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  • Writer's pictureJohn San Filippo

Conference Preview: Finopotamus Named Official Media Sponsor of 2024 CULytics Summit

By John San Filippo


Finopotamus is proud to have been named the official media sponsor for the 2024 CULytics Summit, which is being held March 25-28 on the Microsoft campus in Redmond, Wash. We will be onsite for the entire event. 

Naveen Jain

Founded in 2016 by credit union data analytics expert Naveen Jain, the San Joes, Calif.-based CULytics’ mission is to empower credit to drive real outcomes by better leveraging their data. Finopotamus spoke with Jain to learn more about the organization and its signature event.


Finopotamus: Where were you in your career and what did you see that made you decide credit unions needed an organization like CULytics?


Jain: I had a long career in the high-tech space before I was introduced to credit unions. I was asked to the lead data analytics practice for one of the 10 largest credit unions in U.S. I wanted to make sure that we were taking the fullest advantage of the knowledge that is available out there in the community. 

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I would meet with peers at different industry events. In doing so, we noticed a couple of things. One is we were all very eager to collaborate and drive growth and mature the data programs in our respective organizations so that we can find value, find areas to optimize our processes, find ways to control costs, and so on. But we were very interested in coming together and sharing and learning and growing together.


Finopotamus: Were you surprised at how willing credit unions are to share with each other compared to some other industries?   

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Jain: Absolutely. I was totally surprised. It is so ingrained in our DNA. That is why I reached out to my peers in the industry. We got together and we said, you know what? This event that we are attending is wonderful, but 99% of the content is not relevant to us. Most of the people who are attending the show don't understand the challenges that we are going through or the opportunities that exists in front of us. We need a community that’s about data analytics and digital transformation so that we can share our learning and all grow together. That’s the foundation of what we did in 2016, when we hosted the first credit union data summit.


Finopotamus: You were still working at the credit union when you founded CULytics. When did you make the leap to full time?


Jain: It was the early 2018 timeframe. There was some change in strategy at the credit union where I was working and that led me to go independent and devote all my time to CULytics.


Finopotamus: Is there a strong sense of community among CULytics members that make CULytics different from some other organizations?


Jain: Absolutely. The DNA of credit unions has seeped into the DNA of CULytics and that is what it is today. When we are hosting, for example, our events, we of course charge a very small fee for attending the event, a lot less compared to what we see typically at other industry events. But even that cost is waived for people who are contributing to the event, whether they're coming in and moderating or whether they're speaking or basically with any way they are there to help host this event. It is very much a community driven initiative. That is what differentiates us. We have a community-first approach.


Finopotamus: Like most events, COVID-19 forced the CULytics Summit to go virtual for a couple of years. However, unlike most virtual events, yours was, by all accounts, successful. What made your virtual event different?


Jain: COVID definitely hit us. Our conference is typically in the March-April timeframe. When everything shut down, we had to turn around and see how we could best manage that impact. What can we do? Because work is not stopping. And especially during the pandemic, both data and digital became even more important. Member engagement with their credit unions did not stop. Just the nature of that engagement changed in a way that relied more heavily on call centers and digital.


From the conference perspective, we were one of the first to convert that in-person into a virtual event. We wanted to make sure that there was continuous learning and engagement in the industry. It was more important than ever to continue to improve and mature our programs.


We were also able to cater to a broader set of people. One good thing about a virtual conference is that people don’t need to travel. The cost to the credit union and especially the disruption to employees’ professional and personal lives are minimized. A lot more people were able to interact and contribute or learn and attend this the event.


Finopotamus: What should a first-year attendee of the CULytics Summit expect?


Jain: We talk about both the business side and the technical side of data analytics. Even the technical topics can be useful for non-technical folks because they can seek to appreciate what goes on behind the scenes and how all of those things work.


One of the best sessions is our “Transformation Challenge.” It’s almost like Shark Tank kind of speed session where credit unions can share their case studies – their success stories and challenges. It’s all about what business challenge they were trying to resolve, why it was important for the organization, how went about solving that challenge. They get five to seven minutes and at the end of the session, the audience votes on which presentation was the most successful.


Finopotamus: Do Finopotamus readers get any sort of discount?


Jain: Yes! We’re happy to offer your readers a $100 discount on registration. They just need to use the promo code FINO100 when they register.


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