November 05, 2020

NAFCU Network Spotlight: Q&A with Gulf Winds CU's Dale Johnson

Dale JohnsonOver the next several weeks, NAFCU Today will be giving credit unions an inside look at each of the seven NAFCU Networks – offered complimentarily to member credit union professionals – via a Q&A with a network member. Today's feature on the CFO Network comes from Gulf Winds Credit Union Executive Vice President of Strategy and Performance Dale Johnson. See what Johnson has to say about the benefits of the network, financial challenges credit unions should be prepared for in 2021, and more.

Q: Why did you become a member of the NAFCU CFO Network?

A: I enrolled as a member of the NAFCU CFO Network as a result of its creation and my attendance at the first NAFCU CFO Summit in 2018. The connections that I had made at the Summit helped me gain insight and perspective that have been valuable to Gulf Winds CU. The CFO Network helps to extend those relationships and provides an opportunity to help peers as they work to strengthen their cooperatives.

* NAFCU's 2020 CFO Summit is being hosted virtually Dec. 9-10 this year. Registration is now open; view the agenda here.

Q: What would you say is the biggest benefit of participating in the network?

A: The greatest benefit of the network is that I have access to multiple strategies and opinions in a central location. In many cases, our institutions are navigating the same macroeconomic and regulatory forces and the insight and wisdom of the group can be extremely valuable. I also appreciate that members are willing to share best practices or strategic initiatives that have helped their credit unions succeed.

Q: What advice would you give to those who have recently joined the network?

A: The most important thing that you can do is participate. Join the discussions and ask questions. The network is as beneficial as you make it. I would encourage new participants to read through the discussion list to see if prior threads might help with an issue they are facing today. I also believe that establishing a regular time (monthly, semi-monthly) to check recent posts and provide feedback is helpful. Please reciprocate with your peers. You may never know how much your answer might help one of our other members.

Q: What do you think will be the biggest challenge facing credit union CFOs and other finance executives in the next year? How can the network help the industry address it?

A: As always, we have several items to monitor in 2021. Earnings, asset quality, and remaining future-focused are emerging as primary challenges.

  • Profitability has been and will continue to be stressed. Record levels of economic stimulus have eliminated liquidity need; but are likely creating earnings pressure when coupled with the low interest rate environment. Effectively lowering cost of funds while maintaining loan yield is a primary goal.
  • Asset quality is a primary concern for me as our members navigate employment headwinds, member assistance programs end (deferments and forbearance), and we continue to deal with the pandemic.
  • Finally, the discipline to stay connected with the Board of Directors and our fellow executive team members is as important as ever. Our voices can help alleviate concern, bring clarity to the strategic horizon, and help our credit unions find a way to assist our members in 2021 and beyond.

I am confident that the CFO Network will be an important resource as we all navigate 2021. The CFO Network’s participants are facing many of the same challenges. Our openness to ask questions and discuss solutions can help all of us learn and grow together. I am thankful for the CFO Network’s assistance and look forward to partnering with each of you on your journey as well.  


NAFCU launched the CFO Network in 2018 and has expanded to six other professions:

Across these seven online communities, more than 12,000 credit union professionals engage in discussion threads, share best practices, and have access to leading industry resources and insights. NAFCU's government affairs team also provides updates on closed-door meetings with regulators, administration officials, and other decision makers, as well as regulatory and legislative developments.

A new feature to the networks: The ability to post anonymously to ensure credit unions can still get insights even on sensitive issues.

The NAFCU Networks are free, member-only resources. Register now to join a NAFCU Network, or email NAFCU Senior Member Experience Strategist Allyson Gale. Representatives from NAFCU-member credit unions may use their NAFCU website login to access the network.

Next week's NAFCU Today spotlight will feature the Compliance, Risk & BSA Network.