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CSS provider study: Reg environment dents CEOs' optimism
AUSTIN, Texas (1/11/13)--Credit union CEOs are more pessimistic about 2013 than they were about 2012, largely due to an increasingly difficult and unpredictable regulatory environment, according to a survey from Abound Resources, an alliance provider of CUNA Strategic Services (CSS).

Other major issues included a weak economy and loan demand. Both of these factors were mentioned by more than 60% of credit union CEOs surveyed as major concerns for 2013.

"This year credit union CEOs are decidedly more pessimistic than they have been since we launched our annual survey four years ago," said Brad Smith, president/CEO of Abound Resources, a credit union consulting firm.

Roughly 25% of respondents reported they were either very or somewhat pessimistic about their credit union's outlook  for 2013. That compares with 16% in 2012 who were pessimistic and none who were very pessimistic. About 37% in 2013 said they were optimistic or very optimistic, compared with 43% in 2012. The other 38% indicated they expect another year like 2012.

Other key findings:

  • Increasing consumer loans, expanding online presence and improving sales and marketing methods were the top three priorities CEOs cited as growth priorities for 2013.
  • Interest in increasing member business loans and mortgage loans jumped considerably this year, with CEOs searching for higher yields and portfolio diversification.
  • Operating priorities were consistent with surveys of past years, with the primary focus on streamlining workflows and increasing operational and technology efficiencies.
Expect 2013 to be the year of credit union workflow improvements, with 50% citing this as a priority, said Abound Resources. 

"There is a built-up demand for improving credit union workflow since so few credit unions made workflow improvements last year," said Smith. "Workflow improvement projects are tricky as middle management is often resistant to changing how they work, or they don't know how to make changes beyond a few tweaks."

For a complimentary copy of the survey and Abound's top five recommended strategies, use the link.
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