NAPERVILLE, Ill. (8/5/11)--The Illinois Credit Union League (ICUL), through the Illinois Small Asset Size (SAS) Credit Union Advisory Group, has launched its first statewide action plan for small credit unions. The plan will facilitate a statewide collaboration, study small credit union challenges, offer solutions, and help secure the strength of the small credit union community, said the league. The announcement of the advisory group was made during ICUL’s SAS Credit Union Conference, an annual two-day event for credit unions with less than $20 million in assets. “The existence of a viable, healthy small credit union community is not only vital to the financial well-being of the members they serve, but also to the political and cooperative strength of the entire movement," said Dan Plauda, ICUL president/CEO. He noted the group will provide an “additional level of service to such an important segment of credit unions.” The advisory group is charged to create a plan that will provide an opportunity for credit unions to shape distinct and permanent SAS workgroups statewide. It includes four priorities:
* Reduce the regulatory and compliance burden. Small credit unions have identified regulatory compliance as a barrier to running an effective day-to-day operation. Assistance in this area will include providing “hot topic” multi-chapter events, enhancing and expanding the online small credit union resource center available on the league’s website, issuing e-mail updates, and developing a centralized clearinghouse of common vendors. * Promote collaboration. Small credit unions will benefit from joining together on products and services, ideas and projects. The advisory group will help build partnerships, establish peer networks, provide credit union mentoring, and coordinate a market place to catalogue available low-cost or no cost furniture and equipment. * Enhance communication. Opening an on-going dialogue within the small credit union community is essential to implement programs. Communication will facilitate initiatives such as small credit union workgroups, “hot topics” conference calls, sharing information, and using alternate communication methods such as an already-established ICUL small credit union listserv. * Increase competitiveness. Adopting sturdy plans to reach non-members will bring increased unity, growth and stability. SAS credit unions will receive help via promoting their Web presence, participating in the Illinois REAL Solutions program, using a marketing toolkit, and strengthening their niche in the marketplace.
“SAS credit unions are big business--in Illinois 72% of all credit unions have less than $25 million in assets,” said Joni Senkpeil, ICUL director of small credit union development. “It is our hope the action plan builds upon this foundation with prudent actions that support the continued growth of the small credit union community.” Members of the advisory group include: Michael Daugherty, CEO, Community Plus FCU ($14.5 million, Rantoul); Kimberly Hocking, CEO, Kaskaskia Valley Community CU ($7.8 million, Centralia); Karen Jurasek, CEO, Generations CU ($16.9 million, Rockford); and ICUL staff members Vicki Ponzo, senior vice president of member services, and Senkpeil. More than 80 credit union staff and board members turned out for the conference, which ended Wednesday at ICUL’s offices in Naperville, Ills. The conference provides an educational event to address challenges and concerns of credit unions in this particular asset group. This year’s event was sponsored by ICUL, the Illinois Credit Union Foundation and CUNA Mutual Group.