“Trainer aims to keep people laughing while they learn.”

- Credit Union Magazine

Every credit union person who’s met Corlinda Wooden knows she loves brainstorming’s freeform style.

Even so, “Though I’m a big believer in brainstorming, we have a set of rules we follow that everybody must be clear on,” she says. “If somebody breaks a rule, others at the table can lob a Nerf ball at them. This keeps the environment fun and focused.”

Continue Reading

FINRA Investor Education Foundation and Filene Research Institute Announce Employer Sponsored Small Dollar Loan Research Collaboration


WASHINGTON — The Financial Industry Regulatory Authority (FINRA) Investor Education Foundation, the Filene Research Institute, and six local credit unions have launched a two-year research project to assess the long-term impact of an Employer Sponsored Small Dollar Loan designed to help employees avoid the high cost of payday lenders, establish or repair credit, and begin to save.

Designed by NorthCountry Federal Credit Union and United Way of Chittenden County in Burlington, Vt., the loan was pilot-tested by 13 credit unions in eight states with 48 employers as part of the Filene Research Institute Accessible Financial Services Incubator with funding from the Ford Foundation. The two-year pilot confirmed that the loan is feasible, scalable, and meets important needs for employers and low- and moderate-income employees.

"Filene is excited to advance this innovative concept," said George Hofheimer, chief knowledge officer with Filene Research Institute. "With the work of the FINRA Foundation and these credit unions we will be able to learn what works so that this product can be offered by more financial institutions. The result is more affordable financial services for millions of Americans."

Employer Sponsored Small Dollar Loans are made available to employees of participating companies based on the length of employment (determined by the credit union) but not on credit scores. The application process is simple, and the money is often available on the same day it is requested. Loans are repaid through payroll deduction, and successful repayment is reported to credit bureaus. After the loan is repaid, a deduction in the amount of the loan repayment continues on an opt-out basis and is deposited into the employee's savings account.

Continue Reading

“Why apps are crucial to the success of today’s credit union.”

- CUBroadcast

It's no secret that apps rule many of our lives these days -- whether it's a weather app, sleep cycle app, or a total-time-wasting game app. These apps permeate our lives. But what about credit unions? Where do they fit in this ever-present app world?

How To Be A Successful Entrepreneur: Pick Your Friends Wisely


Have you ever looked around your group of friends and thought wow – these people are truly amazing?! If not, you could be hurting your business.

Jim Rohn - the entrepreneur, author and motivational speaker said, “we are the average of the five people we spend the most time with.” I wanted to explore this topic a little further so I set out to find an expert.

Jason Schloetzer, Assistant Professor at the McDonough School of Business, Georgetown University, shared with me this: “Personal networks facilitate the accumulation and diffusion of information among members of the network. An executive or director who has a personal network filled with 'the right' people can be a source of important information. Access to this information might help the executive make better decisions, learn improved management practices, and cultivate business relationships. As one example of the value of personal networks, a recent study suggests that CEOs with larger personal networks earn more than CEOs with smaller networks, and a single new connection to a prominent business leader increases the CEO’s pay by about $17,000.”

Armed with this information, I started exploring my own group of friends and can proudly say, yup – they’re amazing. Not to brag, but I have realized that as a very busy entrepreneur I only have so many hours in a day and the majority of them are devoted to growing my business. That means that I have to be very picky about anyone that consumes my time. What that also means is that I choose to spend my time with others that are on the up and up – because they understand me, can support me and I for them.

There’s more to this than just companionship however, research has proven that women who have peer to peer mentors on a regular basis are more successful, more willing to take risks and earn more money than those who do not have this type of interaction.

“…it makes me think about how we unconsciously calibrate ourselves to the energy of those whom we surround ourselves with--for better or worse. Second to the energy is the standards that we hold for ourselves to as far as our determination to accomplish goals, our integrity, our self-management.” reflected Katie Kelley, a Leadership Development Expert and founder of the Leading Ladies Academy.

“While there may be more smart phones in the world than running toilets, Wooden cautioned that it’s not about the device itself. ‘If you took away all the apps on your phone today, would it be as valuable,’ he asked.”

- Credit Union Times

AUSTIN, Texas -- Whatever the inefficiency, Brett Wooden, SVP of marketing and innovation at the $182 million Cy-Fair Federal Credit Union in Houston assured attendees at the CU Water Cooler Symposium that there’s an app for that.

While there may be more smart phones in the world than running toilets, Wooden cautioned that it’s not about the device itself.

“If you took away all the apps on your phone today, would it be as valuable,” he asked.

With some 1.2 million apps in the Apple app store, he said there’s no need to create something new but rather improve upon existing apps. It begins with research into why people are purchasing it, how it can be taken to the next level, exploring how many other similar apps are on the market and how the marketing and pricing model works. The key is to keep trying and he urged credit unions to consider tapping into gaming and design experts who may not know anything about credit unions but are passionate about how to engage people.

At Cy-Fair FCU, instead of printing a popular school district calendar for its largest single employee group with 22,000 employees, it is now available as an app, which is fully integrated with all mobile devices. The app allows the credit union to easily update information, issue push notifications and even market to members.

“It was about how can we better interact with teachers in the moment,’ said Wooden. “While it started with teachers we’ve opened it up to the whole community, giving free ads to local businesses.”

He added mobile apps can be another way to share the credit union mission and vision in a way that resonates and delivers more value.

“With the rollout of Google Glass, iWatch, Pebble Watch, Chromecast, Apple TV, just imagine the apps you could build,” he said.

Part 1

Part 2

Part 3

Part 4

“I can guarantee you it won’t be long before a Bank of America rolls out a virtual assistant. Already, you can tell Siri to open an app. Soon, you will be able to tell her to ‘pay $75 to the electric company."

- Credit Union Times

When Texas bank USAA introduced mobile remote deposit capture in 2009, nobody knew how big the tool would get and how fast. But ask credit union mobile banking experts today for the defining moment in the niche's brief history and all signs may point to MRDC.

That's because the mobile tool potentially lets users do something they could not do quickly or easily with online banking, some insiders say. For now, deposits via MRDC are bigger than deposits at ATMs. A growing number of financial institutions are on the prowl for the new tool that may bring in that next big wave of mobile banking users with some of the larger ones leading the way.

“We already see more money coming in through MRDC,” said Christopher Owens, mobile product manager at the $4.1 billion Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union in Harrisburg, Pa.

Meanwhile, other credit unions and vendors are expecting to see a number of new innovations deployed in the remote and mobile arenas.

Continue Reading

“Finalist for CO-OP Financial Services’ 2014 THINK Prize competition.”

- CUBroadcast

This week we will be running the three finalists for CO-OP Financial Services' 2014 THINK Prize competition with $10,000 riding on the winning entry. First up is Cy Fair Federal Credit Union's SVP of Marketing and IT Brett Wooden. Brett has come up with a financial education iPad app for kids called "Where's My Allowance?" This app is to be used in schools nationwide -- and he intends to have credit unions right in the mix as the providers of this app, so they will top of mind when it comes to financial services for parents, students, and teachers.

Check out our conversation to see how Brett came up with idea and what his goals are when it's ready to launch -- oh yeah, and what plans to do with the $10,000 if he wins. Enjoy!

Cy-Fair FCU's Brett Wooden Joins Filene's i3 Innovation Program

- Cornerstone Credit Union League

Brett Wooden, senior vice president of marketing and innovation at Houston-based Cy-Fair FCU is one of 15 credit union executives to join Filene Research Institute’s i3 innovation program, which fosters the development of new ideas and innovations for credit unions. Each new i3 member serves a two-year term that kicks off at Filene’s big.bright.minds event this October at Princeton University.

Wooden says he is looking forward the opportunity to serve the movement in this capacity.

“This group is full of innovative thinkers with positive energy and a lot of great ideas to share,” says Wooden. “They aren’t people who view their job as a nine-to-five gig. They are forward-thinking individuals who look for ways to grow our movement and change members’ lives.”

Continue Reading

“We’re not only doing it for the benefit of our financial products, but to make our members’ lives better.”

- Credit Union Times

If you want to apply technology to your marketing efforts, don't figure that's just the job of the marketing department.

That's the word from the $76 million St. Cloud Federal Credit Union in Sartell, Minn., which has plans to introduce in 2014 online services including mobile banking, mobile deposit, membership application, loan payments and account to account transfers.

A key driver is an effort to attract young members from Generation Y, born in the 1980s and 1990s, who expect their financial institution to offer the technology they embrace so eagerly, according to the credit union.

“If we’re not online, we don't exist,” Duane Otremba, vice president of marketing, said. “We’re not thinking in terms of just the marketing department because the whole organization is a marketing organization. It involves everyone on the front line, working with members. I’m sure it's more important at that level than any brochures we can put out or billboards or advertising. It requires member education, and that's done on a one-to-one basis.”

Continue Reading

“CUES Next Top Credit Union Exec Team - Applicant 18: Corlinda Wooden”

When you look at statistics and read articles around you it is clear the branch environment is changing. Some argue that branches will not be needed in the future with all of the new technology we have in place now and with what is coming in the future. I beg to differ and say that would only be true if you were looking at the technology and the business sides of design thinking. This is a dangerous approach because the human element strongly suggests otherwise. Yes, teller transactions are dropping at a faster rate but the human touch points with members have not dropped. When you look at how many times a member comes into a branch for consultation regarding their life events we have actually increased the volume of members we serve. Knowing this, the human element needs to be the first lens we look through when redesigning the branch environment. First, we need to learn what our members want from us and how we can better advise them to be financially successful. Second, we need to adjust the roles in the branch and ensure we have the right people in the right positions. Then we need to train our staff to be experts in these roles and our coaches to be supporters and developers for success. When the teams feel valued and empowered they are better equipped to meet our member's needs. Third, we need to focus on the physical structure and the tools used in the branch. We no longer need the expensive branch structures with the large square footage. We need structures that are inviting, promote interaction, and fit with the unique culture of the community they are located in. If you are just as passionate as I am about the evolution of the branching world and the positive impact it will make for our members and teams, then please vote for me. Thank you!

“Her innovative techniques for training and motivating staff members included brainstorming sessions and lighthearted internal classes, monthly branch huddles, and one-on-one coaching to improve performance.”


For seven Northwest credit union professionals, every day is about making the “People Helping People” philosophy a reality. That’s why Credit Union Magazine is honoring Lesley Carrell, Amy Davis, Manuel Hochheimer, Janet McNeilly, Jeanette Radmer, Teri Robinson, and Corlinda Wooden in a special “Rock Stars” edition released this week to coincide with International Credit Union Day.

Continue Reading

“Brett Wooden, a dynamic credit union sales leader who figured out how to take his credit union to potential members rather than waiting for them to come to the branches, has won top honors from the Oregon and Washington credit union Foundations. ”


“Through professional networks I had joined...the people I gravitated towards were the ones that demonstrated more personal drive, determination, and passion for their careers.”

- Forbes Women’s Magazine

“I have found this to be true with my career development over the years. In looking back I can see that I grew as my circle of friends grew. These new friends were made through other social networks at my daughter’s school or through professional networks I had joined and the people I gravitated towards were the ones that demonstrated more personal drive, determination, and passion for their careers.” said Corlinda Wooden, Co-Founder and Consultant with Wooden Consulting, LLC

Continue Reading

“Credit unions should consider ‘gamification’ when developing or enhancing their apps.”

“With approximately 70 million possible tablet users by year end and 4.6 billion smartphones being used worldwide, it’s safe to say credit union members are mobile.”

- Credit Union Times

Personal financial management tools also track your behaviors and habits so they can tell you when your financial obligations are due. Additionally, the tools make recommendations of budgets. When you save for that dream vacation, it utilizes a partnership developed with travel companies to give personalized advice.

As credit unions utilize and develop their own PFMs, they need to consider how easy will it be for members to access, should they charge for the added tool and how flexible can the tools be in meeting the changing needs of its members in the future.

Continue Reading

  • "Any time you get your business development officers (BDOs) away from their desk and out in the field, they are going to be able to reach more people.”
  • “In the pop-up, which was a tent designed to resemble a branch, staff armed with iPads quickly checked in lines of people attending the pre-opening festivities.”

“We run the risk of having too much of a cookie cutter approach, when we could be innovating,” said Wooden.”

- Credit Union Times

“Credit Union Times asked Wooden to share his Top 10 iPad Uses for Credit Unions.”

- Credit Union Times

"You need to make sure you can open an account online, so go to the Apple store and play with an iPad. Check your website out, make sure your products and rates can be viewed then try to open an account and experience what your members experience," said Wooden. "At Unitus, ‘Opening Act’ allows members to open accounts online and fund online via ACH or debit/credit card. Wanting to create a ‘help the member in the moment’ feel, it was important to us that members could fund the accounts onsite without having any time between the account openings." Credit unions eager to get their own iPad should download a few applications (which cost $9.99 each) to get started, including Keynote, Pages, Numbers and DocstoGo. As far as accessories, Wooden advised investing in a case, VerizonMiFi and a projector cable. Credit Union Times asked Wooden to share his Top 10 iPad Uses for Credit Unions.

Going out in the field to open accounts and funding them as well. It’s great because you can show potential new members mobile banking in action or with a shared branching app exactly how many credit union branches/ATMs are in the area they can use.

Eliminate the costs of printing huge 100-plus page board packets by having them on the iPad. Prior to and during the meeting, sections can be highlighted, bookmarked, fonts can even be made larger so they are easier to read, and board members can add comments as they go through it and e-mail the packets directly from the iPad.

Load all seminars on the iPad rather than lugging around a laptop and tons of printouts–you can simply plug it into the projector and begin.

Save time when you travel because the iPad doesn’t have to be removed from your bag, so going through security is a snap. In addition, you can get Wi-Fi from the airport and if allowed access by the credit union use VPN to access your work e-mail, calendar and more.

Continue Reading

“Brett Wooden makes house calls with the iPad…”

- CUBroadcast

I really enjoy seeing credit unions push the proverbial envelope when it comes to serving their members. Unitus Community Credit Union does just that by incorporating Apple's hugely popular iPad, which allows staff to proactively venture out to the field to serve members where they are most comfortable -- making house calls if you will.

Continue Reading

“We switched our sales pitch to get HR to talk about their pain, and we then use those pain points they identified to let them know here’s what we can do to help.”

- Credit Union Times

It's a new day for credit union business development departments.

During a recent CU Times ON AIR broadcast, Unitus Community Credit Union Business Development Officer Brett Wooden, MECU of Baltimore Director of Business Development and Strategic Alliances Bonita Bush and APL Federal Credit Union Marketing Director Kevin Marvel shared that the challenges of bringing on new prospects have led to a shift in approach.

"While in this economy it might seem like a no-brainer because partnering with the credit union adds value to benefits package," said Bush. "What we've seen in the past two years in meeting with HR departments is that the mindset is that many are not sure if they'll have a job tomorrow and that $5 to open an account may be the difference in buying groceries or paying a bill."

Continue Reading

“Wooden Accepts CU Times’ Trailblazers 40 below Recognition.”

- CUBroadcast

“He said it’s not only a solution to grow membership through applications in the field; it also creates a unique positive member experience.”

- Credit Union Times

Not only has the iPad topped Oprah's list of Favorite Things, but in 2011 it may begin to gain popularity among CUs.

According to recent surveys, the use of the tablet in the workplace has been growing, particularly in financial services, technology and health care industries. A Citrix survey found that out of the respondents who don't have an iPad, 62% said they want to purchase and use an iPad for business, and over 40% said their organizations were planning to purchase iPads for employees.

In addition, a Boxtone survey found that 28% of customers were beginning iPad pilots now, 15% in the next three months, 15% in the next six months and 15% next year.

Continue Reading

“If you show up with paper brochures and rate sheets along with your iPad, it takes away from the cutting-edge feel of it,”


Developing and implementing a strong internal communications strategy (ICS) is one of the most important steps a credit union can to take to ensure a happy, engaged, and committed workforce, according to “Creating a Dynamic and Informed Workplace,” a white paper prepared by the CUNA Human Resources and Organizational Development Council.

An ICS is a written document that outlines a credit union’s journey and goals. It’s a roadmap that tells where a credit union is in terms of its current internal communication, where it wants to be, how it will implement the strategy, and what the goals are.

Continue Reading


Our services will provide your credit union with clear structure, innovative solutions, and a way to feel comfortable embracing leadership development and sales and service strategies. We offer an array of speaking, training, and consulting services in the following areas: