SAN DIEGO-A pair of CU leaders shared their thoughts on what has driven growth for their operations.

John Cassidy, president and CEO, Sierra Central Credit Union of Yuba City, California, and Dan Sutton, COO, Kemba Credit Union of Cincinnati, Ohio, told America's Credit Union Conference (ACUC) that, not surprisingly best practice strategies are needed achieve above average financial results.

"You will do better in today's economy by focusing on what you can control, not on what you can't control," advised Cassidy. "Understand your credit union's strengths and weaknesses and the market's strengths and weaknesses then develop a strategic plan keeping that information in mind and stay focused."

Sutton urged credit unions to remain focused and "not get greedy. Follow your strategic plan and stay the course."

Many credit unions have had little choice but to get more efficient in recent years, but Sutton urged CUs to careful to cut the right expenses. "Having the right people in the right job can make all of the difference in the world," Sutton said.

Sutton added that his own CU has grown in part by doing a better job of explaining itself. "One of the keys to our success was adjusting our sales culture to tell 'the Kemba Credit Union story' and then living it by being a member-centric organization." This change allowed the credit union to increase services per member.

Cassidy and Sutton agreed that in order to have a balanced financial performance you must show up on time, give 100% and have fun. "Doing these things combined with a positive outlook and understanding what you can control will do more for your credit union than focusing on worse-case scenarios," said Sutton.

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