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CU System
Filene outlines CU innovations for the future
MADISON, Wis. (12/15/11)--During its annual Think.DO session, the Filene Research Institute provided a glimpse of the services it offers the credit union industry--and also encouraged the credit union industry to use Filene resources.  

Think.DO is Filene's annual exploration of issues and innovations for the year ahead

George Hofheimer, Filene's chief research officer, described how Filene will soon introduce strategic opportunity reports, which will provide credit unions with peer comparisons based on strengths, weaknesses, opportunities and threats.

Filene also is exploring how to link member/customer loyalty with market share, based on a net promoter score metric, Hofheimer said.

Matt Davis, Filene's director of innovation, discussed Low Interest for Timeliness (LIFT), a loan program that targets the low‐to‐moderate income consumers with sub‐prime credit by rewarding consistent, timely loan payments on car loans. Participants earn annual percentage rate reductions for on-time payments. LIFT focuses borrowers on the goal of making on-time loan payments and backs up that focus with financial incentives.

Ben Rogers, director of research, described Filene's research with credit unions that experienced at least 5% growth in consumer loans during the economic downturn.

Among the traits the credit unions shared were:

  • Strong sales cultures;
  • Consistent underwriting standards;
  • Refinancing programs;
  • A strong market presence;
  • Symbiotic product lines; and
  • Both direct and indirect lending.
Denise Gabel, Filene's chief innovation officer, shared ideas from Finovate, a conference in which technology providers showcase innovative solutions in rapid seven-minute sessions.

Gabel said conferences such as Finovate--and sessions such as Think.Do--encourage participants to shift their focus from the "dashboard to the distance."

"There's never been a more exciting time in the history of personal finance to be a credit union," said Filene CEO Mark Meyer. "We're you're creative sandbox. Come play with us."
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