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Conferences·Crash·Crash Event·Crash the GAC·CUNA·CUNA Mutual Group·Filene·Gen Y·Governmental Affairs·Leadership·News Release·Professional Development·Updates

Crash the GAC 2017!

Your 2017 Crashers!

We’re back once again! We have FIFTY young professionals from all over the U.S.A. heading to Washington D.C. for Crash the GAC! We’re so thankful once more to Credit Union National Association (CUNA) for being our partner and primary supporter to make these magical events happen, all of our Crashers are receiving full attendance scholarships from CUNA. Speaking of Crashers… Come and meet them!

Something new!

In addition, for the CUNA GAC – we are bringing even more political advocacy to our Crash event, including a ‘town hall’ style meeting with Rep. Swalwell and more events for our crashers, to be announced!


Oh… and guess what… THUNDERPUNCH IS BACK! Come and join us on Monday, 2/27 for the best time and one of the ‘go to’ evening events of the CUNA GAC hosted by your Crashers & supported once more by our friends at Larky and SavvyMoneyCheck out the details now!

Herb Wegner Award

This year we have been lucky enough to be the recipients of the National Credit Union Foundation‘s Herb Wegner Memorial Award for Outstanding Program! This is a huge honour and the highest in the credit union system. We’re very humbled by the recognition of The Foundation and can’t wait to celebrate with everyone at the awards dinner at GAC! Read more about why we are being recognised…

Thanks to… 

Crash the GAC wouldn’t be able to happen without an army at our disposal. First, we would thank the talented colleagues we have at Filene Research Institute, Credit Union National Association for being our partner and the Crash the GAC team made up of Ariel Bilskey, Lindsey Hodson, Matt Vance, Andy Janning and James Marshall.

A shout out must be given to the credit union leagues and associations who have helped us promote and recruit for this event, as well as being strong proponents of our program.

Finally, we would like to thank Larky & SavvyMoney for partnering on Thunderpunch once more; we’d like to thank CUNA Mutual Group for their ongoing support; and lastly but certainly not least – Visa, Bethpage FCU, and Alogent for helping to get all our Crashers to the Herb Wegner Memorial Awards Dinner at GAC 2017!

Follow Along.

Make sure you follow along on social, on our Facebook, Twitter and Instagram pages. Our hashtag is #crashthegac17 and you can see our social wall here!

Conferences·Crash·Crash Event·Crash the ACUC·CUNA·Filene·Finance·Gen Y·Ideas·Innovation·Leadership·Meetups·News Release·Professional Development·Updates

Denver, we’re coming for you!

In just under 6 weeks we’ll be in Denver, CO. where we will join credit union professionals from all over the world at the co-chosted World Credit Union Conference and America’s Credit Union Conference by World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) and Credit Union National Association (CUNA).

Remember, everything we do is made possible thanks to CUNA! Crash Denver is happening thanks to Fiserv.

We’ll be calling our little excursion; Crash Denver. At Crash Denver, our Crashers will be put through their paces to help build a new credit union business model aimed at the next generation of consumers! This is an exciting opportunity for our group to really put something together which can have real impact in our industry.

We have also been warmly invited to join WOCCU’s World Young Credit Union People program for their events – so our Crashers are certainly going to be working hard!

We will have a reception on Tuesday night of the conference too, which all are welcome to attend. Watch this space!

In the mean time, why don’t you look below to meet our Crashers:

Abram Rodriguez, Border Federal Credit Union, Texas

Alycia Kaiser, Limestone Federal Credit Union, Michigan

Amanda Carrozza, Eagle One Federal Credit Union, Pennsylvania

Amberlee Payne, High Plains Federal Credit Union, New Mexico

Chad Maheux, Seasons Federal Credit Union, Connecticut

Dainelle Riley, USF Federal Credit Union, Florida

Denice Saucedo, North Side Community Federal Credit Union, Illinois

Ryan Manis, Kohler Credit Union, Wisconsin

Shelley, Ennis, New Castle County School Employees FCU, Pennsylvania

Spence LaCroix, Jefferson Financial Credit Union, Louisiana

big. bright. minds.·Careers·Collaboration·Community Development·Conferences·Crash·Crash Event·Creativity·CUNA·CUNA Mutual Group·Filene·Gen Y·Ideas·Innovation·Leadership·Lending·Meetups·News Release·Professional Development·Updates

November is Crash-tastic!

Can you believe it’s almost November already? (Or it might be November when you’re reading this – in which case, CAN YOU BELIEVE IT?). What does November bring? A change in leaves? A change in weather? Thanksgiving? A countdown to Christmas? (As I write this, it’s just 62 days until Christmas day!). 

But you know what else November brings us?!?! TWO CRASH EVENTS! That’s right… TWO! Our Crashers have been selected and we’d love for you to meet them.

Head over here to meet our Crashers for Crash CUNA Lending Council in San Diego, CA.

And go in this direction to meet our Crashers for Crash big. bright. minds. in Tucson, AZ.

The Cooperative Trust is a Filene community. Everything we do is made possible by Credit Union National Association. Crash CUNA Lending Council is supported by Twenty Twenty Analytics and Crash big. bright. minds. is supported by CUNA Mutual Group.

Change·Collaboration·Community Development·Cooperative Economy·CUNA·Filene·Gen Y·Innovation·Leadership·News Release·Updates

CUNA Support for The Cooperative Trust

MADISON, Wis. (9/9/14) – The Credit Union National Association will support The Cooperative Trust, Filene Research Institute’s young professional initiative, as a chairman’s roundtable benefactor with a commitment of $250,000 over three years.

“In order to successfully position credit unions as forward-thinking, we need to invest in our up-and-coming industry leaders,” said Bill Hampel, interim CUNA President/CEO. “We see our best results from people fully engaged with the credit union philosophy. CUNA wants to drive those opportunities for young professionals.”

The move is part of CUNA’s already-strong commitment to raise awareness with and involvement by young professionals in credit unions. CUNA and its CUNA Councils have provided “crash” opportunities at the CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference and individual council conferences.

CUNA Councils will be highly involved in CUNA’s role as benefactor.

“This support is part of a bigger strategy, which includes the launch of an official CUNA Young Professionals Committee, demonstrating our commitment to developing and retaining the next generation of leaders to grow, promote and sustain the credit union movement,” said Jill Tomalin, CUNA executive vice president/chief operating officer.

“We are excited to build on our work with CUNA Councils and Filene and provide leadership support to the Cooperative Trust,” she added.

“Our relationship with CUNA really demonstrates our shared commitment to shape and build the future of credit unions,” said James Marshall, The Cooperative Trust manager.  “These are indeed exciting times for young professionals who are passionate about credit unions and cooperatives.”

Change·Collaboration·Conferences·Crash·Crash Event·Creativity·CU Water Cooler·Ideas·Innovation·Leadership·Meetups·News Release·Professional Development·Updates

So, We’re Crashing the CU Water Cooler Symposium 2014!!!

It’s finally here! After weeks and weeks of searching high and low – we’re so happy to announce that we have chosen (and notified) our 2014 Crash the CU Water Cooler Symposium Crashers.

They are:

  • Danielle Buscher, West Community Credit Union
  • Kayla Carson, Limestone Federal Credit Union
  • Jess Certain, 3Rivers FCU
  • Matthew Cropp,  Cooperative Vermont, Credit Union History, Full Barrel Cooperative Brewery & Taproom
  • Whitney Loe, ANECA Federal Credit Union
  • Dana Murn-Kohal, Credit Union Executive Society (CUES)
  • Ashley Pierce, A+ Federal Credit Union
  • Joshua Poole, Shell Geismar FCU
  • Bethany Scott, Virginia Credit Union League
  • William Swanson, Sterling United Federal Credit Union
Want to find out more about them? Then why not read all about them here?!


This will be our first ever Crash the CU Water Cooler Symposium as the event heads into its 5th year. With a great line up of speakers including former Cooperative Trust extraordinaire, Brent Dixon, we’re excited that these two worlds are going to collide resulting in what can only be described as a calamity of awesomeness!

We can’t wait to see you there!


Business Development·Collaboration·Community Development·Conferences·Cooperative Economy·Ideas·Professional Development·Updates

Cooperative Credit Unions: My Experience at ACE Institute

Last month I had the opportunity to see North American cooperatives in action. ACE—the Association of Cooperative Educators puts on their annual ACE Institute Conference, and this year it was held in cooperative central, Austin, Texas. Woohoo for my first time in the Cooperative Capital!

ACE is a membership organization that brings together educators, researchers, cooperative members, and cooperative developers from across cooperative sectors and national borders resulting in ideas that enhance cooperative development, strengthen cooperatives, promote professionalism and improve public understanding.

Being a busy guy, I unfortunately only had the opportunity to attend day 1 of a 3-day conference. It was a quick trip, but nothing short of a fantastic experience. I had never before seen the momentum of the cooperative movement outside of consumer finance.  Like many of my colleagues, I am a self-proclaimed credit union junkie, so I guilty admit that I tend to neglect thoughts of the cooperative movement that exists as a whole. Credit unions live by the cooperative principals, so how could I forget?!

I was most impressed with the cooperative efforts in housing, community gardens, and retail. I noticed that credit unions and “cooperatives’ were often categorized in two different buckets, unintentionally of course. I want to hear from my fellow credit union junkies, why are credit unions not associated with the word “cooperative” as much as other segments? What can be done to bring the two closer together?

Ready, set & go!…

Crash the 1·Lending·Professional Development·Updates

Crashed the ’13 CUNA Lending Conference

Our version of how the West was won!



I’m home now relaxing on my couch, and mentally reviewing the 2013 CUNA Lending Conference.  I’m sure everyone’s expecting this article to be a little gushy, incredibly biased, and a little “Hooray, Crashers”, and that is exactly what you are going to get.  What a blast it was!

Day One

I met up with the Crash team (Mike London, Ellen Kohout, Allison Kretovic, Stacey Johnson and Brittney Wensley)    early Sunday morning for breakfast, introductions and to receive our volunteer T-shirts and ball caps.  We boarded the bus with other conference attendees and vendors, and made our way to the ICM Food & Clothing Bank.  “ICM” formerly “Interfaith Cooperative Ministries” currently serves 150 families six days a week.  We had individuals from cooperatively-owned credit unions from across the nation converging in a single spot to help out another cooperative.  This stuck with me as I am a big fan of the cooperative movement – not just the credit union movement.  Cooperative Principle #6 was in full effect, y’all!

After the volunteer event we made it back to the resort and Mike London instructed us “rookie” Crashers to prepare for the orientation that evening.  I took “prepare” to mean “nap it up,” and that’s exactly what I did.

Orientation arrived and everyone was well-rested and still buzzing from the feel-good vibes the volunteer event created.  We were introduced to a roomful of CEO’s, vice presidents and other upper management credit unionists, and then played a little Human Bingo – a fun break-the-ice game.  The festivities spilled into the adjacent ballroom where dinner and drinks were served, and the mingling continued.

Day Two & Three

Breakfast was served at 7am each morning promptly followed by keynote addresses from Josh Linkner who shared five ideas to drive creativity (Day Two), Mike Schenk who provided an economic forecast (Day Three) and J.B. Orrechia of SavvyMoney who provided insight into household financial management and how it relates to credit unions.  The breakout sessions commenced, and everyone would scatter to sessions ranging from MBL’s to mortgage lending to becoming a Jedi master in Excel (props to Mike!).  Day two wrapped with a western-themed casino night which brought out a number of interesting cowboy and cowgirl costumes and photo opps (see above)!  Day three wrapped with an evening on our own which meant a very nice dinner with the management team behind SavvyMoney.

From left: Ellen Kohout, Stacey Johnson, Brittney Wensley, Dan Roam, Zac Jones and Michael London.

Day Four

Breakfast kicked the day off and then we were treated to a rather engaging General Session held by West Region Director Edwin Chow of the CFPB.  He fielded a number of questions from the audience, and took questions after his presentation.  This included my inquiry about the CFPB’s stand on Bitcoin to which he responded his agency is in “wait and see” mode.

After a brief break, Dan Roam, best-selling author and speaker, discussed solving problems visually, and using pictures to sell your solutions.  Dan’s session, the final session of the conference, was captivating and enlightening.

The conference was adjourned, handshakes, hugs and smiles were exchanged and even a few photobombs were witnessed.  All in all, this opportunity granted all attendees a few days of education, new experiences and most of all, ample occasions for networking.

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