Sleepless in CU Land

Theresa Witham, managing editor and publisher at CUES
Theresa Witham Photo
VP/Publications & Publisher

2 minutes

What keeps you up at night? We asked this question in a recent survey using CUES eVote, and 55 percent of respondents said cybersecurity.

After reading our cover story “When Mobile Fraud Prevails,” I can see why. Cybercrime gangs are developing code specifically for mobile. Plus with the right equipment, the bad guys can see mobile data being transmitted.

“My recommendation to anybody is never do any financial transactions on a wireless device unless it’s a credit card and you are protected against fraud by the card company,” says Stu Sjouwerman, founder/CEO of KnowBe4, a Tampa Bay, Fla.-based security awareness training firm.

I read that and thought, “I can’t give up my credit union’s mobile app.” Remote deposit capture is too convenient. Plus features like transferring money between accounts and paying bills from anywhere help this sometimes absent-minded editor take care of business on the go. As scary as the risks are, the convenience is hard to give up.

That’s why there’s no going back on credit union mobile apps. Members want them too much. And Sjouwerman concurs. Credit unions need to take precautions to keep mobile data safe and then buy cyber insurance for when those precautions fail. Read more about getting the right policy on p. 10.

The rise of mobile apps could be hurting credit unions in other ways, too. In “Payments in the Middle,” CUES Senior Editor Lisa Hochgraf explains how financial institutions are regularly being displaced in consumers’ payments experiences.

During the online portion of CUES’ Payments University, Ron Shevlin, research director at CUES Supplier member and strategic provider Cornerstone Advisors,

Scottsdale, Ariz., expressed concern that most credit unions continue to think having their members’ checking accounts is central to getting the rest of their business. He contends that instead CUs need to put growing payments systems in the middle of their relationships with members, Hochgraf reports. And in a follow-up blog post (, she describes the many job tasks and functions expected of the modern payments manager.

I hope I haven’t added to your nightmare list. I want to leave you with something more uplifting. Of course you need to understand and be prepared for the risks of security breaches and changes in payments. But “if you endlessly address negatives (weaknesses and threats), you are guaranteed to come up with only tactical, reactive responses instead of developing forward-looking strategic objectives,” writes John Oliver, president of Laurel Management Systems Inc., Palm Springs, Calif., and the developer of CU Planner: A Strategic Planning Process. That is why he recommends credit union boards and executives work on recognizing opportunities. Read more in “Positively Strategic”.

What’s positively possible? How would you answer that question for your credit union or the industry as a whole? Email me your thoughts at

Theresa Witham
Managing Editor/Publisher

CUES Learning Portal