Visa and the Filene Research Institute are linking up for a pair of studies exploring gaps in the credit union industry, the payments giant announced Thursday.

The two groups will convene academics and credit union experts through Filene’s War for Talent Center of Excellence.

The research will be led by Dr. Sekou Bermiss, assistant professor of management at the University of Texas, Austin and a Filene research fellow.

Bermiss will conduct the following two studies in 2018. The first, “Factors of Talent Attraction at Two Credit Unions: A Field Study,” will examine the effectiveness of current credit union recruiting practices. The second, “Credit Union Board Composition: Desires and Practices” aims to help CUs identify the leadership traits they want in board candidates, along with how to define the values and skills that impact those traits in order to build a diverse, well-equipped board of directors.

“There remains a gap between credit union leadership and the members they serve. We have an opportunity to leverage people analytics and research to develop the right strategies for attracting, developing and promoting top performers within credit unions, from the front line to the boardroom,” Bermiss said in a press release.

Visa and The Cooperative Trust will offer expanded online and offline resources in the new year, including a new mentorship program. Visa and Filene already work together on the Trust’s “Crashers” program, and with the support of the Credit Union National Association, 78 young credit union employees are set to “Crash” CUNA’s Governmental Affairs Conference next week.

“As we continue to grow The Cooperative Trust and Crash opportunities, we’re always challenging ourselves to elevate and advance the program to provide the most impact for young professionals and the credit union system,” said Lauren Culp, manager of the Cooperative Trust, in the release. “Visa has played a valuable role in helping ensure young people have a voice and are included in the conversation as we look to the future of our industry.”

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