CUNA Mutual CEO Offers Positions On Questions Credit Unions Have

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Credit unions very much want to know more about Jeff Post, the new CEO of CUNA Mutual Group and what his viewpoints are on some of the challenges facing him in his new position. Here, The Credit Union Journal provides a quick list of things credit unions want to know:

Why He Left His Last Position

Post's impressive resume appears to have a gap between his tenure as CEO of Firemen's Fund and his hiring on as CEO of CUNA Mutual. It doesn't explain his departure from his previous job and what he did during that gap. Post was promoted to CEO at Fireman's Fund to help turn the company around and took an organization that was losing a billion dollars a year and turned it into one that was making half a billion dollars a year. But not long after this turnaround, there was a leadership change at the company that owned Fireman's Fund, and Post's new boss wanted to take the company in a different direction.

"I told him he needed to find a CEO who could follow that direction and that I wasn't that CEO. We agreed to disagree, and I stepped aside," he said. A number of people who worked for Post also left, and together a few of them started Smart Dog Consulting, which Post agreed to do until he found a permanent job. In the meantime, he also spent a lot of time with his wife, Peggy, while she was undergoing chemotherapy.

Why CUNA Mutual Selected Him

"The board went through a pretty detailed process, and beyond the technical competence, I think what it came down to was leadership style and personality," he suggested. "I have a collaborative leadership style. Also the values were important. CUNA Mutual Group and the credit union movement share important customer/member values, and I also share those values."

CUNA Mutual's Labor Issues

The new CEO of CUNA Mutual Group has inherited a long-standing labor dispute, and this is a totally new experience for Post. "I have spent a lot of time on this, because it's important to the movement we serve, to the board, and to the employees. Both sides are so emotionally involved in it that they can't see the forest for the trees," he offered. "I don't mean to make this sound like a trivial issue, because clearly it isn't, but when I look at what we are hung up on, I can't help thinking we aren't so very far apart. What we're arguing about doesn't seem to be a major issue."

Wages, Outsourcing, Work Hours

CUNA Mutual's unresolved disagreement with one of its employee's unions has to do with wages, outsourcing, work hours, job security and more.

"I absolutely want to pay competitive wages. But if you look at our turnover...at Firemen's Fund, we felt like if our turnover was under 12%, we were walking on water. CUNA Mutual Group is at 4%. That tells me something. I want to offer fair pay, not overpay, because that is not satisfying my fiduciary duty to our policyholders."

"When an organization can outsource housekeeping staff and save 50% and then pass those savings on to its credit union clients, that sounds like a good business decision, and that also tells me we were being overly generous to these people."

On work hours: "After breaks, our people work 34 hours a week. Most Americans can't remember the time they last were able to work just 34 hours a week. I know I can't."

On benefits: "When I was negotiating with the board, the one thing I never even brought up was the healthcare plan because I thought it was such a Cadillac program," Post related. "But this is exactly why I have brought someone in who has expertise in working with organized labor. I need someone to deprogram me of my bias."

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