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Michigan Credit Union League

Embrace and Employ the Innovators

Remember being told to “think outside the box”? It used to be such a common phrase; asking to forget the norm and imagine greater possibilities. Throw a curveball. No idea’s a bad idea. Blue sky thinking.

When a group of college students visited CUNA Mutual Group (CMG) earlier this month, it occurred to them just how obsolete the phrase has become.

Looking around, it’s been a long time since anyone settled on the norm. Innovation is everywhere. The apps we download needs updating. The new phone you bought is great, but an even better version is just around the corner. You can refinance your mortgage with the push of a button – in the time it takes to order a coffee.

The pace of change is simply so rapid now, so unrelenting, that the only true constant is change itself. But for credit unions and their partners–regulated institutions with complex, legacy processes–it can be a challenge to keep up. Large or small, we were built in the box.

CUNA Mutual Group is no different. For generations, CMG has been a proud member of the credit union movement and a trusted provider to 95% of all credit unions in this country*. But the world we operated in yesterday is not the world our members live in today.

CMG is proud to lead an organization that recognizes the only way to truly remain competitive, to provide continuing value to their members long into the future, is to embrace innovation–by employing the innovators.

A group of talented students visited the Madison, Wis., campus as finalists in the 2017 FOCUSS Idea Competition; a national contest CUNA Mutual Group has sponsored for two consecutive years.

The program challenges students from four historically black colleges and universities–and two Wisconsin colleges–to propose solutions to issues facing credit unions and their members.

This year’s participants were challenged to provide hypothetical product and marketing solutions to help the millions of U.S. households that are either financially unbanked or underbanked access safe and affordable credit.

And while each finalist received a cash prize, for CUNA Mutual Group the reward is much greater. It’s an opportunity for us to work with and learn from a group of young, innovative thinkers. Each participant is given the opportunity to enter into our internship program–a program recently overhauled to ensure every placement offered is done so with the expectation of continued employment.

The intern program is now a funnel for new, innovative and exciting talent. It’s a process that strengthens CMG’s future as much as theirs.

Because it truly is exciting to see and hear from the next generation of credit union leaders: those who simply don’t recall that the box ever existed.

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2017-05-22 00:00:00