Becker reflects on NAFCU tenure, CU industry

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Jan. 25, 2013 – Reflecting on his time as NAFCU President and CEO, Fred Becker told CUBroadcast’s Mike Lawson that the association has evolved over the years into “the premiere trade association” of the credit union industry, and that credit unions have come out of the Great Recession “very well positioned” competitively.

In the 14-minute interview segment, posted online Wednesday, Becker noted that when he took the reins at NAFCU 12 years ago the association was seen primarily as an excellent source for education and compliance assistance. NAFCU still excels in these areas, Becker said, but the addition of NAFCU Executive Vice President of Government Affairs Dan Berger, who joined in 2006 and will take over as chief executive after Becker steps down, bolstered the association’s presence on the Hill and overall standing.

Asked to name some highlights of his tenure, Becker said speaking with credit union boards and conversations with members were among his favorite moments. He said he particularly enjoyed the “private conversation with Fred” sessions that have become a staple of NAFCU’s Annual Conference. “I’m looking forward to doing that again this year,” he told Lawson.

On the industry, Becker said credit unions have become “a lot more competitive with each other.” To build on their recent success going forward, each credit union should focus on what it can do to improve its own business model rather than focusing on other credit unions, he said.

Becker added that credit unions should prepare to take advantage of bank fee "whack-a-mole," which seems likely to continue. He also said they should keep working to rectify the continued misperception among consumers that they are less convenient than banks. “Once we overcome that hurdle, I think we’re good to go,” he said.