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CO-OP's THINK conference postponed over coronavirus fears

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The coronavirus has claimed its first credit union conference.

Todd Clark, president and CEO of CO-OP Financial Services
Todd Clark, president and CEO of CO-OP Financial Services

CO-OP Financial Services on Friday announced it was pushing back its annual THINK conference due to fears surrounding the disease. Originally scheduled for May, THINK ’20 will now kick off Aug. 17 in Dallas.

“We have been carefully monitoring the public health concerns surrounding the coronavirus outbreak,” CO-OP President and CEO Todd Clark said in a press release. “After careful consultation with a number of our clients, board members and stakeholders, and in an abundance of caution, we have made the decision to postpone the THINK 20 conference.”

The company still plans to hold a one-day virtual event in May, with more details yet to be announced.

All attendees registered for the event, which generally draws upwards of 800 attendees, will be automatically reregistered for August and cancellations can be refunded in full until Aug. 1.

While CO-OP is the first credit union group to cancel a conference over fears surrounding the coronavirus, it’s not likely to be the last. As one conference-planning consultant said recently, “cancellations incite fear,” and a domino effect can sometimes happen once events start being shut down or postponed.

Facebook, Google and Microsoft have all scuttled large events due to the coronavirus and a conference of financial regulators including the Office of the Comptroller of the Currency and Federal Deposit Insurance Corp. — but not the National Credit Union Administration — announced Thursday it would not take place.

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