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The Future of Credit Unions Post-COVID

What will banking and belonging look like in a post-pandemic world? That’s the question Diego posed to all of his guests for this season’s finale. Their answers remind us that through it all, credit unions remain powered by the people they serve. 

Featuring Juan Fernández Ceballos, president and CEO, Credit Union Association of New Mexico; Kristin Harrison, director of business development, WebStrategies, Inc.; Malcolm Keyte, business development manager, 6Towns Credit Union, UK; James Robert Lay, founder & CEO, Digital Growth Institute; Chris Murrin, sales experience support manager, GTE Financial; Deb Salazar, chief experience officer, Del Norte Credit Union; and Tanya Valdez Santa Fe registered nurse & DNCU member.

Remember the before-times? If you’re a credit union member or employee, your banking experience probably looked, sounded, and even smelled a bit different than it does now. From the friendly faces that greeted you by name to that cup of coffee (or tea) always at the ready, visits to a brick-and-mortar location never failed to amplify the credit union difference: community connection. 

“I think the pandemic basically pushed credit unions to rethink the way that they serve members,” says Juan. When COVID-19 forced the doors to close and the coffee to go cold, it necessitated the need for credit unions to have an even more significant online presence. But what do institutions miss when they expand to digital? “They miss the people,” says James Robert. 

So, how do credit unions bridge the distance between past, present, and future?

Beyond obvious pivots like temporary shifts to drive-thru only services, credit unions around the world have taken the opportunity to combine their interpersonal expertise with online innovation. We’ve learned that we can be a digital bank with brick-and-mortar community roots, meeting our members’ needs where the fintechs and big banks can’t. After all, our focus has never rested solely on the products we offer. Instead, “it’s more about the community at large,” says Malcolm. 

To that end, we’re excited about sharing new endeavors with our members and thrilled with initiatives that promote women and people of color into credit union leadership positions. That’s the future of credit unions. 

That’s belonging. 

Financial Tea Hot Sip: Have recent spring cleaning efforts left you with stacks of old statements and documents? Did you know that credit unions can help clear the clutter? Check with your local credit union to see when their next shredding event will take place. You don’t even have to be a member to participate! Credit unions welcome everyone in their community. 

Featured Guests

Juan Fernández Ceballos

President and CEO

Credit Union Association of New Mexico


Kristin Harrison

Director of Business Development

WebStrategies, Inc.


Malcolm Keyte

Business Development Manager

6Towns Credit Union, UK – Sandwell

James Robert Lay

Founder & CEO

Digital Growth Institute


Chris Murrin

Sales Experience Support Manager

GTE Financial


Deb Salazar

Chief Experience Officer

Del Norte Credit Union


Tanya Valdez

Santa Fe Registered Nurse & DNCU member


“At the end of the day, we are powered by our members and our boards of directors and our volunteers. And I would encourage people to consider running because it all starts there.” – Juan Fernández Ceballos 

“From a professional side, we kind of doubled down on all of our efforts. We all came together and we didn’t buckle under any kind of pressure.” – Kristin Harrison 

“I think we’ve all found that, actually, in many ways, we’ve been cut down. It’s time for us to regrow and become stronger, but in a different way and bloom in a different way.” – Malcolm Keyte 

“You know, for me to belong, it would be a sense of I’m surrounded by people from all different walks of life who were all working towards a common goal together.” – James Robert Lay

“Credit unions are and will continue to be, a light in the darkness for so many people, to provide a clear path forward to a bigger, better, and brighter future.” – James Robert Lay 

“Just being out in the community, that’s what I truly miss.” Chris Murrin

“A lot of financial institutions are going straight electronic and no brick and mortar. We’re a hybrid; we give you a choice.” – Deb Salazar 

“You know, it’s about really taking care of our people. And that’s who we are, that’s who we are as a credit union. It’s about taking care of people because we care about them. We want them around.” – Deb Salazar 

“Belonging is feeling comfortable and feeling like you’re with your family.” – Tanya Valdez

Financial Tea in the Morning is brought to you by Del Norte Credit Union.

Produced and Edited by Andrea Klunder at The Creative Impostor Studios and mixed by Edwin R. Ruiz

Recording Engineer: Kabby at Kabby Sound Studios in Santa Fe

Hosted by Diego Muñoz

Theme music by Ricardo Lambert

Cover art by Leonard Cummings

Logo design by Charlie Gonzalez at Axess Multimedia