Amplify’s Small Credit Union Round Table to Focus on Shared Economy, Sustainability

When Michael Grabicki took the reins as Manager/CEO of Spokane-based Avista Corp. Credit Union three years ago, he found himself with a hopelessly dated “1995-era” website. At most, the credit union was seeing five online loan applications a month.

Grabicki and Loan Officer Pat Graham huddled, studied quarter-million dollar websites they admired, and partnered with CU Solutions Group to create the same model — for under $20,000. Avista Corp. launched its new site this spring, and saw 100 online applications in May.

“Borrow ideas from the rich to survive,” says Grabicki. “That’s what small credit unions can do to grow.”

Technology is just one area where small credit unions can share. People, systems and found money through grants are others.

Attendees to the Northwest Credit Union Association’s Small Credit Union Round Table on October 6 will take a deep dive into sharing. The round table kicks of the NWCUA’s Amplify Convention in Portland.

Charles Papenfus, CEO of Fontana, California-based Inland Valley Federal Credit Union will lead the sharing discussion. His credit union shares at least five key resources with other small credit unions in its region.

The Merger Train: Should Your Credit Union be on the Ride?

Another focus at the round table will be mergers. While not the answer for all credit unions by any means, small credit unions are often candidates in today’s environment for a merger or acquisition. Roger Jones, Managing Partner at Jones & Sas, LLC, has consulted financial institutions through this complex process for years, and will present a merger conversation tailored specifically for smaller credit unions. In this interactive dialogue, attendees will dive into:

  • How to respond if approached;
  • The analysis to determine whether your credit union should approach another for a merger discussion;
  • Reasons to merge and reasons to maintain your autonomy; and
  • The decisions, disciplines and strategies necessary for a survivable and sustainable merger.

Registration for Amplify and the round table are open online.

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790,

Posted in Events, NWCUA.