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It Takes a Village

As we turn the lights on again and settle back into our daily routine following the CUNA GAC Conference in Washington D.C. we are feeling inspired, motivated and reinvigorated to tackle issues vital to the success of credit unions and consumer finance. Like any organization, business, or cause we recognize that anything that we do is only accomplished because of the support of many. It takes many individuals and organizations to light it up and make our work possible. It truly takes a village and we are so grateful for every shining member of our village.

One of those shining members is Visa. Their focus to expand education opportunities for emerging credit union leaders ensures Filene's War for Talent Center of Excellence continues its groundbreaking work to provide research and solutions to attract, develop, and promote top performers. We are thrilled to share Visa's big announcement with you. This press release can be found at

Visa fosters next generation of credit union leaders
New field research focused on recruiting practices and expanded education opportunities for emerging credit union leaders strengthens industry talent pipeline

SAN FRANCISCO, CA (February 22, 2018) — Today announced new research and education programs as part of the company’s ongoing efforts to strengthen the talent pipeline in the credit union industry. Visa, together with the Filene Research Institute, will conduct two unique studies exploring talent gaps in the credit union industry throughout 2018. Visa and Filene will also introduce expanded education opportunities and resources designed to inspire young leaders to pursue careers in credit unions and foster their growth.

“Credit unions are vital to the financial health of our communities and Visa is committed to ensuring the long-term success of these organizations,” said Doug Leighton, head of community accounts, Visa. “Our goal is to introduce opportunities for emerging talent to grow in their career, while bringing fresh ideas and strategies to credit union leadership in order to more effectively serve their members.”

Advancing recruitment research through the War for Talent Center of Excellence

Through Filene Research Institute’s War for Talent Center of Excellence Visa and Filene will convene leading academics and credit union experts to study the industry’s talent gap. Filene research fellow, Dr. Sekou Bermiss, assistant professor of management, University of Texas, Austin, will conduct two unique studies in 2018:

Factors of Talent Attraction at Two Credit Unions: A Field Study: Despite a large percentage of individuals in the labor force expressing interest in working for a company that makes a social impact, recruiting within credit unions remains a key challenge. This natural field experiment within a set of credit unions will test the effectiveness of current recruiting practices.
Credit Union Board Composition: Desires and Practices: This research aims to help credit union leadership identify key traits they seek in candidates and define values and soft skills that impact these traits in order to build a diverse board equipped to attract talent with well-rounded backgrounds, ideas and expertise.

“There remains a gap between credit union leadership and the members they serve. We have an opportunity to leverage people analytics and research to develop the right strategies for attracting, developing and promoting top performers within credit unions, from the front line to the boardroom,” said Dr. Sekou Bermiss, assistant professor of management, University of Texas, Austin and Filene research fellow. “I look forward to continuing research with the War for Talent Center of Excellence and Visa to share insights that help credit union leaders build and grow a qualified talent pipeline.”

These two new studies build on the Center’s first publication authored by Dr. Bermiss in 2017, “Laws of Attraction: Credit Union Recruitment in a Competitive Labor Market.” Credit union and human resources leaders can put these insights into practice with the “Talent Attraction Checklist,” an actionable resource outlining important factors like employee fit, job characteristics and recruiter behavior to consider throughout the recruitment process.

Furthering education and talent development through The Cooperative Trust

Visa and The Cooperative Trust, an initiative focused on educating and cultivating young leaders in the credit union industry, will offer expanded online and offline resources in 2018, including a new mentorship program. These efforts include the “Crashers” program, offering the brightest young leaders the opportunity to participate in conversations and events focused on shaping the future of credit unions. Visa and Filene Research with support from the Credit Union National Association will host 78 Crashers, a record number, at the upcoming Governmental Affairs Conference, the industry’s largest advocacy conference.

“As we continue to grow The Cooperative Trust and Crash opportunities, we’re always challenging ourselves to elevate and advance the program to provide the most impact for young professionals and the credit union system,” said Lauren Culp, manager, The Cooperative Trust. “Visa has played a valuable role in helping ensure young people have a voice and are included in the conversation as we look to the future of our industry.”


Program highlights to date include:

The Cooperative Trust received the 2017 Herb Wegner Award for Outstanding Program, the highest national honors for the credit union movement that celebrates programs that put belief into action. Five Crashers selected in the top 15 of the Next Top Credit Union Executive Competition. Over 130 Crashers participating in credit union events across the U.S., including hands on experience at Visa’s Innovation Center in San Francisco. Expanded online and offline resources including a new mentorship program, a refreshed website and online community, and additional Crash events.


Learn more about getting involved with Filene here.