Filene's i3 Group Publishes 'Novel Ideas' For CUs In New Report

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Looking for some "novel ideas" to improve the credit union?

The Filene Research Institute is out with a report full of them. The just-released progress report, "Innovation: Novel Ideas from Next Generation Credit Union Leaders" details progress of Filene's i3 group. That group was assembled early in 2004 to tap the power of younger credit union executives identified as likely leaders of tomorrow's credit unions.

According to Filene, the group has already tackled projects in a number of areas of special concern to credit unions and their members, including:

* Intergenerational credit cards, which allow family members without credit to grow their credit under the guidance of another family member who has established a good credit history.

* Lifestyle lending, which offers unsecured loans for elective medical procedures that are becoming mainstream at a time that health insurance programs are becoming more limited.

* Communicating with specific member segments through new technologies including weblogs, chat programs and instant messaging; and

* Educating young adults in the wise use of credit cards, thereby differentiating themselves from other providers in important ways.

Credit union leaders recruited to participate in the i3 program are charged with identifying innovations that meet member needs; reduce costs; build member loyalty; meet the special needs of specific populations; and enhance the effectiveness of credit union services. They also pursue ideas that address issues and opportunities facing credit unions, and identify innovations in other organizations.

"The structure of i3 allows participants to address innovation through cross-functional teams with varied backgrounds and specialties," says Mark Meyer, Filene's Director of Innovation Programs.

Participants in the organization come from credit unions ranging from $50 million in assets to $2.7 billion across the country, and represent all professional disciplines. Filene said that discussion at i3 meetings centers on teamwork, creativity, change, implementation and aggregation of resources.

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