Meeting of the Minds: The 2023 MAXX GoWest Conference
Connor Riley and I recently returned from Spokane, Washington and the excellent MAXX GoWest Credit Union Conference. GoWest is a newer organization comprised of more than 300 CU’s serving 16.5 million members in six states throughout the western U.S.
Attended by representatives from more than 120 credit unions, the conference brimmed with energy and outstanding presentations ranging from AI and innovative lending strategies, to emerging workplace environments and CDFI grants. More on this last topic in a moment.
MAXX GoWest also gave us the opportunity to connect with a long-time colleague of Rubicon. Murray Krow is a marketing consultant and ex-pat from Southern California who happily relocated to the inland northwest in 2020 to semi-retire and spoil a couple of grandkids.
With a population of roughly 600,000 people, the combined Spokane and neighboring Coeur d’Alene market is small by SoCal standards but ranks among the fastest growing in the country.
Over dinner, Murray shared an interesting perspective. “People here love to come out for a party,” he said. From Hoopfest and the Bloomsday Run to The Lilac Festival, Spokane County Fair and many more, he explained that there was no shortage of diverse community and cultural events.
“They’re all great happenings,” Murray told us. “And the region’s credit unions are a big reason why. They’re always there sponsoring programs and engaging with people. The major banks are mostly no-shows. Credit Unions are very involved in the community.”
As we toured the city, Connor and I took note of his insights. Like many communities of its size, Spokane has both charms and challenges. Its charms include outstanding colleges, lovely parks, cultural and sports venues, along with a vibrant art, food and micro-brew scene. Its challenges are rising housing costs and the same homeless issue that is challenging cities from coast-to-coast.
To Murray’s point, we took note of the numerous neighboring credit unions that were actively participating in the GoWest conference as sponsors, exhibitors, and presenters eager to share new and better ways to serve their members and the community-at-large. I was also particularly pleased to see the number of CU’s that are serving the region as Community Development Financial Institutions, better known as CDFI’s.
The education session entitled “CDFI Grants: Unlocking the Potential of your Credit Union Impact,” was well-attended and the presenters – Megan Shover, VP of Culture and Marketing, Canopy Credit Union; Crystal Contreras, Community Relations Director, HAPO Community Credit Union; Nathan Cox, President and CEO, InRoads Credit Union; and Scott Butterfield, Principal, Your Credit Union Partner, all did an excellent job of sharing insights and best practices.
CDFI’s are a strong interest for us at Rubicon, so I was pleased to see the focus dedicated to this unique financial program that is providing a pathway for people who are often under-served by the mainstream financial industry. Via Zoom on October 30th, anyone interested can log into GoWest CDFI Roundtable presentation. Here’s the link. Also linked here is a recent post we wrote on the topic of CDFI’s.
By the end of the MAXX GoWest conference, I was reminded about the special value that credit unions provide in the Spokane region and throughout the country. In places that major banks too often ignore, credit unions are not only important financial resources, but also uniquely-dedicated community organizations staffed with professionals who contribute to communities everywhere with their time, expertise, hearts and minds.
Corey A. Waite is a leading commercial real estate advisor to the financial services industry. As Founder and CEO of Rubicon Concierge Real Estate Services, Corey works directly with senior executives coast-to-coast to deliver strategic plans and transactional services focused on optimizing the needs of employees, clients and members.
Nearly every firm we know has — or is in the process — of evolving its workplaces in order to recruit and retain key talent and grow their business. See what one of the world’s leading consulting firms has to say on the matter.
Looking ahead to 2023, what does your wealth management firm’s ideal space-of-the-future look like and how close is that environment to what you currently have? Chances are it’s pretty different.
A common perception among many wealth management firms is that there is little, if anything, they can do to improve their current office lease before renewal. Turns out, that’s a costly mis-perception.
The battle for recruiting and retaining employees has never been tougher. While financial firms are developing innovative new ways to accomplish this, there is one approach that (still) works better than most others.