Friday, August 15, 2014
On the final day of training, Fellows learned about the importance of strategic partnerships with other nonprofit organizations, government agencies and even for-profit organizations. For the AM session, Ann Solomon, Strategic Initiatives Manager at the Federation, explained the importance of partnerships as well as partnerships she is currently helping to forge. Our Fellows, always mindful of lives of low- and moderate- income families, proceeded to brainstorm ideas about how they can better connect with the communities they serve through partnerships.
After a short break, Fellows had some time to reflect on the week together. While many were exhausted by now from the rigorous schedule, Fellows remained upbeat to the end and recalled some of the things they remember to take back home with them. They expressed gratitude for having the opportunity to learn from quality instructors and being able to learn from each other. They also learned about the different opportunities to grow their respective credit unions, possibilities for external funding and grants, what to look for to ensure their credit union is in compliance with NCUA’s rules and regulations, and how the Federation can help CDCUs that facing turbulent times.
Overall, our Fellows had a great week in NYC, working hard from early morning to late night to become the new emerging leaders of the CDCU movement, yet having enough energy after to explore the boroughs of NYC. Federation staff is glad to see that all Fellows have gained a network of colleagues through the program and looks forward to seeing them take on leadership roles with renewed purpose.
Thursday, August 14, 2014
After a day of visiting sites around the city, Fellows were back in the Federation offices. During Thursday’s training, Fellows got an intimate look at how business lending decisions are made at a credit union from the lecture and materials provided by Alan Feigenbaum, President/CEO of Advanced Financial Federal Credit Union. As Alan explained his criterion and reasoning for accepting or rejecting a loan application, many Fellows recalled similar scenarios at their respective credit unions and got a better understanding of the reasons behind the loan officer’s decisions.
Following much-requested New York City pizza for lunch, Fellows next got a chance to hear from Nick Sanimarco, former NCUA Economic Development Specialist (EDS) who now works as a consultant to credit unions. Based on his experience, Nick brought a wealth of knowledge on rules and regulations for credit unions. While the subject may seem arduous at first, Fellows were fully engaged on the topic and were able to obtain valuable insider information such as the maximum loan amount that can be extended to a member as well as differentiating maximum interest rates allowed for short-term loans (STS) and member business loans. Fellows also got an understanding of the role of the supervisory committee and what their important role is in relation to the credit union’s health.
As the week-long training wound down, Fellows made a trip to Park Slope, Brooklyn for their last group dinner together and expressed that they had learned much about their credit union. The Federation hopes that the training provided Fellows the tools necessary to succeed while injecting fresh views and leadership at their respective credit unions.
Wednesday, August 13
Following two days of rigorous training in the fundamentals of finance, Fellows were introduced to the NCUA’s Financial Performance Reports (FPRs) and asked to present on the current financial picture and future projections of their respective credit unions. Each Fellow came prepared with PowerPoint presentations and added their insider knowledge to provide a compelling case of future possibilities for their respective credit unions.
For the afternoon, our Fellows had a chance to visit Urban Upbound Federal Credit Union in Long Island City, a credit union founded to provide residents of public housing neighborhoods the tools and resources needed to break the cycle of poverty, achieve economic mobility and self-sufficiency. They were first greeted by Dave Miller, Director of Finance and Operations, and got a brief overview of products and services offered by the credit union. Robin Wilson, Director of Financial Fitness Program, next introduced Urban Upbound’s Financial Fitness program and explained how financial counselling is key component in achieving their mission.
Following the visit to Urban Upbound, the Fellows headed to Citibank headquarters where they met with Citi Community Development staff led by Eileen Auld and Greg Schiefelbein. The CFLA program is funded by a generous grant by Citi Community Development. For the Fellows, who have been wondering all week if their credit union competes with banks, the visit proved to be an eye-opener. Our time with Citi Community Development showed that financial institutions can forge meaningful partnership with each other to provide solutions to most pressing issues in communities across the nation and make them more resilient. The Fellows came back with a new appreciation for partnerships with other financial institutions and were treated to some much needed dinner at seafood restaurant in Union Square.
Tuesday, August 12
Monday, August 11, 2014
The week-long training has officially kicked off as our Fellows made their first subway trip from downtown Manhattan to the New School’s University Center in Union Square. Led by Professors Charles Allison and Kevin McQueen, Fellows immersed themselves in community finance, starting with interpreting financial statements and evaluating financial performance in the morning. During the afternoon, Fellows applied their learning by looking at various real-life case studies. The first day concluded with a lively discussion about future policy implications for credit unions, the movement’s impact during the recent financial crisis and differentiating for credit unions of different sizes. While it was a long day filled with information, the Fellows were fully on board with all activities through the day and looked forward to coming back early in the morning next day.
Sunday, August 10, 2014
CFLA 2014 has kicked off with a bang as Fellows from across the country have safely arrived in New York City. For their first assignment, each Fellow was tasked to upload a selfie with NYC as the backdrop. For the first day, our Fellows, while weary from travels, were eager to participate in deep discussions about the history and the culture of credit unions and the CDCU movement. Fellows were then treated to a night out at South Street Seaport as they gear up for intense training early Monday morning.
Meet the Fellows!