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George Hofheimer

Chief Knowledge Officer

Biography

As our head of research and innovation, George arms credit unions with the creative, yet practical ideas they need to be competitive. Prior to joining Filene, he spent eight years leading the executive education function for the Credit Union Executives Society (CUES).

Before his career in consumer finance, George lived for a number of years in Uzbekistan working for such disparate organizations as the US Peace Corps, Price Waterhouse, the American Council of International Education, and Qora-Tepa Village School. George earned an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. He previously served as board president at Willy Street Coop, a $40 million, 30,000 member grocery cooperative. 

The Gamification of Financial Services

Worldwide, three billion hours are spent playing video games each week. The five million “extreme” gamers in the United States play an average of 45 hours per week, more than the average worker spends earning a living. In contrast, consumers spend only 2.6 hours per month on financial planning and...

Filene Research Briefs

Each year Filene Research Institute publishes approximately 20 to 30 research studies on topics ranging from governance and small credit union issues to consumer behavior and public policy issues. A briefing on any of these research topics can be delivered to your group. Please browse our research projects to determine...

Demystifying Innovation

Most barriers to innovation in your organization are self-imposed. This session explains how your credit union can better understand what innovation means in the consumer finance world and what you can to become a more consumer-responsive organization. George shares the processes involved in developing the innovation competency, shares specific innovation...

Credit Union Differentiation

The credit union difference is well-known to people within the credit union system, but this only represents a small share of the financial services market. Credit unions’ relatively stable market share leads us to ask the following: Why do your members do business with your credit union? Why don't non-members...

Australia + Filene = Family

This past week, Mark Meyer and I had the unique opportunity to cross 15 time zones and spend time with our cooperative banking cousins in Australia. The result of our visit is Filene Research Institute's newest gold benefactor member: Customer Owned Banking Association or COBA. 

Collaboration in Practice: 11 Credit Union Case Studies

Collaboration is one of the first solutions offered by roomfuls of credit union CEOs and leaders: “If we would just collaborate, we could...” Insert your own answer: gain market share, drive down expenses, become consumers’ favored financial institution. The list is long, and each goal comes with a grain of truth. We can do...

Seven of the Latest Ideas from Filene i3 (Fall 2013)

In this round of i3, we present seven new ideas of financial products and services for your credit union. These ideas include: Imminent Death: Are We Prepared with a Will? Just4You: You.Lifestyle. Now. Later. Social Cowboy: Because Twit Happens relaunch: Save Up. Start Again. Centsus: Your Money, Your Happiness The...

Observations from the Road

Filene staff has the wonderful opportunity to travel all over the world sharing our work. I'd like to share three recent observations that are germane to credit union strategy. 

Happy Sad

One of the best decisions I ever made was to hire Matt Davis at Filene. He is the rare combination of curious, smart and passionate. 

The Great Credit Race (i3 Project Update)

Quick, what's your credit score? OK, since you are reading this blog, you are probably a consumer finance geek, so you are not in the demographic an i3 group had in mind when building an idea called The Great Credit Race. 

Does Innovation Matter ?

Paul Volcker, former Federal Reserve Chairman, once said, “I wish someone would give me one shred of neutral evidence that financial innovation has led to economic growth — one shred of evidence.”

5 Things I Learned About Cooperative Banks

Last week, I had the unique opportunity to participate in a discussion on international cooperative banking systems and structure with the good folks at CIBP. Here are 5 things I learned during yesterday’s call:

#i3roadtrip

Earlier this week, our i3 group presented their latest round of ideas and then embarked on an epic road trip through out the great state of Virginia. 

Canary in a Coalmine

Over the past few years, Filene has offered U.S. credit unions (sorry Canada!) a free, customized Risk Watch Report that acts as an early warning system for your organization. The report, far from an extensive enterprise risk management system, helps uncover the key risk drivers at your credit union. NCUA...

Credit Unions Solve for Inequality? (VIDEO)

By now most of us are aware of the statistics around rising income inequality in the United States. Research geeks (like me), following something called  the Gini Coefficient of Inequality.  For normal people (like you who have a social life), have probably read media accounts of  this trend. Over the past week,...

The Future of Payments

Filene is doing a series of projects around the future of payments. There is so much information out there on the topic and we are honing in on the relevance of this question to credit unions. However, I thought I would take this opportunity to ask you to complete this...

Go Bank is Credit Union Like

This new competitor was brought to my attention the other day. GoBank brings up some interesting ideas about the future of retail banking. We shall see if they can truly execute on their many promises. A few takeaway for credit unions:

Filene Fellow Eldar Shafir Highlighted

Filene Research Fellow Eldar Shafir was highlighted in an Op-Ed column in today's New York Times by David Brooks. Shafir recently edited a comprehensive book on the intersection of public policy and behavioral studies. Connections to the credit union system include It's really cool that we get to work with Professor...

17 whippersnappers that will change the world

Join us in congratulating 17 exceptional credit union executives who will join the Institute’s i3 (Ideas, Innovation, Implementation) program. Each member will serve a two-year term, participate in semi-annual meetings arranged by Filene, and be responsible for creating and piloting ideas that will transform consumer financial services. Filene received more...

Another ... i³ Project Update

In 2010, a group of i3’ers came up with an idea to reward and recognize credit union volunteers. While their specific idea never gained scale, a similar innovation recently entered the marketplace.

i³ Project Update

In 2011, an enterprising i3 group came up with the idea called CU @Soup. Christian Financial Credit Union (Michigan) still runs this program today. The latest news from the project is found here.

The Credit Union Development Education Program

There is never a good time to go back to school. As we get older, obligations pile up like enormous tick marks on an unending to-do list: pick up the kids from soccer practice, organize the swim club fundraiser, prepare for the community foundation’s board meeting next Tuesday, train for...

Evaluating the Single Financial Services Regulator Question

Today, it is commonplace to hear policymakers, industry participants and analysts speak about how our financial services regulatory system has failed us. Recent events have underscored this sentiment with unprecendented actions by the NCUA and the U.S. Treasury. To ensure you are informed about the issues and decisions ahead of...

Who’s Joining Credit Unions

A greater portion of credit unions today are now considered “community credit unions.” This shift has left credit unions with a much more heterogeneous membership than in the past. Filene’s Chief Research Officer George Hofheimer sets out to help credit unions learn more about these new members by answering the...

Peer-to-Peer Lending

While the vast majority of today’s loans rely on traditional financial services to complete the transaction, a novel breed of lenders is making waves in the industry. These lenders, commonly referred to as peer-to-peer lenders – or P2P – aim to make borrowing and lending a more intimate business. In...