Imperatives, Ethical Hacking, And High-Performing Teams

Five can't-miss data points this week on

This week, identifies three imperatives that will prove critical to the future of the credit union movement, learns more about the risk tolerance of a credit union that services cannabusinesses and cabernet producers in California, and is introduced to the role of an ethical hacking manager.

Here are five can’t-miss data points:


Every year, the team at Callahan & Associates gets together to identify what we think will be the hot topics for credit union leaders in the coming year. In the past, we’ve called these Big Ideas or Strategic Opportunities. This year, we’re doing things differently because we feel taking that same approach is just not good enough anymore. We feel something has changed. That’s why Callahan & Associates is making 2020 the Year of Imperatives. An imperative is something that is essential or urgent. Used another way, an imperative is something of vital importance; crucial. We feel that credit unions are poised for greater impact on members and communities. It’s time to really focus on what has gotten us here and how we leverage the unique qualities of cooperative financial services to fuel change. Here are three imperatives that will prove critical to the future success of the credit union movement.

Read: Credit Union Imperatives For 2020

$71.3 Million

North Bay Credit Union is a small cooperative with a big appetite for risk when it comes to seizing the opportunity to serve emerging needs in its field of membership. The Santa Rosa-based cooperative is the only financial institution that openly serves the legal cannabis market in the San Francisco area as the agricultural base it has long tended blends with suburban growth. In fact, the cannabis business is driving exponential growth at North Bay. The credit union began offering cannabis services in 2018, and its assets surged from $49.3 million in the third quarter of that year to $71.3 million at the same point in 2019. North Bay also continues to lend to grape growers and has a large stake in mortgages carving out a niche in manufactured housing in an expensive housing market in a region notoriously prone to wildfires, landslides, and even the occasional major earthquake.

Read: Cannabis Banking, Wildfires, And Wineries


Sean Verity is one of those interesting folks whose name fits his job, whose job fits his passion, and who took an unusual path to get there. The word verity means a true principle or belief of fundamental importance. Verity is an ethical hacker, whose job is to stay at least one step ahead of those who would wage cyberwar on his employer, Michigan State University Federal Credit Union. Music and the Marines were first stops for Verity, who developed his white-hat hacking skills as a hobby before trying it out at work. Here, he tells his story and shares more about the role of ethical hacking manager, a position he assumed in 2018, at the world’s largest university-sponsored credit union.

Read: What’s In A Name: Ethical Hacking Manager


By 2025, Listerhill Credit Union wants to be known as the credit union that provides the best member experience. Not a good experience. Not even a great one. The best experience. It’s an audacious goal that has forced the cooperative to reassess strategy, operations, and more. One way the credit union is working toward its goal is by developing a focused strategy dubbed The Forge Strategy that speaks to culture as much as to financial performance. It also has established a team whose sole focus is to internally disseminate strategy updates. Operationally, Listerhill has implemented high-performing teams an organization development concept in which a tight-knit group of employees with complementary skill sets align around a clearly-defined common goal. These teams, eight so far, have the knowledge and power to overcome barriers and achieve results quickly.

Read: How Listerhill’s High-Performing Teams Hit High Marks


It was a good year for the U.S. economy and broad financial markets in 2019. The S&P 500 generated a 31.5% return, a performance second only to 2013 (32.4%) over the last 20 years. Making the year more unique was the fact that broad fixed income also performed well on both a gross and net basis (i.e., non-directional trading). The ICE BofAML US Broad Market Index posted an 8.9% gross return for 2019, the highest since 2002, and the index bested duration-matched Treasuries by 1.98%, the third best year in the post-crisis era. What else do you need to know about current market trends?

Read: After Strong 2019, Economists Cautious On 2020 Growth

Happy Reading!

January 13, 2020

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