MAXX 2018 Welcomes Nearly 1,000 Credit Union Professionals and Business Partners


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MAXX 2018, the Northwest Credit Union Association’s annual convention and trade show, was an outstanding success, with nearly 1,000 credit union professionals and business partners attending the event, held Oct. 16-18 in Tacoma, Wash.

Sessions and talks focused on advancing the credit union movement through policy advancement, public awareness, and collective action, and helping credit unions capture market share and better serve their members. Attendees heard from dozens of speakers, learned about new programs and initiatives soon to launch, networked with peers and business partners, and had the opportunity to celebrate their achievements on the final night during the Awards ceremony. Credit unions also did what they do best – helped the communities they serve, raising more than $628,000 for Credit Unions for Kids during the annual Auction held at MAXX.

The Strategic Link Trade Show featured 120 business partners, introducing credit unions to a wide range of new services, from fintech and human resources, to lending and data aggregation.

NWCUA President and CEO, Troy Stang, kicked off the convention with an inspiring welcome. He spoke to a full house during the Opening Session on Oct. 16, thanking credit unions for their advocacy efforts, and citing the passage of S. 2155 as a major victory for credit unions.

“On May 24, you accomplished one of the biggest wins experienced by credit unions in 20 years,” Stang told attendees. “Not since HR 1151 in 1998, has there been an update to the Federal Credit Union Act.”

He reminded the audience that advocacy efforts have resulted in big advancements, including credit union charter improvements in Idaho, Oregon, and Washington.

He also focused on the high consumer engagement within the Northwest, with approximately 55 percent of the region’s population already using credit union services. To increase that number regionally, as well as nationally, the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) is partnering with leagues and credit unions to launch a public awareness initiative titled “Open Your Eyes to a Credit Union,” which will target non-members.

Susan Toalson, VP of Creating Awareness with CUNA, spoke about the initiative’s goals and the work done so far. The digital campaign to non-members will launch in January, and has a fundraising goal of $100 million, which will sustain it for three years.

Taking a deeper dive into the topic, discussing why it’s important, what’s needed to achieve established goals, and answering credit union professionals’ questions, NWCUA’s VP of Communications and Marketing, Danielle Sittu, led a panel comprised of Stang, Toalson, and Strategic Market Share Task Force members Shelli Bardsley, Chief Administrative Officer at Idaho Central Credit Union, and Steve Pagenstecher, VP of Member Engagement at Point West, who offered task force and credit union perspective and support of the effort.

“We lack a unified message as a movement,” Toalson said. “There are 82 million millennials about to make major financial decisions. We need alignment with that group and credit unions. We need words and phrases that resonate.”

Other MAXX 2018 Highlights

MAXX keynote speakers provided useful insight over three days, including nationally acclaimed political expert Chris Stirewalt, who examined the current state of national politics. He asked credit unions, which engage in regular community service, to push for civic education.

“Will you promise wherever you are, will you demand civics education where you live,” he asked. “Will you please?” That drew a round of applause from the audience.

He touched on American culture, and how in communities nationwide, it’s common to come together in times of difficulty, and compared that spirit to credit unions.

“If you have strong social capital, dense and rich, with layer upon layer of people taking care of each other, you can handle a lot. You rebound nicely,” Stirewalt said. Credit unions, he noted, have that culture.

Marketing expert Jonah Berger also gave MAXX attendees a fascinating look into what resonates with consumers and why word-of-mouth is more important than any form of advertising.

“Word-of-mouth has a huge impact on human behavior,” Berger said. “People don’t trust things that come from companies.” The key is to find the right people to reach a target audience – “someone who knows them better than we do. Paying them isn’t the answer, Berger said, but capturing motivation is. People will talk about and share it.”

Credit unions also heard about two new NWCUA projects underway – the Community Impact Reporting Tool, which will help credit unions gather data and stories on charitable giving, volunteering, community development, as well as the Affordable Workforce Housing program, which will provide grant dollars to credit unions seeking to make positive impacts within their communities.

During the Closing Session, “The Power of We – Why We Act,” Tyrone Poole, Founder of OneApp, Jill Tracie Nichols, Founder and CEO of the Tracie Group, and Luis Ortega, Founder & Director of Storytellers for Change, wrapped up the convention with inspiring messages for attendees to take back to their credit unions.

“Sometimes it’s the people who have to deal with the same problems, day in and day out, that make them uniquely qualified to solve them,” Poole told the crowd. “When you seek help, make sure your search goes deep, far, and wide. The people who don’t know what the box looks like always think outside of it.”

Ortega reminded the crowd that “our empathetic capacity to understand depends on our closeness to the people we serve. Look to your members for stories that will bring you closer to those who are yet to become your members.”

Editor’s Note: Check your Association’s other MAXX 2018 coverage in this week’s edition of Anthem, as well in next week’s edition.

Posted in MAXX Annual Convention.