Study: Credit union executives less hopeful in 2013

Brad Smith

Brad Smith

A recent survey by Abound Resources, a credit union consulting firm associated with the Credit Union National Association, revealed that credit union CEOs are much less optimistic about the coming year than they were entering 2012.

“This year credit union CEOs are decidedly more pessimistic than they have been since we launched our annual survey four years ago,” Abound Resources President and CEO Brad Smith said.

Twenty-five percent of credit union CEOs indicated that they were very or somewhat pessimistic about their institution’s outlook in 2013, compared to 16 percent in 2012. Conversely, 37 percent of credit union CEOs indicated that they were optimistic or very optimistic about the coming year, compared to 43 percent in 2012. The driving factors in the changed outlook are the increasing degree of regulation and unpredictable regulatory environment.

Credit union executives also cited concerns related to loan demand and a struggling economy, both of which were mentioned by more than 60 percent of CEOs as major concerns for 2013.

Many survey respondents indicated that top priorities in the coming year would involve increasing technological and operational efficiencies, as well as streamlining workflows. Fifty percent of CEOs mentioned streamlining workflows as a priority in 2013.

“There is a built-up demand for improving credit union workflow since so few credit unions made workflow improvements last year,” Smith said. “Workflow improvements are tricky as middle management is often resistant to changing how they work, or they don’t know how to make changes beyond a few tweaks.”

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