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Ben Rogers

Research Director

Biography

Ben wrestles economic, consumer behavior, management, and policy questions through Filene Research Institute's research pipeline. Sometimes Ben wins. Sometimes the research wins. As the nonprofit's research director, he speaks widely on credit union topics and has authored nearly twenty Filene reports, on topics as divergent as young adult financial behavior, service channel delivery, noninterest income, and co-operative management.

Ben served previously as director of Filene's CU Tomorrow project. Before coming to the nonprofit, he was a Congressional reporter in Washington, D.C., editor of The CEO Report and chairman of the National Directors’ Convention. Ben has been cited broadly, including in CNBC, the Wall Street Journal, Credit Union Journal, Credit Union Times, and American Banker. In a prior incarnation, he helped publish a startup magazine about fatherhood. Knowing little about fatherhood or magazine publishing, he moved quickly to business journalism.

Ben holds a master’s degree in Journalism from Northwestern University and a BA from Brigham Young University. He and his family reside in Madison, Wisconsin.

Best Practices in Consumer Lending

Ben explores the secrets of the all-too-rare credit unions that drove sustained consumer loan growth during the Great Recession. Only a tiny minority of credit unions grew loans throughout the downturn, but none had stumbled upon a wholly new product or program. Instead, each was excellent at a handful of...

Member Friendly Noninterest Income

Noninterest income has become essential for the success of today's credit unions, but leaders rightly struggle to balance the necessary income with the needs of members. Ben outlines the results of a Filene project that explores how credit unions are growing noninterest income in ways that are transparent, freely chosen,...

Member Experience and Share of Wallet

Why do consumers consistently give credit unions their highest satisfaction scores and yet take their business elsewhere? And, just as importantly, what can credit unions do about it? This session relies on a recent joint research project conducted by Filene and global consultancy McKinsey & Co. Specific areas of focus...

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...

Filene Research Institute’s Upcoming Research Reports

As always, Filene has a plethora of research in the pipeline. Here are the titles and authors of reports that will published in the coming months, along with brief summaries of each one. With topics ranging from innovation in financial services to serving immigrant niche markets, there are sure to...

Credit Union Board Renewal Research Survey

Perhaps the most important governance decisions that a board makes deal with the board’s own composition. A board’s ability to add value is driven primarily by its success in identifying and attracting directors who are skilled, effective, engaged and available. Please help Filene study this important topic by participating in this governance...

Filene 25th Anniversary Book

We are thrilled to be celebrating our silver anniversary in 2014! In recognition of this milestone, we've reflected on 25 years of research, innovation, and impact, and compiled the highlights into the enclosed 25th Anniversary publication.  We hope you will enjoy a walk down memory lane with us and, perhaps,...

Four Steps to Further Women’s Leadership in Credit Unions

If you want to talk about women in leadership, you have to talk about gender intelligence. Leaders, women and men alike, need to learn about, acknowledge, and act on the fundamental, but many times subtle, differences that women and men face in the workplace. Filene and the World Council convened credit...

Filene @ Oxford: 3 Ideas

When you're walking on the same cobblestones that Adam Smith once trod, you have to be careful about calling something an "insight." But among the mortals last week I gained three insights from three smart people at Oxford.

Finovate Europe: 3 Ideas on Day 2

Day 2 at Finovate Europe, with lots of attention on mobile, personal financial management, and fancy wealth management apps. I'm cutting most of that out to show the three I think were most noteworthy for credit unions.

Finovate Europe: 3 Ideas on Day 1

Finovate is composed of 100% interesting ideas, half of which don't apply to credit unions, and a quarter of which do but aren't really good. That last quarter is where the magic resides. Today I saw three concepts credit unions could use for a genuine improvement on behalf of members. These...

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...

Channel Delivery for Tomorrow

Members’ banking-delivery inclinations are all over the map, and credit unions are feeling the pressure to implement myriad channels and please everyone. But you know what they say—you can’t be all things to all people, and that’s what this research addresses. It reviews changing delivery-channel preferences, efficient technologies, and the trade-offs credit unions must make to...

Research Study: Credit Union Regulatory Burden

When legislatures, regulators, and international standards organizations write financial regulation, they follow the headlines, writing checks and balances designed to fend off the last crisis and to target egregious offenders or systemically risky organizations. The merits of this approach are debatable, but it almost always fails to account for small...

Idea Shopping @99u

Two days at 99u with the world's creatives. Four monster general sessions. And 2200mG of ibuprofen for my throat. I won't be shouting soon, but here's what I'm learning.

Members Don’t Like You, They Like Your Low Fees

The credit union story often revolves around affinity, and the taglines are there to support the idea: People Helping People and Not for Profit But For Service. These are true, and these are good. But when we asked 7,000 credit union members why they did business with their credit union...

Take Survey, Win iPad (maybe)

Through independent research and innovation, the Filene Research Institute explores issues vital to the future of credit unions and consumer finance. You know that much.

In Search of Member-Friendly Noninterest Income

How does a credit unions build enough NII to guarantee that the river of net income doesn’t run dry? The goal of this brief is to balance two important credit union imperatives: the need for NII that supports the operating costs of the credit union, and the imperative that credit...

Exploring Cooperative Management

Credit unions are cooperatives, of course, but what does that mean in practice? On the one hand, a credit union looks a lot like any business in that it needs revenue to exceed expenses, members must be well cared for, and employees must be paid. But in very interesting ways,...

Credit Union Digital Branding Colloquium

Digital branding and social strategies are becoming the necessary norm for all businesses, including credit unions. But there is a danger that managers, while acknowledging this new norm, can get in trouble by not approaching it strategically. In November 2011, Filene convened a panel of expert researchers and practitioners in...

Credit Union Market Niches: Social and Demographic Opportunities

Credit unions that want to juice membership growth face a limited set of options. If the field of membership is not broad enough, the credit union can petition to change it and serve new groups. Often the field of membership is expansive enough, so the challenge becomes how to approach...

Superior Consumer Lenders During the Great Recession

What do ponderous wheels and successful lending credit unions have in common? In his business bestseller Good to Great, Jim Collins introduces a telling metaphor for business success: the old-fashioned flywheel. Flywheels turn, not from one big push, but from the input of deliberate regular force. Consumer lending is similar....

Debit or Credit: Either, Both, Neither, or How Much?

The new payment mix is more about market share than about which payment dominates or will dominate. Credit unions care deeply about whether consumers use debit and credit cards. Cards tie consumers to their financial institution and are among the few revenue centers credit unions can influence. In addition to...

An Analysis of the Consumer Financial Protection Act

The United States is poised to follow nations like Ireland, Canada and Australia in formally separating safety and soundness regulation from consumer protection. With a foreword from Prof. William Jackson, Filene research director Ben Rogers sketches the consumer financial protection proposals currently in play and compares them to pro-consumer structures...

Credit Unions as Employers of Choice for the New MBA

In Credit Unions as Employers of Choice for the New MBA: A Report on the Filene Summer Fellowships, Filene’s Research Director Ben Rogers tracks the activities, challenges, and successes of Filene’s endeavor to place top MBA candidates at credit unions across the country. This is a primer for those that...

Chrome for Young Adults: Franchise Branching for Membership Growth

Gen Y is a key market segment for credit unions to reach in this recession. Its members still need loans and, compared with older Americans, fewer are deleveraging. The latest CU Tomorrow brief, Chrome for Young Adults: Franchise Branching for Membership Growth explores a retail delivery concept that uses modern...

Attracting and Retaining Young, High-Potential Employees

In Attracting and Retaining Young, High-Potential Employees, by Ben Rogers, Filene surveyed more than 200 credit union professionals younger than 30 and gained insights into their relationships with their employers. These young professionals are impressed with their credit union’s commitment to their members and communities. On the other hand, many...

10 Young Adult Innovations: From the 30 U 30 Group

Since its inception in 2007, the Filene Research Institute’s 30 Under 30 group has worked toward the goals of attracting: Younger members. Younger professionals. A new generation of volunteers. This report highlights 10 business plans created by the 30 U 30 group, each of which aligns a facet of young...

The First Credit Card

Young adults, responsible or not, are very likely to get at least one credit card during the transition period after high school. Credit unions that decline to offer or to market their own cards to young adults may miss the chance to build a relationship and a responsible credit user...

Credit Unions and Social Media: Engaging Young Adults

Connecting people online has become big business. Companies, including some credit unions, have captured the popular imagination by allowing users to write their own opinions, film their own antics, or leave very public comments on the Internet. This new trend, called “social media,” has become a powerful marketing tool. Used...

Student Loans: Credit Union Opportunity during the Credit Crunch

Credit unions need young adults, and young adults need credit unions. Nowhere is this more clear than from the financial headlines that have documented many lenders’ speedy withdrawal from the student loan business. Many student lenders, including some of the largest, have begun to pull back from lending to community...

A Seat at the Table: Young Adult Directors and Board Advisors

Credit union volunteers, particularly board members, are overwhelmingly older than 50. Credit union boards can invite young adult perspective in a number of ways, including presentations from consultants, research from credit union staff , or broader research about the young adult market in general. This brief proposes a more audacious...

Online Search Advertising

Financial services advertising represents nearly a quarter of online ad impressions. If you’re not reaching potential young members as search for financial answers, somebody else surely is. This step-by-step guide for launching and maintaining online advertising campaigns shows you how even a little budget can go a long way toward...

Mapping the River: A Report from 30 Under 30

By the time it discharges near Shanghai, the Yangtze River pushes more than one million cubic feet of water every second into the East China Sea, a flow that could provide every person in China with 551 gallons of water per day. That immense movement of water belies the river’s...