Cyber Risk: What Your Employees Need to Know

By: Ann Davidson, VP of Risk Consulting, Allied Solutions 

Today, credit unions are doing a better job across the board enhancing their cyber risk management strategies to include more advanced risk controls.

However, one of the key risk controls that continue to be overlooked is employee education.  With the increase of the potential exposure to cybercriminal attacks, credit unions NEED to make employee risk education a top priority, so staff members at all levels of the organization can help your credit union detect and prevent future fraud risk exposures.

Regular risk training should be provided to employees in order to instill data security culture within the credit union. Employee risk education training should touch on:

  • Common cyber threats and security risks and the related vulnerabilities and threats to credit union operations, so employees understand the gravity of these potential breaches
  • Common warning signs for different types of fraud attempts so they know what to look out for and report
  • Workplace policies employees should follow to help prevent cybercrime, such as:
    • Internet & social media usage: Internet browsing should be limited ad social media usage should not be permitted while at work
    • Software usage: Employees should not install unlicensed software on any work device
    • Personal device usage: Employees should not use their personal computer, tablet, or mobile device while on your credit union’s network
    • Work device usage: Employees should not leave workplace devices unattended without securely locking them and should ensure virus protection software is kept current
    • Password usage: Employees should be required to use strong passwords that are unrelated to their personal information, and different for every secure account
    • Email usage: Employees should never respond to emails or open email links that look suspicious or are from unknown sources
  • The nature of data security and reminders that each employee is individually responsible for helping protect the credit union’s data
  • Legal and regulatory obligations to respect and protect the privacy of secure accountholder and credit union information
  • Procedure for incident reporting in the event a device being used on the credit union’s network becomes infected by a virus or is operating with unexplained errors, including the importance of common warning messages and alerts and who to report incidents to

Cybercrime is not going to go away anytime in the near future. That’s why it is critical that your credit union remain one step ahead of the cybercriminals by educating your employees about the part they need to play in protecting your credit union from these potential exposures.

Take a deeper look at cyber risk and send this informative webinar to your employees:  The Scary Truth About Cyber Risk and Fraud. This session will help your employees learn what they need to know to combat the growing risk of internal and external cyber risk that may impact your credit union and its members. The solutions presented in our webinar will help your financial institution get ahead of the curve and manage fraud risk in a strategic and proactive way.

Register here for Ann’s upcoming webinar on August 3 where she breaks down what the bad guys have been up to the first half of 2017, so you can see beyond the curtain and prepare for the latter half of the year. Fraud in 2017: What’s Hiding Behind the Curtain

Allied Solutions is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for Insurance- Bond, Creditor Placed (CPI), Guaranteed Asset Protection (GAP), and Mechanical Breakdown Protection (MBP). More educational resource

Gamification Strategy Best Practices to Engage Credit Union Employees

By Patrick McElhenie, Director of Product Management & Lender Development Program Support for CUNA Mutual Group.

Gamification is an innovative workplace strategy designed to engage employees through game-like scenarios in real-life settings. The strategy behind gamification is the usage of game mechanics (or the elements that make up games) like points, levels, rewards, and leaderboards, in an office setting.

How can credit unions use gamification?

Many credit unions already use gamification in their interactions with members. Strategies like loyalty programs, affiliate rewards, and coupons all use elements of gamification. So the question we’re really after is this: how to translate this gamification into a way to engage credit union employees?

One way is leaderboards. New gamification technologies allow for near real-time feedback on employee performance. This feedback is reported as a leaderboard – a way for employees to see where they stack up against their coworkers. As employees are working, they can see how they’re progressing, whether they’re trying to reach a certain sales goal or trying to attain another metric. Multiple leaderboards provide the opportunity to measure different benchmarks.

What are gamification best practices?

If you want to see if gamification is right for your credit union, you could start by first speeding up your feedback, especially positive feedback. Keep score of how your employees are doing, and do it publicly so they can see their progress. A leaderboard is one way you could accomplish this. A gamification partner can help you provide near real-time feedback to your employees.

In addition, allowing optional competitions between your employees can encourage friendly competition to hit their goals. Help your employees focus by giving them specific goals and objectives, and then give them a way to see their progress towards their goals and objectives.

Finally, take the time to celebrate successes. Make sure to recognize your top performers publicly and communicate “wins” to your team when they’ve done a good job. Don’t forget – if you’re implementing gamification correctly, it should provide near real-time feedback, keep your employees focused, and most importantly, it should be fun for your team.

For more information about gamification, including additional best practices and key research findings, listen to Real Time Engagement Drives Credit Unions’ Success, the second installment in a two-part series about gamification.

If you missed the first part of our two-part series, listen to How Much Are Disengaged Employees Costing Your Credit Union? during which we explained the elements of gamification in more depth and discussed common pitfalls in implementing gamification.

CMG logoCUNA Mutual Group is the NAFCU Services Preferred Partner for TruStage® Auto & Home and Life Insurance Products and Mortgage Payment Protection. More information and educational materials are available at



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