Attendees explore CU tech, cybersecurity issues at Tech Forward Conference

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Credit union professionals and volunteers from throughout New York were in Albany on Thursday and Friday for the New York Credit Union Association’s second annual Tech Forward Conference.

The conference, which was held at the Desmond Hotel, began Thursday morning with an update on how social media and blog activity can be used to compromise the security controls of an organization, including credit unions. The presentation explained how criminals steal an identity, defeat the perimeter controls of a network and then ultimately gain physical access to the facility. The discussion was led by Steve Stasiukonis, president of Secure Network Technologies.

Thursday’s agenda also included a session on bitcoin currency and its management vehicle, blockchain. Stasiukonis led this discussion, explaining how bitcoin can be used for the purchase of anything from cars, homes, drugs and other illegal items and focused on this form of digital currency and why it is so popular.

Dr. Michael Hudson, a keynote speaker, strategist and coach, led Thursday’s afternoon session talking about the challenges and pathways for innovation that can drive an organization’s future success.

Keith Kelly, CEO and co-founder of CU Rate Reset, then addressed the group to discuss emerging and established fintechs that are changing consumer expectations, including Rocket Mortgage, SOFI, Lending Club and now Amazon.

Dean Marshall, EVP of eScope Solutions took the podium next to discuss cyber risks, Security Information & Event Management features and the idea of bringing cyberintelligence into a credit union’s overall security program.

The first day of the conference concluded with a presentation from John Waupsh, chief innovation officer of Kasasa, who highlighted a number of global fintech startups, the digital giants—Google, Apple, Facebook and Amazon—and the Chinese fintech conglomerate, Ant Financial, which are all making deeper and deeper inroads in the financial services industry. Waupsh shared the latest fintech news and information to help credit union professionals make more informed decisions for their organization.

The day ended with a networking reception that allowed credit union professionals and volunteers to share their ideas and review key takeaways from the first day of the conference.

“My biggest takeaway from the first day of this conference is the importance of awareness and communication,” said Terri Starker, IT manager for TCT FCU. “The conference has brought so much light to what we as credit unions and society need to do to be successful as technology continues to change the world at a rapid pace.”

Friday’s general session began with a panel discussion that focused on fintech developments and best practices in technology, as well as their strategic implications for credit unions. The panel discussion included Waupsh of Kasasa and Jonathan Cilley, VP of IT for Hudson Valley FCU.

Mandi Salo, associate at CUNA Mutual Financial Group Ventures, also addressed conference attendees, discussing fintech trends and explaining how CMFG is seeking opportunities for credit unions to get involved in this new and innovative space.

“As an attendee of the inaugural Tech Forward Conference in 2017, I was blown away with the agenda and presentations on subject matters in almost every range of technology and innovation,” said Bill Spearman, secretary on the board of directors for Hudson Valley FCU. “This year’s conference presented new or updated information that has already changed, advanced or did not exist last year. This is why this conference is so important for credit unions to attend: So they can keep ahead of these developments and examine their impact on each organization.”

The 2018 Tech Forward Conference was sponsored by CUNA Mutual Group, OwnersChoice Funding and CU Direct.

To view pictures from the 2018 Tech Forward Conference, visit the Association’s Facebook page.

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