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CU FinHealth Conference 2021 Recap

Woman at virtual conference

Thank you to everyone who made our CU FinHealth Conference a success last week! We enjoyed “seeing” all of you and talking with our informative panelists over the three days of the conference. A special thank-you to our co-hosts, the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues and the Cornerstone Foundation, for their collaboration and support. In case you missed the conference, here’s a quick recap to get you all caught up.

The first session, Financial Well-Being During a Pandemic, discussed the negative financial impact of the pandemic on women and people of color since they were groups that held many service jobs that were lost during widespread closures. Women were also impacted because of childcare duties that fell to them when schools closed. While unemployment is projected to be back to the low pre-pandemic levels by late 2022, minorities will still be making up for time lost during the past year and rebuilding their savings.

The final session of the first day was a consumer panel consisting of credit union members from across the country. Many panelists stated that they had their primary checking accounts at banks and they would go to their credit union for loans due to better rates or hold their savings accounts at their credit union because it was “more difficult” to get to their money there. Functionality and accessibility were additional issues that were pointed out as being problematic and reasons for them not to consider their credit union first. This led to breakout group discussions to conclude our first day and gave attendees a lot to think about!

The second day opened with a session on how financial well-being is connected to and impacts every aspect of people’s lives. The panelists discussed everything from a lack of affordable housing to the impact of a cancer diagnosis on finances as being determinants of mental and physical well-being. The panelists gave examples of how their organizations worked to make a positive impact in their local communities with financial grants, access to credit, the creation of health care programs inside a low-income elementary school, and helping families pay non-medical expenses during cancer treatment.

The day ended with a case study focused on a minority community in St. Paul whose neighborhood was demolished in the 1960s due to the construction of I-94. Group discussion centered around inequality and the recent unrest across the country, particularly in Minneapolis-St. Paul. Ideas around community leadership and how credit unions can help with change in their communities led to a fantastic dialogue to close out the second day.

The final day opened with a panel on how to put financial health and well-being at the heart of your credit union’s strategy. All of the panelists stated that credit unions need to start with their own employees by teaching them what financial well-being means and training them on your credit union’s mission. Once they do that, they’ll be able to truly help members by meeting them where they are.

Finally, our last session was led by the two largest payments CUSOs and continued to emphasize how important it is to meet members where they are and to not overlook your employees. The panelists also explained the value of working with members on a journey towards financial well-being by showing them outcomes and goals they could achieve, as opposed to just showing them the products that are available. Additionally, creating partnerships with other organizations can aid your credit union, employees, and members with achieving their goals.

We had a fantastic time working with our co-hosts to bring the CU FinHealth Conference to everyone as a virtual event. Thank you once again to all of our sponsors for their support: Mastercard, PSCU, Visa, CUNA Mutual Group, BALANCE, Cornerstone Resources, and SerTech. And don’t forget to mark your calendars for next year’s event! The 2022 CU FinHealth Conference will take place from April 25-27 in San Antonio, Texas.

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