The average worker faces a 3-in-10 chance of suffering a job loss lasting 90 days or more due to a disability.2
  3. The Social Security Administration estimates that 1 in 4 20-year-olds will suffer a disability before they retire.3
  4. 7 in 10 Americans understand the importance of disability insurance, yet only one-third have coverage.4
  5. As of January 1, 2017, approximately 1.3 million working-age Americans have experienced a disabling injury or illness.5

Take Action

You can take action and help reduce your member’s financial burden in the event of an unexpected disability with mortgage disability programs designed to provide for payment of monthly mortgage loan payments. Talk to your members to see if they would be prepared or able to pay their bills or mortgage without a paycheck.  It’s imperative to share disability insurance information with your members throughout the entire year.


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Securian is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for credit insurance and debt protection solutions for credit unions. For additional information and educational resources from Securian, visit



1 CBS News Moneywatch, “Most Americans Can’t Handle a $500 Surprise Bill (article on’s consumer survey, December 2015),” January 2016
2 Facts from LIMRA Disability Insurance Awareness Month 2016
3 Facts from LIMRA Disability Insurance Awareness Month 2016
4 Facts from LIMRA Disability Insurance Awareness Month 2016
5 Council for Disability Awareness, America’s disability counter, (data is updated continually)

Top 3 Things Credit Unions Need To Know About Gamification

By: Patrick McElhenie, Director, Product Management, CUNA Mutual Group.

Engagement is the name of the game for gamification. Nearly 70% of US employees report that they are not engaged or are actively disengaged at work.i With disengagement costing US employers $550 billion per year, having engaged employees is key for your credit union’s success.ii For the in-depth conversation about how much disengaged employees cost your credit union, listen to the podcast in full here

 What is gamification?

Gamification is the use of game-thinking and game mechanics in non-game situations to engage audiences and solve problems. It’s not creating a game, but rather, looking at the elements of a game structure and applying them to the real world.

Gamification is all around us. A popular example of gamification is Fitbit fitness trackers. Fitbit users can check in on their goals, their activities, and their progress at any time, receiving instant feedback about their performance. Another example is loyalty programs in which customers earn points for their interactions with a company. Customers acquire points through purchases which they can then exchange for a reward after they meet a certain threshold.

How does gamification create engagement?

Engagement is a key component of the game structure. Games are extremely engaging and can hold a player’s attention for a long time. Engagement is created through clear objectives, scores, and rules. The player is never confused about what they have to do or how well they are doing.

Games avoid predictability and monotony while maintaining the element of surprise. There are also often social elements and competition. These elements are translated to the workplace in gamification. The goal is to get employees ultra-engaged and having fun by working to solve problems and achieve objectives.

What are the benefits of using gamification?

Gamification utilizes both intrinsic and extrinsic motivation methods to create engagement in the workplace. Extrinsic motivation speaks to a hierarchy of motivators, such as stuff, power, access, and status. Status is the most effective reward because it is cheapest to fulfill and “sticky”. An example of status would be publicly recognizing an employee as a top performer.

Intrinsic motivation is all about driving an internal desire to be better or to be recognized for being better. It’s all about autonomy, the feeling of being able to control your own outcomes. In the workplace, there can be barriers that make employees feel they can’t control their own success. This is where gamification can help. Gamification provides near-real-time feedback, allowing employees to always know how well they are performing and what they need to do to achieve their objectives.

For more information about gamification, including how credit unions are using gamification and common pitfalls in implementing gamification, listen to How Much Are Disengaged Employees Costing Your Credit Union? the first installment in a two-part series about gamification.

CMG logoCUNA Mutual Group is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for TruStage® Auto & Home and Life Insurance Products and Mortgage Payment Protection. Learn more about our Preferred Partner at


i Gallup, Employee Engagement Is Stagnant in 2015, 2016
ii, The Cost of a Disengaged Employee, 2015


NAFCU Services Announces 2017 Innovation Award Finalists

We are proud to announce the 2017 Innovation Award finalists. An Innovation Award is the highest distinction offered to a NAFCU Services Preferred Partner. The awards honor the companies that demonstrate extraordinary creativity and commitment to solving challenges specific to credit unions. The 2017 award winners will be announced at the NAFCU 50th Annual Conference and Solutions Expo this June in Honolulu, Hawaii.

“I am proud of the unique and innovative solutions our partners bring to the credit union industry year over year,” said NAFCU Services’ President, Randy Salser. “The solutions created by these partners mean success for credit unions in the form of better bottom line, competitive advantage, and enhanced member engagement.”

Each year, a panel of judges evaluates solutions based on the degree of innovation and the impact on credit unions’ success. The judges include prominent members of the credit union media and respected industry executives. The 2017 judges are: Adele Glenn, Emerging Channels Innovation Architect at the San Antonio Federal Credit Union, Steven W. Gorrie, CPA, Chief Financial Officer, State Farm Federal Credit Union, Mike Lawson, Creator and Host of CUbroadcast, Jim Pack, Senior Vice President, Chief Member Service Officer, Coastal Federal Credit Union, and Randy Smith, Co-founder and Publisher of Learn more about our esteemed judges: Meet the 2017 judges.

Learn more about the 2017 Innovation Award Finalists by clicking here

Affinion Group for the LUX 360°℠ Analytics Package

CUNA Mutual Group for TruStage Life Insurance

DDJ Myers for the Transformative Change Model (TCM)

Geezeo for Responsive Tiles

Insuritas for +Plus Down Payment Protection

Mastercard for the Mobile Product Showcase

Pentegra Retirement Services for The Pentegra Fiduciary Outsourcing Advantage

Q2 for Q2 SMART

Quantivate for Dynamic Workflow Engine

TrueCar for Integrated Car Buying Service

Velocity Solutions for CashPlease

Vantiv for OmniShield

Vantiv for Vantiv Resolve

Wolters Kluwer for E-Sign


The Future of HSAs

By: Steve Christenson, Executive Vice President, Ascensus.

If there is one constant in American politics, it is that with every new administration comes change. One of the first questions that I received after the election was if I think that health savings accounts (HSAs) are at risk of being negatively affected or eliminated. My answer—absolutely not. Of all the issues discussed, it was one of the few issues both sides agreed on. Let’s take a look at why.


HSAs became available in January 2004, at a time employers were actively seeking to lower health care expenses for their employees. Hence, the growth of high-deductible health plans (HDHPs) emerged. By the end of 2007, approximately 10 percent of employers offered an HDHP. The key driver clearly was economics. For early adopters, acceptance of these high deductible plans required education and support of HSAs. Learn more from an in-depth conversation with Steve in Using HSAs To Attract New Members-Part 1 podcast.

HSA Growth Continued

HSAs and the dollars invested continued to grow at an accelerate rate. At the end of 2007, there were an estimated 3 million HSAs holding approximately $3.4 billion in assets. By year-end 2012, HSAs grew to 8.2 million with $15.5 billion in assets, and year-end 2015, 16.7 million with $30.2 billion in assets. And at year-end 2015, $4.2 billion of that $30.2 billion was held in investment accounts.

In 2016, Ascensus witnessed an 18 percent growth rate in HSAs at the banks and credit unions that they support. Devenir estimates that at year-end 2016, HSA assets will reach $36 billion with $5.4 billion in investments.2 Regardless of the legislation, economics will drive employers and consumers to the most effective use of their dollars. That has been proven since the inception of HSAs and will remain so with the new administration. Steve shared his insights about challenges and opportunities facing credit unions that look to their HSA products as a benefit to retaining existing members and attracting new ones. Listen to the full conversation.

A Solid Future

For the first time in many years, consumers frequently will see health care and HSAs in the headlines in the foreseeable future. Consumers who have had HSAs and understand their benefits will continue to move HSA dollars into investments and see these as part of their retirement package. Consumers who have been shifted to an HDHP but are not educated on how to open and manage HSA will seek those answers on a larger scale than at any time before in history. Consumers of all generations will seek HSA information from sources they trust. So as a financial services organization, ask yourself if you can afford to not be that trusted source and not participate in the HSA market. Those that do will benefit from this renewed momentum.


Ascensus Logo NewAscensus is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for IRA, Retirement Plan, and Health Savings Account (HSA) Solutions Software, Training, Documents and Consulting. More educational resources and contact information are available at