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Home > Communications and PR > Fabulous Fall Forum

Fabulous Fall Forum

By ALANA LISTOE, Montana Credit Union Network

Vanessa Lowe from NCUA's Office of Small Credit Union Initiatives smiles while conducting a training at the Small Credit Union Workshop.

Montana Senator Jon Tester dropped by the Small Credit Union Workshop and commend credit unions for the work they do for Montana's towns and people.
Valley FCU President Mike Silvers gestures while making a point during his training on Meeting Members' Needs.

More than 78 people from 23 Montana Credit Unions recently spent three days in Helena at the fabulous Fall Forum, hosted by the Montana Credit Union Network.

The forum was a lovely mixture of networking, visiting and eating, and learning from a healthy list of knowledgeable and inspiring speakers. A few include Susan Fletcher, a psychologist, author, and speaker; Josh Allison, a passionate public speaker about relationship management and credit union philosophy; and Mike Silvers, president and CEO of Valley Federal Credit Union.

Fletcher said being a member of a credit union is about being in a relationship. She spoke about likeability and ways that managers, co-workers and board members can show they are supportive, kind, and willing to work cohesively even when personalities may clash.

Allison described credit unions as umbrellas that protect members as he spoke about how credit unions are digging down to their roots to utilize their historical and organizational uniqueness in the financial services industry.

Silvers gave a dynamic presentation about how to hire better employees, improve member services while increasing non-interest income and generating more loans.

Many attended the open house at the Montana Credit Union Network office the first night and a ghost tour fundraiser after the networking dinner the second night. The ghost tour was a big hit and those who attended heard a long list of spooky tales and hauntings from Ellen Baumler, known as Helena’s queen of history and officially the interpretive historian at the Montana Historical Society. The event raised more than $2,000 for the Montana Credit Unions for Community Development.

The morning before the Fall Forum officially kicked off Vanessa Lowe, a community development specialist for the National Credit Union Administration, offered deep explanations at the Small Credit Union Workshop.

Lowe provides operational and strategic consulting services to help small credit unions thrive and serve their members effectively.

Right after a short break, Senator Jon Tester made a special appearance. Senator Tester stopped in after he reached out to Montana Credit Union Network President/CEO Tracie Kenyon asking if he could pay us a visit, which she immediately welcomed.

“Senator Jon Tester is a great friend of credit unions, cooperative businesses, and rural America,” stated Kenyon. “He shares our people helping people values and understands the role that small, locally-operated businesses like credit unions hold in their communities.”

Tester commended the group of small credit union representatives for their great communication skills and collaboration to make positive changes to the cooperative credit world.

“We can do some real positive things making sure the changes have real common sense,” he said. Tester noted that this election will be close.

“Your support is critically important to me,” he said. “We are grounded in rural America. Washington D.C. is a wonderful place, but it doesn’t hold a candle to what we have here.”

The Fall Forum always provides the credit union family a chance to learn together, network, and problem solve so mark your 2013 calendars for next year’s event in Billings (October 22-24).

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