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Credit Union Times
SEP TEMBER 9, 2020 | VOL. 31 | NO. 17 | CUTIMES.COM
Tending to Mental Health
COVID- 19 has peeled back various layers of society’s stresses,straining our mental healthon many levels. Alongside thisglobal health crisis, we face isolation in quarantine, economichardship, racial injustice, interpersonal relationships and thestruggles that come with raisingfamilies. With one-third of Americans recently reporting signs ofclinical anxiety and depression,and an anticipated rise in suicide rates in the coming monthsconnected to this pandemic, demand for behavioral and mentalhealth resources across our society is at a significant high.
This pandemic has also transformed the need for mentalhealth resources on a widespread scale, and with 137 million Americans currently employed, the workplace offers asignificant opportunity to improve access to these resourcesand get people the support theyneed.
Technology and tools canhelp address these issues in theshort-term. Through telehealth,people are conveniently connecting with therapists, and themarkets for digital behavioralhealth platforms like BetterHelpand self-help apps like Head-space and Calm are booming.But, in order to fully addressmental health in the workplace,benefits advisors and employers must also think long-termwhen it comes to resources andsolutions. Y15
FOCUSREPORT:CREDIT & DEBIT CARDS
Of the many changes resulting from the COVID- 19 pandemic, one that CU execs havekept their eyes on is consumers’ fluctuating spending habits. In this Focus Report,experts dissect the trends and advise CUs on how to best adapt their credit anddebit card programs. Y6
Unexpected benefitsarise for CUs. Y12
AI could play a keyrole. Y9
OpeningBranches ina PandemicPETER STROZNIAKpstrozniak@cutimes.com
hy are creditunions openingnew branches inthe middle of apandemic? After all, health officials have warned the coronavirusmay get worse – much worse – inthe fall and winter months, whichmay lead to new stay-at-homeorders and force credit unions toclose their lobbies again.
What’s more, the huge costs ofopening, staffing and maintainingnew branches despite COVID- 19’smany economic uncertaintiesand expected long-lasting effectsmay place a greater burden on anycredit union’s financials as moremembers choose digital bankingoptions over branch visits.
Nevertheless, some creditunion leaders said they believeopening new branches duringthe age of COVID is an acceptablebusiness risk that should pay offover the long term through service to their current and futuremembers. Another benefit is thatthe coronavirus has acceleratedthe urgency to advance digitalbanking projects that credit unionleaders said enhance the memberexperience at the branch.
“I think the two big factors thatwe’ll continue to focus on whenwe think about expansion is, howare we making it easier Y17GROWTH STRATEIGIES
bout two weeks intoher new job as CEO ofMission Federal CreditUnion in 2008, DebraSchwartz got a call from the NCUA.
“We have conserved WesCorp.”
the voice on the other end said.
“You have to write down your en-
tire investment from there.”
Those words would, under-
standably, thoroughly rattle any
CEO, especially a new one dur-
ing the tumultuous time period
when the economy plunged into
the Great Recession. But through-
out her career, Schwartz has never
turned down a challenge because
it usually leads to new growth and
opportunities, she said.
“If you wait until you are ready,
you’re never going to do it, so just
do it,” said the 60-year-old CEO,
who is now part of an elite club, as
only 15% of the industry’s billion-
dollar credit unions are led by fe-
male executives. “I wasn’t ready
to be CEO. I thought I was going
to be second in command when I
joined Mission Fed.”
That mindset helped her put
the $22.9 million loss into per-
spective as it became a spring-
board for opportunities that led to
more than 10 years of strong and
steady growth of Mission Federal’s
assets, loans and members.
“It was exceptionally challenging. It was certainly a lot of longhours, but it was exciting
Schwartz: A CEO on a Mission