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George Hofheimer

Chief Knowledge Officer


George Hofheimer arms credit unions in the U.S., Canada and Australia with the creative, yet practical, ideas that meet the needs of today’s financial consumers. He leads five research centers focused on topics of critical importance to the future of consumer finance, oversees an innovation think tank, guides a financial product incubator  and is consistently in the field working with individual institutions to create a positive consumer impact.

Prior to joining Filene, George spent eight years leading the executive education function for the Credit Union Executives Society (CUES). Before his career in consumer finance, George lived in the former Soviet Republic of Uzbekistan working for such disparate organizations as the Peace Corps, Price Waterhouse, and Qora-Tepa Village School. He previously served as board president at Willy Street Coop, a $40 million, 35,000-member natural foods cooperative. George earned an MBA from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. 

The Story of the Centers of Excellence

If you’ve been keeping up with what Filene has been up to this year on the research front, you’ve heard about our Centers of Excellence. But you may be thinking, what really is a Center of Excellence? And how might it help my credit union better serve our members? Check...

5 big bright things from Harvard (number 4 will blow your mind)

big.bright.minds is Filene's annual stakeholder meeting. At this meeting we share what we've worked on the past year, what we have planned for next year and cover a handful of wildcard topics to get our constiuents thinking about the future. Harvard University was our destination this year and the outcomes...

Peering into the Banker’s Brain

Credit Unions live on the edge of the "banking industry". Credit unions are part of the industry, yet separate. Credit unions fulfill banking services, but in a different manner and context. To learn more about our cousins and competitors, thought you'd like to read a fascinating brief on what goes...

Google Your Finances

Google just released an intriguing infographic about how consumers think about financial services throughout a calendar year. 

The $36 Billion Opportunity

When factoring in exploitation, fraud and abuse of trust, the problem of elder financial abuse is estimated to cost seniors (and their families) $36.5 billion per year. 

Edward A. Filene Social Media Maven

Edward A. Filene once said, "Advertising, then, which is the voice of business, must become primarily the Voice of the Consumer, which is a tremendously greater and more important role than it has ever played before." 

Edward A. Filene and Economics

Edward A. Filene once said, "Why shouldn’t the American people take half my money from me? I took all of it from them." 

The Next Generation and Edward A. Filene

Edward A. Filene once said, "There is always a little injustice, a little lack of sympathetic understanding, in the criticism one generation passes upon the practices of its predecessor." 

Sustainable Thinking and Edward A. Filene

In Edward A. Filene's 1926 book The Way Out he states, "I have always dealt with matters of social justice, cooperation, general welfare, not on the basis of philanthropy or paternalism, but as essential factors in the development of successful business". 

Deep Thoughts by Edward A. Filene

In 1924 Mr. Filene said, "The moment a business ceases to be an experimenter and comes to regard itself as an expert, it may be sure that dry rot has set in." 

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:


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...

CUNA Mutual: Credit Unions - Going from Good to Great

Thank you for the opportunity to share our research with your organization. Below you will find links to a variety of research studies I referenced during the conference. Please keep in touch at

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...