CuneXus Symposium: Where You’re Part of the Family
Updated: Jul 20
By John San Filippo
In his opening remarks at the 2023 CuneXus Symposium, held July 19-20, 2023 at the Hyatt Regency Sonoma Wine Country in Santa Rosa, Calif., company president Tony Salamone made it clear that he considers both customers and vendor partners of the CuneXus family. “This event is really special to me. I call it our family reunion,” Salamone told the audience of some 150 guests.
CuneXus is a provider of digital storefront software for community financial institutions and is wholly owned by TruStage (formerly CUNA Mutual Group). The company will soon be changing its name to align with the TruStage brand.
Salamone explained that the idea of “family values” was instilled in him at a young age. “I spent every Sunday at my grandparents' house having Sunday dinner,” he recounted. “My grandmother would cook. There were probably about 30 of us, but she'd cook for 50 because she'd say, ‘You never know who's gonna show up.’”
This sense of family is core to the way Salamone runs the CuneXus organization. “We welcome you to our family,” said with emotion. “Many of you that have heard me. I always say, ‘We are a family. If you have any need, please call us.’ We want this to be the first call that you make – to call CuneXus and we’ll be there for you.”
He continued, “Family brings together a lot of diverse personalities and perspectives, as we all know, offering a rich tapestry of experiences. From my own family, I've learned a lot of life lessons that I take with me and try to practice every day. Family stands by you and is always there when you need them. Family will always reach out, check in and make sure you're okay. I consider myself incredibly fortunate to have two families – the family that I have through blood and all of you through CuneXus.”
Collaboration, Family Style
“Given the transformation that we've seen over the past few years, these changes have compelled us to adopt new perspectives that have pushed us to embrace the creativity in lending, and also the way that you promote products and services to your members and customers,” Salamone said. “Our objective is to achieve success by sharing the fruits of our cultivation, but also to collaborate with you nurturing fresh ideas together.”
He further explained that to ensure a successful Symposium, he sought plenty of input from CuneXus customers. “The past several months, Baron (Conway, senior vice president and head of client relations) and I have traveled around the country visiting customers and learning from them.”
What to Expect
Salamone then turned the stage over to Conway, who proceeded to set expectations for the rest of the event.
“What I'm now going to do is take us on a journey – a journey that frames where we're going and why we're going there,” he told the audience. “Over the next two days, whether it's folks from CuneXus, our vendor partners, our keynote speaker James Robert Lay, Ronny (Chapman from TruStage), you're going to hear some interesting observations, some great demos, and then we’ll tie all of it back to some bigger themes and some bigger opportunities.”
Conway then displayed “$1.64 billion” on the presentation screen and challenged the audience to guess what the figure represents. After several unsuccessful guesses from the audience, he stated: “On any given day, that's the amount of money that’s sitting in on the Starbucks app. If Starbucks were a credit union, it would probably be in the top 300 of credit unions. That is effectively an interest-free loan that Starbucks has. They can do whatever they want with that money. There are no regulations, no control. It's also money that's not in your accounts with your credit unions. That’s your accountholders’ money that's not in your accounts.”
Conway explained that he offered this example to “frame the challenges that our industry is going through.” He told the audience that over the next two days, everyone in attendance – all members of the CuneXus family – would work together to figure out ways to address these challenges.