It was just about one year ago that we were all together in one room in Washington D.C. for the 2020 Filene Chair Breakfast, united around the mission of credit unions and the work you do to serve and support millions of credit union members. This year, we came to you not in a room but in a Zoom, and whether you were on breakfast, brunch or lunch, we sure missed sharing a meal in person!
We are honored and humbled that so many of our biggest supporters and members came together again this year to talk about the collective size of our impact and the innovative possibilities of tomorrow.
Here are the key topics we covered during this Filene tradition:
1. Unity and Gratitude
Over the past year, it has become increasingly clear what matters most to credit unions as you doubled down on your mission work and invested in your people, resiliency and innovation to ensure you remain strong to serve members long into the future. At Filene, we heard this unified credit union message loud and clear, and we responded accordingly to support you through our work by focusing on getting you more actionable resources, pivoting how we deliver our work to you, and highlighting the trends revealed in our data for credit unions to gain a strategic advantage.
When we were dealt not only a public health crisis, but intense social unrest in the face of extreme injustice, an unstable and bifurcated economy, and social isolation on a level we’ve never experienced before, we centered around what brings us together despite our physical distance.
For Filene, that continues to be our research and incubation -- and the impact it is having -- to help credit unions think forward and change lives. Thank you for making this possible.
We are once again entering a time of upheaval in our market. As pressures on credit union growth and traditional methods of income increase, the industry will need new data and resources to navigate new territory. Within this challenge lies opportunity--for credit unions and their members. These are the key areas of Filene’s work that can contribute to your success in the years ahead.
- Centers of Excellence: Focused on researching data analytics, emerging technology, consumers’ changing needs, the impact of community development, DEI and innovation and incubation – each of these centers continue to be squarely on point with the realities, challenges and opportunities credit unions face every day. Filene’s inner circle community—a powerful 25 credit unions totaling more than $180 billion in assets and 10 million members, plus 10 organizations that support credit unions—stood up to support this work, and we are grateful for that. These Centers will continue to give credit unions an advantage in the financial services space.
- Innovation and Incubation: Filene’s Senior Director of Incubation, Josh Sledge, said that by seeking new ideas, running test pilots, and scaling promising concepts, Filene’s innovation and incubation initiatives support the broader mission to help credit unions and communities thrive in new and innovative ways. The new Center of Excellence for Innovation and Incubation will fuel that mission. Dr. Jeffrey Robinson, a professor at Rutgers Business School will lead the center and he is excited for the opportunity to “be involved in movements that matter.”
- Network of academic experts: Filene has worked hard to assemble a super-hero league level of academic experts to head each of its research centers including Dr. Mai Nguyen who leads Filene’s Center for Community Social Impact. Under her thought leadership, this Center of Excellence will work to supercharge credit unions' social impact to give them a strategic advantage in the communities they serve and become a catalyst for positive community transformation.
With a fresh class of 23 credit union innovators in the i3 program this year, Filene has even more people power to rev the innovation engines for the credit union movement through Filene’s Incubator and innovation research. Thank you to our Inner Circle supporters, our Visionary, Leader, Innovator and Thinker level members, our i3 and Cooperative Trust communities, our Fellows and researchers, our incubation testers, our board of directors – we could not do all of this without you. Together, we have what it takes to solve the most pressing challenges facing credit unions and their communities.
By actively pursuing a path toward progress by taking the best there is and replacing it with something still better, as Ed Filene famously said, credit unions can avoid stagnation and thrive in the financial services space with these ideas, innovations and communities at work!
Savory or Sweet, Remote or In-person…
In honor of our tradition of providing brain food at our GAC Breakfast, try one of these two innovative twists on brunch classics!