This little tale is a pivot from the standard weekly article. Enjoy!
Once upon a time, there was a credit union that had no data governance. It was a dark place where data ran unharnessed, running wild with not a data dictionary to be found! The leaders of this credit union were literally in the dark about their data. They would try with all their might to wrangle it into an excel report. But because of the unkempt status of the data, the leaders could not tell if they had clean or even correct data. It was a real mess.
One time, the leaders attempted to take their reports and connect them, hoping this would create valuable insights from which they could create action. But these efforts were to no avail. They were simply, just messy direct squished-up data in excel.
One day, a mighty team of data educators came across this credit union and, seeing the hot mess of data, wasted no time, and sprung into action.
They started by searching for the elusive use case, the business problem the credit union was hoping to use data to solve. They found it buried in a storeroom behind a bunch of boxes marked auto loan promo '92. They shook it out, cleaned it up, and brought it out to the leadership team. They all agreed that this was indeed the use case they wanted and thought it had been lost forever and were happily reunited.
Next, the team of data educators and the use case looked for all the data they needed to help solve the use case. The data was still elusive and downright obstructive. Put up quite a fight! Some data hid, some data was just difficult, and one bit of transaction data even decided to fight dirty and attempted to bite the use case. But the use case and the data educators were eventually victorious! They organized, categorized, and prioritized the data, captured all this insight into a data dictionary, created an audit to maintain quality, and built policies and procedures to make certain the data could get wild again.
The moral of this story is clean data today, bright data future tomorrow!
We all know the struggle is real with data governance if you are looking for easy-to-understand and, more importantly, quick to implement foundational data governance. We've got your back. No data is an island #inthistogether
Posted by Anne Legg
CUSO Sees Tremendous Opportunity to Enhance CU Technology & Service
Member Support Services, LLC — the credit union service organization (CUSO) helping the industry focus on serving its members through technology, operational efficiencies, and economies of scale — has hired Scott Gammer as Senior Vice President of Information Technology (IT). (check out Scott's video interview below the story)
Gammer will enhance credit unions’ member service through a variety of MSS technology platforms, systems, back-office and mid-office service offerings, and ingenuity and innovation. He will ensure credit unions’ day-to-day operations through security and infrastructure management, help-desk and operational support, and target opportunities where IT and business operations can partner together.
“Everything we do in information technology as a CUSO needs to be for the betterment of credit union members,” Gammer said. “Their ownership in the credit union is their livelihood. We can’t just implement technology functions — we have to put the right solutions in place while also remaining extremely cost-conscience.”
He looks forward to reinforcing the member experience through better availability of credit union service representatives, allowing multiple touchpoints for members to get their questions answered through loan and product channels — and faster. Developing robust member-facing systems that are always available so members can interact with their credit union in a variety of ways, 24-7, is important. Improving upon these interactions through various technology streams is imperative, pivoting off MSS’s existing collaboration with partnering credit unions.
“Credit union staff should have the ability to connect anytime and anywhere with members to service them,” Gammer said.
Additionally, providing back-office IT systems that are redundant and resilient is essential, as members crave the ability to access and transact funds anytime on-demand, as well as safely and securely, Gammer added. Members need to feel assured their credit union is taking every precaution to protect their privacy against cyber-criminals when it comes to protecting data and safeguarding individual identities, which MSS facilitates and provides.
Overall, Gammer brings senior-leadership IT experience from both small and large organizations within the financial, insurance, retail, and utility arenas — all highly regulated industries having extremely “customer focused” environments. His diverse background provides a unique current-day perspective on what different organizations face as they grow and effectively build teams to manage challenging IT profiles. His experience in building-out and providing key platforms and solutions fits squarely into the credit union industry’s member-owner centric model.
Gammer says at the end of the day, technology is an enabler to transform business goals into reality. Members are both owners and customers — and the goal is to continually make their experience better than what it is today.
“I see tremendous opportunities where IT and business functions within credit unions can collaborate together to make the member experience a ‘WOW’ experience,” Gammer said. “That’s something we are not seeing in a lot of organizations today. I look forward to our shared future with credit unions and their members — and I’m excited to be a part of it.”
Member Support Services Hires SVP of Lending Collections, Strengthening Its Powerful Engine for CUs...
CUSO Sees Innovative Opportunity to Improve CU Member Experience
Member Support Services, LLC — the credit union service organization (CUSO) helping the industry focus on serving its members through technology, operational efficiencies, and economies of scale — has hired Justin Hendrickson as Senior Vice President of Lending and Collections. (check out his video interview below the story)
Hendrickson will champion the quality experience credit unions and their members deserve through efficient lending channels that use integrated, high-tech communication and conveniences. Implementing the industry’s latest best practices, innovation, and augmenting how credit unions interact with their members will underpin his new role in making MSS an even better choice for partnering credit unions.
“We’ll do what we’ve already been doing — but better and faster,” Hendrickson said. “We’ll keep the team focused in all the right places on member experience and measurable metrics that we can improve. That’s what our industry and the marketplace demands of us. We have to be an innovator.”
In the short-term, he will focus on deep-diving into processes, procedures, and policies and make sure they are aligned with MSS’s goals and vision. Working collaboratively with credit unions to update and redefine processes so the CUSO and credit unions can embrace a culture of constant improvement will be front and center.
“Longer term, I envision this model being a powerful engine for credit unions, because we will have this amazing opportunity to accomplish innovations that many credit unions cannot do on their own due to smaller resources and capabilities,” Hendrickson said. “In many cases, credit unions cannot make these improvements. But we can be their thought-leader to help them drive growth, increase scalability, develop a better member experience, and raise profitability using all the best practices we’ve built.”
The MSS model proved very appealing to Hendrickson, especially since the CUSO revolves around “making things better” for credit unions and their members. He says MSS has an opportunity to “shout its message from the rooftops” to other credit unions desiring the same benefits for serving their members.
Historically, credit unions were known as disruptive innovators in the financial services industry. Today, credit unions and other providers alike are facing disruption they never foresaw coming from outside the traditional arena. “It puts us in a unique space to reclaim our title,” Hendrickson said. “That’s exciting.”
He brings 22 years of financial services experience, with a unique and tight focus on member experience and lending. Overseeing both of these areas — individually and combined — has given him the opportunity to work as a “fixer of sorts,” where processes are enhanced, streamlining remains imperative, and credit union members receive a much more positive experience.
Hendrickson notes that he and MSS are first and foremost “in the people business.” That’s the foundation for his work ethic.
“That culture of constantly developing professionals and helping credit union members achieve their goals — that’s what we do together,” he said about MSS and its partner credit unions. “It’s a great honor and responsibility. I’m excited to see where our industry is going and thrilled to see what MSS can do to lead that charge.”
California Workers Balance Deposits, Inflation, & Employment Opportunities
Local household “savings” in checking and all other combined deposit accounts across California are hitting their highest levels ever experienced at credit unions, with the total figure skyrocketing 35 percent from pre-pandemic second quarter 2019 to second quarter 2021 (see graph down below).
THE LATEST TREND
This trend represents an unprecedented two-year increase according to the latest California Credit Union Industry Snapshot report released today by the California Credit Union League (click snapshot report for data and chart-graphs).
Collectively, deposits made by 13.1 million California credit union members rose from $172 billion to $233 billion during the June 2019 to June 2021 period at 286 locally headquartered credit unions in the state — a statistically significant barometer of local banking activity.
No other two-year period in recent history has experienced such a boost in California credit union deposits by members and households to the tune of a net-positive $61 billion (35 percent growth).
WOCCU 2020 Statistical Report also shows depth of credit union gender gaps
Improved supervision and data reporting in the world’s second-most populous country combined with continued growth across the globe resulted in a 29% year-to-year increase in international credit union membership, according to World Council of Credit Unions’ (WOCCU) newly released 2020 Statistical Report.
As of December 31, 2020, there were a total of 375,160,065 credit union members in 118 countries.
The big jump in membership is largely the result of improved data collection and reporting in India, which shows the country has more than 91 million credit union members. WOCCU reported Indian credit union membership of roughly 20 million in 2019, based on more limited data available at that time.
The rest of the international credit union movement grew by more than 14 million members in 2020, despite COVID-19 restrictions and lockdowns across the globe.
“On all six continents, credit unions continued to grow our movement last year despite incredible challenges by working to keep frontline staffers and members safe from infection at branch locations, while rolling out special financial assistance and relief measures to keep members solvent. Many credit unions also ramped up their digital services to make sure members could access their accounts and make payments remotely. All those efforts helped credit unions keep existing members and add new ones,” said WOCCU President and CEO Elissa McCarter LaBorde.
With the large jump in India, Asia saw a membership increase of 114% in 2020. Latin American credit unions grew at a rate of 10%, while African and Caribbean credit unions both saw membership increases of 7%.
Assets and savings increase; loan growth stagnant in much of the world
Financial data featured in the 2020 Statistical Report shows credit union assets grew by 23% in 2020, surpassing the $3 trillion mark for the first time, while member savings grew at a much faster rate than credit union loans. This follows global trends in weaker demand for credit as well as increased risks in credit portfolio quality.
Globally, the total dollar amount of member savings went up by 24% from 2019, with loans increasing by just 11%. That difference was even more pronounced in emerging and developing markets. Savings among credit union members in Africa grew by 65% while the total dollar amount of loans increased by just 7%. In Latin America, savings grew by 14% as loans decreased from 2019 levels.
New in 2020: demographic data shows large gender gaps
For the first time in 2020, World Council included demographic data in its Statistical Report. The data was compiled from 34 member associations that answered survey questions about the makeup of their credit union membership and leadership—specifically as it relates to age and gender.
The responses show large gaps exist in the number of women involved in the credit union movement compared to men, both in terms of membership and in chief executive or board director positions.
In Asia, Africa and Europe, men account for roughly 60% of all credit union members. The numbers are more balanced in Latin America, where women make up nearly half of all members.
In terms of leadership, Europe is the most gender equitable, with women accounting for more than 60% of credit union board directors and 51% of chief executive officers (CEOs). Women are least likely to serve in either role in Asia, where more than 70% of CEOs and board directors are men. The numbers in Africa, Latin America and North America, also show men hold more than 60% of leadership positions.
The survey results also revealed that credit union members worldwide are over 45 years of age on average. North American credit union members are the oldest on average, at 53 years of age. Africa has the youngest membership base, at 39 years.
“There is no question credit unions have work to do when it comes to attracting more women as members and leaders. Our movement must also examine new ways to make credit unions more relevant and appealing to young people. World Council looks forward to working with our members to address these challenges and improve outcomes in these areas,” said McCarter LaBorde.
World Council reports data based on country responses to its annual survey and does not make estimates for non-reporting countries. The Statistical Report provides the most comprehensive data on the global credit union movement available and is cited widely by governments, international institutions and analysts as an expert resource.
You can view the full 2020 Statistical Report here.
World Council of Credit Unions is the global trade association and development platform for credit unions. World Council promotes the sustainable development of credit unions and other financial cooperatives around the world to empower people through access to high quality and affordable financial services. World Council advocates on behalf of the global credit union system before international organizations and works with national governments to improve legislation and regulation. Its technical assistance programs introduce new tools and technologies to strengthen credit unions' financial performance and increase their outreach.
World Council has implemented 300+ technical assistance programs in 90 countries. Worldwide, 86,451 credit unions in 118 countries serve 375 million people. Learn more about World Council's impact around the world at www.woccu.org.
Attendees of the Northwest Credit Union Association’s Enchanted Northwest gala and auction at MAXX Convention Wednesday night, did a long-time fundraising tradition proud. They wore out their arms raising their bidding paddles again and again for Credit Unions for Kids, a now-national charity founded decades ago in the Northwest.
As a result, eight Children’s Miracle Network hospitals in the region will have more funds to support research, medical equipment, and life-saving care for young patients and their families. Bidding on deluxe getaways to wine country inns, world-renowned resorts, and electric cars to be donated to each of the hospitals, contributors raised $1,001,720 – all in a single night. The fundraising total was announced from the MAXX Convention mainstage in Boise Thursday afternoon.
A steer named Karen and a horse named Cat
Bidding was inspired by the event’s “Miracle Child,” Brinley Oldham. Brinley was unable to attend the Enchanted Northwest Gala in person, but video produced by the hospital detailed a horrific day in 2019, when Brinley, then 9, was helping her family brand the herd on their remote Idaho ranch. She was trampled by a cow and suffered life-threatening injuries. Fortunately, St. Luke’s Children’s Hospital in Boise had opened a pediatric trauma center just 12 days before Brinley’s accident. All of the child-specific medical equipment was in place, and the well-practiced team of healthcare workers was ready. Brinley’s life was saved, and less than a month later, she was back at the ranch.
Idaho Central Credit Union served as Brinley’s sponsoring credit union. In a video conversation with CEO Kent Oram, Brinley shared that the steer she showed at 4-H this year, was named “Karen.” And the horse she has mastered riding? Its name is “Cat.” That exchange brought laughs. Brinley’s career choice also won applause from attendees.
“When I first got out of the hospital, I thought I wanted to be a nurse or doctor, so that I could help other kids like me,” she said. “But now I kind of want to be a vet because this year, we’ve had quite a few animals get hurt, and it just seems cool to watch the process of them healing.”
Healing is what Credit Union for Kids is all about
“The credit unions’ generosity is once again going to make a difference for CMN hospitals as they help families and young patients through the most difficult of times,” said Troy Stang, President and CEO of NWCUA. “We appreciate the hard work of the Enchanted Northwest’s volunteer committee, all of the sponsors, the generous donors for gift packages, and the credit union family for its friendly, but competitive, bidding for the kids.”
NASCUS President and CEO, Lucy Ito Honored with Herb Wegner Outstanding Individual Achievement Award...
The National Credit Union Foundation (NCUF) announced the honorees of their 2022 Herb Wegner Memorial Awards, highlighting a range of personal and organizational achievements within the credit union industry. Among the winners, National Association of State Credit Union Supervisors (NASCUS) President and CEO Lucy Ito will receive the Outstanding Individual Achievement Award.
Rose Conner, Chairperson of the Board of Directors stated “I have had the great pleasure of working with a true credit union professional in Lucy Ito. She has been dedicated and successful in enhancing NASCUS and the credit union system. The honor is well-deserved. Thank you and congratulations Lucy!”
"Throughout her career, Lucy has been committed to building bridges and opening doors to collaboration between credit unions, state regulators, federal agencies, and industry partners. She is a true champion of the credit union motto "people helping people." It's been an honor to work with her and we congratulate her on this extraordinary accomplishment.” commented Mike Williams, Chairperson of the Credit Union Advisory Council.
As President and CEO of NASCUS, Ms. Ito advocates on behalf of state agencies that supervise more than 2,000 state-chartered credit unions and just over half of all U.S. credit union assets, as of June 30, 2021.
“I am incredibly humbled to receive this prestigious recognition. It takes so many people for any organization to be successful. At NASCUS, our ‘secret sauce’ is our tireless staff combined with our Regulator Board of Directors, Credit Union Advisory Council, and our membership of both state agencies and credit union industry stakeholders. Together, we are more and better. I am deeply grateful to the nominators and the Herb Wegner Awards Selection Committee for recognizing the work of NASCUS, the California and Nevada Leagues, and the World Council of Credit Unions.” stated Ms. Ito.
Having previously worked for the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues and the World Council of Credit Unions, Ito has spent her career championing credit unions’ uniqueness, bringing differing viewpoints to an objective table.
During her extensive tenure, Ito played a critical role in:
Katie Averill, Superintendent, Iowa Department of Commerce, Division of Credit Unions stated “Lucy has a professionally unique way of bringing regulators and credit unions together that will positively impact the collective credit union industry for years to come. She leaves behind an uplifting legacy of collaboration; all in the best interest of credit union members, partners, and colleagues. I offer my most sincere congratulations to Lucy for this honor.”
“These awards celebrate the innovators and modern-day pioneers of the credit union movement,” said Gigi Hyland, executive director of the Foundation. “These are the individuals and institutions revolutionizing the credit union system through living and embodying our founding principles and values. Their tireless work ignites and inspires all of us in our journey to make financial freedom achievable to all through credit unions.
Accolades will be presented at the annual NCUF Dinner on Monday, February 28, 2022, in Washington, D.C., held in conjunction with the Credit Union National Association’s Governmental Affairs Conference.
WASHINGTON, DC – The National Association of Federally-Insured Credit Unions (NAFCU) Chief Economist and Vice President of Research Curt Long issued the following statement after the Bureau of Labor Statistics released the September Jobs Report:
“Payroll gains disappointed in September, failing to hit the 200,000 mark for the first time in the calendar year,” said NAFCU Chief Economist and Vice President of Research Curt Long. “However, there were positive signs buried below the headline number. Much of the weakness was concentrated in local education, which is likely due to faulty seasonal adjustments."
Meanwhile, restaurant and retail employment picked up at a time when COVID cases were cresting, which bodes well for the October report.
As compared to August, job gains in September were skewed toward full-time work, and average hours worked per employee picked up. Wage growth accelerated to 4.6 percent versus the prior year, which should help blunt the impact of strong inflation.
By Roy Urrico
Finopotamus aims to highlight white papers, surveys, analyses and reports that provide a glimpse as to what is taking place and/or impacting credit unions and other organizations in the financial services industry.
A BeyondTrust report and an CISA, FBI, and NSA alert on ransomware threats; and a Juniper Research study about robocalls highlight a roundup of cybersecurity analyses.
BeyondTrust Labs Analysis of Ransomware and Phishing Trends
Atlanta-based BeyondTrust, which provides privileged access management, in its BeyondTrust Labs Malware Threat Report 2021 found malware-as-a-service (MaaS) and human-operated ransomware campaigns continue as a major cybersecurity threat. This research provides insights and analysis into threats and privileged account misuse on Windows devices across the globe based on real-world monitoring and analysis of attacks discovered in the wild by the BeyondTrust Labs team between the first quarters of 2020 and 2021.
The research also dives into reoccurring threat themes and maps out tools, techniques, and procedures using 58 techniques in the MITRE Adversarial Tactics, Techniques, and Common Knowledge (MITRE ATT&CK) Framework, a globally accessible knowledge base of adversary tactics and techniques based on real-world observations, reflecting the various phases of an adversary's attack lifecycle and the platforms.
“For decades, enterprises have made significant investments in security solutions in an attempt to strengthen their cyber defenses,” said James Maude, lead cybersecurity researcher at BeyondTrust. “Many of these investments have proven to be ineffective, particularly with changes brought on by the pandemic. Security perimeters have dissolved, creating an exponential growth in attack surfaces, and rendering network monitoring and firewall technologies less effective. Endpoint privilege management solutions enable enterprises to reduce their attack surfaces, while gaining greater control over their digital infrastructure.”
Key report findings:
The report noted while ransomware has clearly evolved, the fundamental needs to execute code and leverage privileges have largely remained consistent. Whether it is ransomware hitting a single endpoint, or a sophisticated, tailored attack, the benefits of proactively reducing attack surfaces by removing admin accounts and controlling application execution are highly effective.
BeyondTrust pointed out threat actors work ceaselessly to evolve its operations and have matured significantly over the past year. Also observed is that a ransomware attack can be comprised of multiple threat actors, tools and platforms. And as threat actors seek to maximize the disruption to organizations and extract the highest ransom payments, the ransomware model is shifting towards human-driven, enterprise-wide attacks.
Parallel to legitimate software companies trending towards software as a service (SaaS), threat actors are shifting to MaaS with specialists emerging in areas including enterprise credential sales, initial access to a target organization, lateral movement capability, and payload delivery.
Joint Cybersecurity Advisory on Conti Ransomware
The Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), the FBI, and the National Security Agency (NSA) recently released a joint cybersecurity advisory alerting organizations of increased Conti ransomware attacks aimed at stealing sensitive files from domestic and international organizations. In typical Conti ransomware attacks, malicious cyber actors steal files, encrypt servers and workstations, and demand a ransom payment.
The warning said Conti, observed in more than 400 attacks on U.S. and international organizations, differs from other ransomware-as-a-service (RaaS) models in that developers pay the ransomware deployers a wage rather than a percentage of the proceeds from a successful attack.
According to the alert, “Conti actors are known to exploit legitimate remote monitoring and management software and remote desktop software as backdoors to maintain persistence on victim networks. The actors use tools already available on the victim’s network. In some cases, the actors also use TrickBot malware to carry out post-exploitation tasks.” The warning also referenced a recently leaked threat actor “playbook,” in which Conti actors also exploited vulnerabilities in unpatched assets.
Conti actors often gain initial access to networks through:
CISA, FBI, and NSA recommended that network defenders use multi-factor authentication, implement network segmentation, filter traffic, scan for vulnerabilities, keep software updated, remove unnecessary applications and apply controls, implement endpoint and detection response tools and limit access to resources over the network, especially by restricting RDP.
Robocall Fraud to Cost Consumers $40 Billion Globally In 2022
A new study from Hampshire, U.K.-based Juniper Research, Robocall Mitigation: Emerging Strategies, Competitor Leaderboard & Market Forecasts 2021-2026, found that consumers will lose $40 billion to fraudulent robocalls globally in 2022; rising from $31 billion in 2021.
Fraudulent robocalls pose threats to consumers by encouraging the disclosure of personal information that fraudsters use for identity theft. In most robocall fraud cases, fraudsters impersonate a genuine brand or enterprise to gain the call recipient’s trust.
Research co-author Charles Bowman remarked: “Even if the fraudulent attempt is unsuccessful, subscribers will still be subject to nuisance calls. In 2022, we predict over 110 billion unwanted robocalls will be made globally; significantly diminishing the value of mobile voice channels.” North America is the region most affected by fraudulent robocalling; accounting for 45% of global losses next year, despite representing just 5% of mobile subscribers.
The study predicts that emerging mitigation frameworks will combat fraudulent robocalls by creating an ecosystem to verify brands and enterprises. However, it noted that standardizing services across all stakeholders, including mobile operators, brands and mobile operating system developers, will be essential to creating a service that mitigates fraud in real-time.
The report identified brand authentication technologies as a critical element of these frameworks. Brand authentication services provide mobile subscribers with information on the smartphone screen before answering the call, including the verified identity of the calling enterprise and purpose of the call.
Author: Mike Lawson
Married to a most gorgeous and wonderful wife, raising 5 kiddos (including twins!), enjoy helping others tell their stories, and love surfing SoCal waves. Keep it simple.