A year of focus

Fiscal Year 2016
Donor Impact Report


We Are Filene Research Institute.

A nonprofit, independent, think and do tank for the consumer finance industry.

Our nearly 1,000 members are actively creating change in communities around the world with the help of Filene’s insightful research, playful ideas, and rigorous experimentation.

When credit unions engage with Filene they will hear the truth, see the potential in tomorrow and have tools to build stronger organizations. Strong credit unions will create a brighter financial future.

Together we can make real and lasting impacts in people’s lives.


Focus moves the consumer finance industry forward

Our mortgage keyword web search results jumped from ninth to first with the Digital Strategies program.

Filene’s innovation immersion brought new life to our credit union. Our team will use the process to continue improving products and processes that will further enhance the financial lives of our members.

Strategic planning season is in full swing and our planning facilitation team is using your research as a foundational component of the external analysis for our planning sessions. We are getting great strategic discussion from the content. I have had several credit unions make major revisions to their strategic objectives based on the visioning.


Designed to meet the changing needs of credit unions and their members, Filene’s Centers of Excellence focus on topics critical to the future of consumer finance.


In the Filene Incubator, our members help us test ideas that are rooted in research and based on real consumer and credit union needs so that we can share them with the greater marketplace.

Together, we are breaking down barriers that limit consumer access to fairly priced products and services, and prevent credit unions from offering these services in an efficient way.

Financial Empowerment Incubator

Five products were selected for testing in the incubator to determine their impact on financially fragile populations.

i4 Incubator

Three early-stage concepts, born in Filene i3, were further tested to determine consumer interest.

Scaled Solutions Incubator

Two programs were tested with consumers and credit unions to determine market scalability.

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Moving research into results for members

From optimizing digital channels to increasing member loyalty, providing members alternatives to payday lending to evaluating strategic approach, our Impact programs are designed to help credit unions put our research into action so that they can serve more members, deepen relationships and ultimately improve people’s lives.

How to evaluate and improve member journeys

Credit unions excel at member service, but is that enough? Our Member Journey program lessens the amount of effort members need to put forth to complete a task, which research shows correlates to increased loyalty.

A culture of innovation leads to change

The Filene Method of innovation was developed from more than a decade of experience in creating, testing, and implementing new ideas. Our Innovation Programs help credit unions create a culture of innovation to solve their most pressing issues.

Effective leadership is positively correlated to membership growth

Research shows great leaders need to embody both transformational and transactional leadership behaviors. But how do managers become great leaders who can affect positive outcomes for their credit unions? Vertex is a coaching and development program specifically designed to help middle managers at credit unions be more effective.

Engaging the 65% of US adults who use social media

While many credit unions understand consumers’ expectations for relevant, timely content on social media, our research found few have the resources to build effective social media strategies and manage execution. Social Media Advisory helps credit unions develop strategies and execute on social media to meet the changing consumer demands and expectations for engagement.

Members value convenience and “buying local”

When your members buy local, significantly more money stays in the community your credit union exists to serve. In fact, 48% of purchases at a local independent business are recirculated locally (versus 14% with a chain store). Larky is a web and mobile-based platform providing members point-of-sale discounts using location-based smartphone alerts and personalized messaging while keeping the credit union brand in front of the member each time they save money.

Observe behavior to better understand member needs

Fifty percent of consumers report searching exclusively online for financial service products. But how can your credit union determine if consumers are finding your website and what they’re looking for on the site once they do? Digital Strategies helps build a more iterative approach to evolving the online experience and use Live Observational Research to give recommendations and implementation support to improve outcomes.

A way to lend small-dollar loans without credit check

There is a tremendous need for short term, fairly priced lending products that provide consumers a way to achieve financial health. QCash is a cloud-based digital lending platform, which provides members with needed funds in less than 60 seconds at significantly lower rates and fees compared to payday lenders.

Help members take control of their finances

Most consumers do not know their credit score and have a limited understanding of how credit scoring works and how to manage their finances. SavvyMoney provides credit unions with a comprehensive suite of financial resources bringing the credit union mission full circle by providing transparency into the credit score, sharing financial literacy and ultimately providing loan offers that save the member money and deepen their relationship with the credit union.


From seed to sapling

Fourteen credit union leaders enthusiastically joined the elite ranks of Filene i3. The teams plant an idea, tend to it, nurture it and watch it grow into a solution that will serve more people and open up a world of financial security.

Tested! Members Market
Tested! Boost Savings
Now in i4 Hindsight
Now in i4 Debt Dragon

Filene i3 is one of the best programs I ever had the privilege of being part of. I highly recommend that if you are thinking of it... just apply. It is truly a challenging and rewarding experience and you walk away with great knowledge and a wonderful network of like minded people.

Igniting a fire

The Cooperative Trust welcomed nearly two-hundred new young people into its energetic community this year. This program exposes credit union employees under 35 to people, events, and experiences that empower them to fight for the future of socially-responsible finance.

Going beyond borders

The cooperative financial model has the potential to positively impact the lives of millions. Member support enables us to spread that message globally.

George Hofheimer, Filene’s Chief Knowledge Officer, visits Scottish Parliament.

Filene was founded on the idea that the cooperative finance industry needed a source for thoughtful and objective research, a place for informed debate and a channel to challenge conventional thinking and encourage experimentation. For nearly three decades, Filene has filled this need and more.

As your research and development partner, Filene works for you. Apply their research, participate in the conversation, test new ideas, and implement successful programs that will enable you to improve your members’ lives.

It has been a pleasure to serve as Filene’s Board Chair this past year. Thank you for joining me on this journey.

—Maurice Smith, Board Chair

It takes dedication to move an industry. This group of inquisitive, experienced leaders help bring Filene’s mission to life through volunteer service as our Board of Directors.


Financial highlights for year ended June 30, 2016

Fueling Filene

At the start of the fiscal year, Filene made a goal of securing $1 million in funding for one of five planned Centers of Excellence over a 4 - year term. As of June 30, 2016, commitments for more than 50% of the $5 million targeted funding had been received. Our revenue diversification strategy continues to provide flexible, reliable and varied revenue streams which includes membership contributions, research grants & sponsorships, and applied research & innovation programs.


2016 Total Revenue & Support =$8,084,353* vs. 2015 Revenue & Support =$6,038,549


2016 Total Expenses =$5,338,428 vs. 2015 Expenses =$5,001,987

Financial Health

Continued support from our members along with the success of Filene programs and initiatives contributed to Filene’s strongest financial position to date as summarized below. This allowed us to invest in additional talent to scale the organization, better deliver on our strategy and stay true to our 501(c)(3) mission. As we look to fiscal year 2017, Filene will continue to build on our capability and capacity to scale as we focus on delivering our program services and Centers of Excellence.


Center of Excellence Research Fellows

Dennis Campbell Dwight P. Robinson, Jr. Professor of Business Administration, Harvard Business School

Hope Schau Associate Dean and Gary M. Munsinger Chair in Entrepreneurship and Innovation, University of Arizona

Huggy Rao Atholl McBean Professor of Organizational Behavior and Human Resources, Stanford Graduate School of Business

Research Council

  • Angela McCathran, People's Trust Federal Credit Union
  • Barry Shaner, Directions Credit Union
  • Bob Falk, Purdue Federal Credit Union
  • Bob Morgan, NorthCountry Federal Credit Union
  • Brandon Michaels, Mazuma Credit Union
  • Brett Martinez, Redwood Credit Union
  • Brooke Van Vleet, St. Helens Community Federal Credit Union
  • Charles Purvis, Coastal Federal Credit Union
  • David Snodgrass, Lake Trust Credit Union
  • Doug True, FORUM Credit Union
  • Eileen Rivera, SkyOne Federal Credit Union
  • Elizabeth Hayes, Infinity Federal Credit Union
  • Eric Dillon, Conexus Credit Union
  • Gary Perez, USC Credit Union
  • Gene Foley, Harvard University Employees Credit Union
  • Gerry Agnes, Elevations Credit Union
  • Jason Osterhage, Alliant Credit Union
  • Jeff York, CoastHills Credit Union
  • Joan Opp, Stanford FCU
  • John Janclaes, Partners Federal Credit Union
  • John Pembroke, CUES
  • Kent Oram, Idaho Central Credit Union
  • Laida Garcia, floridacentral Credit Union
  • Launi Skinner, Envision Financial
  • Leo Ardine, United Teletech Financial Federal Credit Union
  • Lily Newfarmer, Tarrant County's Credit Union
  • Linda Bodie, Element Federal Credit Union
  • Mary Madden, Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union
  • Mitchel Chilcott, North Peace Savings and Credit Union
  • Patricia Campbell, Christian Financial Credit Union
  • Robert Chavez, Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union
  • Ronaldo Hardy, Shell GEISMAR Federal Credit Union
  • Shruti Miyashiro, Orange County's Credit Union
  • Thomas Boos, Billings Federal Credit Union
  • Tom DeWitt, State Farm Federal Credit Union
  • William Carhart, Oswego County Federal Credit Union
  • William Raker, Firefly Credit Union

Team Filene

  • Adam Lee, Incubator Director
  • Andrea Louden, Business Services Manager
  • Andrew Downin, Managing Director, Innovation
  • Beth Schnabel, Event Manager
  • Brenton Peck, Impact Director
  • Brittany Hoban, Design Associate
  • Corlinda Wooden, Project Manager
  • Cydney Weidenbeck, Design Intern
  • Elry Armaza, Impact Director and Analyst
  • Erin Coleman, Senior Impact Director
  • George Hofheimer, Chief Knowledge Officer
  • Holly Fearing, Social Media Advisor
  • James Marshall, Manager, The Cooperative Trust
  • Jessica Scheidler, Membership Manager
  • Jimese Harkley, Stewardship and Development Director
  • Katarina Nichols, Digital Media Intern
  • Kristy Mueller, Senior Financial Administrator
  • Manny Nat, Research Associate
  • Mark Meyer, CEO
  • Marnie Gerkhardt, Innovation Manager
  • Molley Sawyer, Design Intern
  • Patsy Stewart, Chief Finance and Operations Officer
  • Stephanie Galligan, Research Manager
  • Tansley Stearns, Chief Impact Officer
  • Teresa Adler, Executive Administrator
  • Tiffany Litscher, HR and PMO Manager
  • Tiffany Niederwerfer, Communications Manager
Together We Can

Together we can (and did!) accomplish so much more.

As a nonprofit organization, Filene Research Institute relies on contributors to fuel our work. With this support, we are able to advance the boundaries of possibility through research, innovative ideas, and collective action. It’s the passion and insights of our supporters that encourage us to think more boldly about the future. Thank you to all of those who joined us on this journey last year.

Member Benefits


Chair of Excellence ($400,000 - $1M over 4 years)



Charter and Founding

Chairman’s Roundtable ($250,000 over 3 years)

Benefactor Gold ($50,000+)

* Contribution aligned with a Center of Excellence

Benefactor Silver ($25,000)

Benefactor Bronze (Non-Credit Union, $10,000)

Benefactor Bronze (Credit Union, $10,000)

  • 121 Financial Credit Union
  • Advantis Credit Union
  • Affinity Federal Credit Union
  • Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union
  • Alaska USA Federal Credit Union
  • Altra Federal Credit Union
  • Anheuser-Busch Employees' Credit Union
  • Arizona Federal Credit Union
  • Bank-Fund Staff Federal Credit Union
  • Bellco Credit Union
  • Bellwether Community Credit Union
  • BlueShore Financial
  • Boeing Employees Credit Union
  • California Credit Union
  • CALTECH Employees Federal Credit Union
  • Central 1 Credit Union
  • Chartway Federal Credit Union
  • Chevron Federal Credit Union
  • Citadel Federal Credit Union
  • Community First Credit Union
  • CommunityAmerica Credit Union
  • Conexus Credit Union
  • Connexus Credit Union
  • Corporate Central Credit Union
  • CoVantage Credit Union
  • Credit Union of Texas
  • Desert Schools Federal Credit Union
  • Dupaco Community Credit Union
  • Educational Employees Credit Union
  • Educators Credit Union
  • Elevations Credit Union
  • ELGA Credit Union
  • Empower Federal Credit Union
  • Ent Credit Union
  • Farmers Insurance Group Federal Credit Union
  • Financial Center Credit Union
  • First Community Credit Union
  • First Community Credit Union
  • First Entertainment Credit Union
  • First Technology Federal Credit Union
  • Fort Knox Federal Credit Union
  • FORUM Credit Union
  • Fox Communities Credit Union
  • GECU
  • Georgia United Credit Union
  • Georgia's Own Credit Union
  • Goldenwest Federal Credit Union
  • GTE Financial
  • HAPO Community Credit Union
  • Harborstone Credit Union
  • Hawaii State Federal Credit Union
  • HawaiiUSA Federal Credit Union
  • Hiway Federal Credit Union
  • Hudson Valley Federal Credit Union
  • Idaho Central Credit Union
  • Kinecta Federal Credit Union
  • Landmark Credit Union
  • Langley Federal Credit Union
  • MAX Credit Union
  • Mazuma Credit Union
  • Melrose Credit Union
  • Members 1st Federal Credit Union
  • Meritrust Credit Union
  • Metro Credit Union (MA)
  • Michigan Schools and Government Credit Union
  • Michigan State University Federal Credit Union
  • Mountain America Federal Credit Union
  • Navy Army Community Credit Union
  • Navy Federal Credit Union
  • NorthCountry Federal Credit Union
  • Northwest Federal Credit Union
  • Nusenda Credit Union
  • OneAZ Credit Union
  • Orange County's Credit Union
  • Oregon Community Credit Union
  • ORNL Federal Credit Union
  • Pacific Service Credit Union
  • Patelco Credit Union
  • Pen Air Federal Credit Union
  • Pennsylvania State Employees Credit Union
  • Pentagon Federal Credit Union
  • Provident Credit Union
  • Randolph Brooks Federal Credit Union
  • Redstone Federal Credit Union
  • Redwood Credit Union
  • Royal Credit Union
  • Sandia Laboratory Federal Credit Union
  • Self Reliance New York Federal Credit Union
  • Sharonview Federal Credit Union
  • Sound Credit Union
  • Star One Credit Union
  • State Employees Credit Union of Maryland, Incorporated
  • State Employees' Credit Union
  • State Farm Federal Credit Union
  • Suncoast Credit Union
  • Teachers Credit Union
  • Teachers Federal Credit Union
  • Tennessee Valley Federal Credit Union
  • Travis Credit Union
  • Truliant Federal Credit Union
  • UNIFY Financial Credit Union
  • United Federal Credit Union
  • United Nations Federal Credit Union
  • Unitus Community Credit Union
  • University of Wisconsin Credit Union
  • USAlliance Federal Credit Union
  • Utah Community Federal Credit Union
  • Vantage West Credit Union
  • Veridian Credit Union
  • Virginia Credit Union Inc
  • Visions Federal Credit Union
  • VyStar Credit Union
  • Wescom Central Credit Union
  • West Community Credit Union
  • Westerra Credit Union
  • Wings Financial Credit Union
  • Workers Credit Union

Leagues and Associations

  • Association of Vermont Credit Unions
  • California & Nevada Credit Union League
  • Carolinas Credit Union League
  • Cooperative Credit Union Association
  • Cornerstone Credit Union League
  • Credit Union Association of New York, Inc
  • Credit Union Association of the Dakotas
  • Credit Union League of Connecticut
  • Delaware Credit Union League, Inc.
  • Georgia Credit Union League (Affiliates)
  • Hawaii Credit Union League
  • Heartland Credit Union Association
  • Idaho Credit Union League, Inc.
  • Illinois Credit Union System
  • Indiana Credit Union League Inc
  • Iowa Credit Union League
  • Kentucky Credit Union League, Inc.
  • Louisiana Credit Union League
  • Maine Credit Union League
  • Maryland and District of Columbia Credit Union Association
  • Michigan Credit Union League
  • Minnesota Credit Union Network, Inc
  • Mississippi Credit Union Association
  • Montana Credit Union Network
  • Mountain West Credit Union Association
  • Nebraska Credit Union League, Inc.
  • New Jersey Credit Union League
  • Northwest Credit Union Association
  • Ohio Credit Union League
  • Pennsylvania Credit Union Association
  • Tennessee Credit Union League
  • Utah Credit Union Association
  • Virginia Credit Union League
  • Wisconsin Credit Union League