Marc Schaefer

Better than Banks? Why and How Credit Unions Need to Differentiate

How has the credit union industry evolved in the last 30 years? We talked to Marc Schaefer, CEO of Truliant FCU, who run multiple credit unions for over three decades. According to Marc, the credit union movement has evolved from “sleepy” to “energized,” with a noticeable shifts away from “traditional” banks toward more innovative, socially conscious financial institutions.

Having observed and experienced the evolution of credit unions from the 1980s to present, Marc joins us to discuss how policy, purpose, and poverty intersect when it comes to defining the next-generation credit union. 

Top 3 Takeaways

  1. It’s not about how many credit unions we have; it’s about how much access the US consumer has to credit unions. While having more credit unions and locations across the country definitely increases consumer convenience and credit union visibility, what matters most is the scope and depth of services that credit unions can offer. By pairing high levels of credit union product and service offerings with high levels of consumer access to credit unions, the impact of the credit union movement is maximized, especially for middle class and lower income Americans. 
  2. When we look 25 years into the future, differentiating between credit unions and banks is the critical element to ensuring our future success. Technology and other challenges will take care of themselves if we can do this. Throughout the history of credit unions, the impetus has often been to show that they can provide the same services as a traditional bank. Credit unions must now shift their attention to fortifying the unique characteristics that distinguish them from banks — the reasons people choose credit unions over banks in the first place.   
  3. The right decision matters more than the right rate. We shouldn’t lose sight of that as the essence of our differentiation. The average credit union member recognizes the long-term financial importance of non-financial factors. Credit unions understand this, which is why, while rates are obviously vital to member satisfaction, the strategic decisions they make resonate more with members. 

Read the full transcript here:

Cameron: Hello, and welcome to another episode of The Remarkable Credit Union podcast. We created our podcast to help credit union leaders think outside of the box about marketing, technology and community impact. Every episode, we bring on expert guests from inside and outside of the industry for conversations about innovation. Our goal is to challenge your preconceptions about business as usual and provide you with actionable takeaways that you can use to grow your membership, improve the financial health of your cooperative, and magnify the positive impact in your community. Today’s big question: What lessons can we learn from a retiring CEO who has been at the forefront of innovation and the credit union movement for over 30 years?

Today, I’m very excited to welcome Marc Schaefer. Marc has one heck of an interesting bio. I can’t even fit it all in here. Born in the US, raised in a combination of Chile, Mexico and Suriname; speaks at least four languages as far as I can tell, Spanish, Dutch and a language, I believe, Sranan Tongo, which is the local language in Suriname. Marc says that if you can find Suriname on a map, he will buy you dinner if you make it out to North Carolina.

He’s a proud graduate of UCLA and the Thunderbird MBA program. Marc has been the CEO at Truliant for over 25 years and among many other things, he was a key player in HR 1151, which was one of the bills that opened up membership for federal credit unions. Marc has a whole bevy of personal interests as well. He used to own a Christmas tree farm in California. He’s a Boxer family, so he has a current Boxer named Kruger who he and his wife proudly own, he’s a rescue, and he’s a big supporter of the arts. He’s an amateur musician and songwriter, and he still sometimes jams out with his band called True Tones. All right. Marc, thank you for joining us today.

Marc Schaefer: Cameron, I’ll start by saying in Sranan Tongo, “Fa yu tan?” Which is: “How are you?” It’s great to be with you.

Cameron: Thanks for joining us. We’ll see if anyone takes you up on that dinner opportunity, but I couldn’t resist. I’d love to just jump in because you’ve got such an interesting background. I’m curious, you’ve been a leader in the credit union space for over 30 years at this point and I’d love if you could just paint a picture for us of: What did the industry look like 37 years ago, and what were the real opportunities and challenges back then, before we come back to the present day and the future?

Marc Schaefer: Well, I think that’s a great question. It felt kind of sleepy back then. I had just gotten an MBA from an international banking school, Thunderbird, and was planning to probably work in Latin America and banking with Chemical or Chase, or one of the big guys down there. I had accepted an offer with a big Latin American marketing firm, but then kind of had a difference with the CEOs. The co-CEOs were a couple of brothers; about where I was going to work and how much I was going to be paid. In retrospect, the whole pay thing probably shouldn’t have been a deal killer. They wanted me to go Venezuela, which would have been fine, but they wanted to pay me what you would’ve got in Boca Raton, which is where they told me I was going to work.

At any rate, I ended up back in DC, starting my international job search all over again and took what I thought was a temporary job at the US Postal Service Credit Union as a special assistant to the president, and then controller; probably overqualified. The whole thing seemed a little sleepy and a little underpowered at first, but as I got into it, I became aware of the difference between a credit union and a bank, and what that meant and felt like. I became enamored with the idea that you could have a career in a field where you did good, you helped a lot of people. Being kind of a young guy with good qualifications, I was quickly offered opportunities including the CEO job at FBIC.

Of course, I guess I was probably flattered by that. Once I dug into it, I really didn’t see that I would ever want to leave the credit union movement and what it represented. But to your question, it seemed a little backward and a little sleepy at the time. So as time went on, obviously, that changed.

Cameron: Let’s listen and go to … Because I know that there’s a lot of things you’ve done, but let’s go to HR 1151. I did a little bit of research on this. I mean, it’s not like it was one of the critical bills in allowing federal credit unions to expand scope of membership. I think that this is clearly something you are passionate about, and I’d love to know, especially with your breadth of experience … Everything has positive and negative consequences, so how did you see the passage of this bill transforming, as you said, this somewhat sleepy sector of the economy both positively and negatively?

Marc Schaefer: Well, there’s always kind of seminal moments in any business. Credit unions being able to offer checking accounts, for example, back in the ’70s and the late ’70s and through Chase Manhattan bank, originally, was obviously a seminal moment. Some of the countries I’ve worked in with the World Council and Latin America where they cannot offer checking accounts or debit cards; it pretty much stops you dead in your tracks. In the United States, one of those moments was when Truliant tried to reach out. We were called AT&T Family Federal Credit Union at the time; tried to reach out and serve a furniture factory in Asheboro, North Carolina. The American Bankers Association popped up and said, “Not so fast. A credit union is only allowed to serve one company according to the 1934 Federal Credit Union Act.” That was a key seminal moment for credit unions, and in fact, they wanted us to kick out of membership everybody that had joined that wasn’t part of the original core sponsor, or field of membership. In our case, Western Electric AT&T.

That would have been a moment in time in which, essentially, most Americans would not have a credit union available to them in the future. Had we not been able to use both the court system, which ended up not working out, but the legislative system to pass legislation that allowed us to serve more than one company. That was an existential threat to the future and viability of, I think, most credit unions in this country, and also of course, for talent in terms of our having a future in an industry that was growing and viable. Yeah, that was one of those key moments for credit unions.

Cameron: Great. Then I’d love to pivot towards it, because it seemed like that was one of the things that really opened the flood gates, I guess in a sense, for a different kind of growth. But we’ve also had this pattern towards consolidation that’s been going on for many decades at this point. A lot of smaller credit unions are getting acquired and they seem to be … I’ve heard lots of interesting data and anecdotal stories about it, whether it’s the difficulty of the business model if you are too small. In some cases, actually, it’s just sort of a general fatigue, that the board and the management don’t feel like they have vision to really move forward as a small credit union. I guess in any case, as we’re moving towards just a greater and greater consolidation. You guys have grown your credit union at least five-fold from the numbers I saw. How do you feel about this trend towards consolidation?

Marc Schaefer: Well, I did run a FDIC credit union. When I ran it, it was 40 million. I think I took it to 60 million. Very small. It’s not about the entity, the credit union, as much it is about members and the US consumer having access to the option of a credit union. In terms of people of modest means and middle income Americans who credit unions do a good job of serving better than our counterparts in banking, they just need an institution that’s going to be able to provide the guidance and then provide the services they need, and the technology that goes with that. Unfortunately, to some degree, to get access to the technologies that the American consumer demands today, you have to have some scale. Then of course, with all of the regulatory burdens that have been added … I was on the first CFPB advisory board for credit unions; you have to have some scale to do that.

I don’t think it’s disadvantaged the consumer. In fact, it’s actually helped the consumer because larger credit unions are actually able to serve a larger swath of the US population, including middle and lower income Americans. It’s sad to see smaller credit unions go by the wayside, especially with the incredible history that they’ve had. But I think the eye on the prize really is: Does the US consumer have access to a viable credit union as an option to the banking options they have? I think the growth of larger credit unions have shown that that is the case. By large, I mean anything over a hundred million. I’m not to leave anybody out because there are small credit unions that do very, very well, but we do now have a third of the US population that is affiliated with a credit union and growing.

That’s the key. Can more and more US consumers have access to credit unions as an option? So, yeah, I have mixed feelings about it. I mean, we do want to preserve as many mid-sized and smaller credit unions as we can if they’re viable, if they provide something of value to those consumers; just like we want to have a healthy state chartered credit union and federal charter credit unions. It’s better to have that diversity, but I think you’ve pointed it out. The scale is there in growth in US consumers joining credit unions, and that’s really what the goal should be.

Cameron: I love that framing, and I’d like to maybe flip that to the opposite side. I was digging into the data a little bit. I can’t remember who I was talking to about this, but there’s this narrative that the credit union sector is consolidating and while it’s true to some extent, I think the other thing that’s fascinating is when you look at the number of new entrants into the market. We’ve actually had two start-up credit unions on the podcast, and we have a third coming up. But that’s really where the big shift has come. If you look back, I think it’s about the ’70s, you had this kind of consistent rate of consolidation of credit unions, but a real lack of new entrants. I’m curious if you have any thoughts about that, what the missed opportunity is there, and if there’s any way to change that trend around so that we get some new blood into the credit union space?

Marc Schaefer: I think there might have been a credit union serving Native Americans. There’s some specialty areas where those make sense. Just like in banking … I shouldn’t say just like banking, but similar to banking, you have to get some scale to get it off the ground. We’ve had a couple of bank start-ups here in North Carolina that did not get off the ground. They weren’t able to raise the necessary funding, and because of the technology requirements and the regulatory requirements, and just the scale to run a business these days, I think it’s very hard to start a credit union from scratch. If you did, it would probably be blown dead because just like when AARP tried to start a credit union, the banking industry came unhinged over that and they pulled that back.

If you did have a field of membership that had scale, then you would have other challenges around … Be challenged by the American Bankers Association in terms of its field of membership. So I think it’s hard to start a new credit union. Not that it’s impossible, and I certainly support all those that try. I’ve noticed a couple that started a couple of years ago, have already merged with other credit unions. To me, again, the eye on the prize is: Are we helping the consumers in the US? Are they having access to a viable credit union that’s following the philosophy and model of a credit union to help them improve their lives? Whether that’s a larger credit union or a smaller credit union; do they have access, and is it viable?

Some credit unions, their members are probably primarily doing business with banks or brokerage companies or whatever. Not only do you have to be there, but you have to be viable and relevant not only to the consumer today, but the consumer of the future, and we worry about the aging of the credit union members in this country. So you really have to be there for the future of members as well. It’s a big challenge to charter a new credit union today and make it viable.

Cameron: Well Marc, I know you’re a PAC-12 guy or PAC-8, PAC-10, whatever it was, from your UCLA background. It’s okay. I’m going to let that go.

Marc Schaefer: I have to be a Wake Forest fan now too, because I-

Cameron: Yeah, that’s true. Yeah. You’ve got to get your North Carolina game on. I remember I was at an Angel Investing event a couple of years ago, and I met this guy who started the UC Berkeley credit union back in the ’70s.

Marc Schaefer: Wow.

Cameron: And it was just awe inspiring, but it’s stuff that I just can’t imagine happening today. They talked about a bunch of 18-19 year olds carrying around black boxes full of money, and just a different kind of era of access to starting things up, that it does seem like as with technology and regulation, has moved into the past. I’d love to hear … I’ve got a bunch more questions about membership. I’m going to come back to those. I’d love to hear … One of the biggest things you did is you took your credit union through a major rebrand, being really built around AT&T and then moving it towards Truliant, and I’d love to hear it. That’s a big move. So how did it go and what lessons did you learn?

Marc Schaefer: Well, that was a very exciting process. The internet coming of age, AT&T was no longer all that happy with us using AT&T as a part of our name and particularly on the internet. We certainly didn’t want to enter into a lawsuit against our primary sponsor, so we agreed to change our name. It was an exciting process. We used a strong naming firm up in New York. It was called Lippincott & Margulies at the time, I think it’s just Margulies now. It was a really reaffirming process, because much like the field of membership legislative battles, in those moments, you have to stop and say, “Who are we? What are we doing? Who do we represent? Who do we want to be?” With the naming opportunity and coming up with the name Truliant, we had to come up with these attributes of who we are, and you don’t hear them all in the name, but there were things like family-friendly, egalitarian, democratic.

I mean, obviously, we hear that it’s true and reliable and reliant, and all of those things. But it was actually a very reaffirming process for us. Of course, it’s scary because you come up with a name that, at that moment, means nothing. I mean, and just like: What was a Xerox? What was a Sony? When they first came up with those names, people probably said, “What the heck?” You know? We knew it was an empty vessel that we needed to fill with value, which we’ve done the last 20 years, and now Truliant means something to consumers in our market. We have a very strong name recognition, certainly among our own members, but also in our markets. It actually was a reaffirming process, and one that we’re very proud of. Of course, I probably shouldn’t mention this. The combined BB&T and SunTrust in our markets, they have come up with a new name for themselves called Truist, which we’re not real happy about, because I feel like there could be some consumer confusion around that name. But it does speak to how good our name is.

Cameron: It does. And you know, fortunately you’re retiring, so it gets to be someone else’s problem.

Marc Schaefer: I will always lead Truliant. Of course Todd Hall, who is taking my position as CEO, I want the best for him and his team, the team that we’ve put together; which are just incredible people, incredible leaders. I want to make sure they have a nice glide path to the future.

Cameron: Yeah, I was only kidding. I know you want to leave it in good hands. I know you’re a dedicated steward. So I’d love to hear … As far as this brand essence that you discovered, it says in your bio, on the website a bunch of places, that it’s all about a member-centric culture. I think sort of like the name itself, that could easily be sort of vapid jargon, it’s an empty vessel. I know you guys have invested heavily in that. So what does that look like in practice, and why is it important to you? How does it help you to differentiate?

Marc Schaefer: That’s the key. If you cannot differentiate yourself then you kind of have to ask yourself: Why you’re … Why did I leave international banking to be in credit unions? We really do differentiate, and the primary way we differentiate is we believe in guiding, helping guide our members to make better decisions in their own best interest to improve their lives, and we specifically do that through vehicles like true financial checkup, where we try to get to: What’s the member really shooting for? I’m a big fan of Simon Sinek, the “Start With Why” guy. He even came and spoke to our board a few years ago and our management team. What is the member’s “why”? What are they trying to achieve? When I was in Charlotte for six years helping us get all of our new branches off the ground there, and then better ourselves better under the culture of Charlotte.

I would often tell a reporter, “We have a member come in and ask for a $50,000 car loan, and very often, they would leave with a $25,000 car loan. Nice enough to buy a Camry, and a plan for their retirement, or an education fund for their children.” It’s all about what the member is going to realize in their life that’s going to improve their life. We really mean it, and our people really mean it. You see it embedded in our people and our processes and our technology. Todd Hall, our president and incoming CEO likes to say, “How do we Truliant-ize the service, this process, this engagement with the consumer?” So no, it’s deeply embedded in the institution and, specifically, what we do.

If you talk to a member, you hear it. They tell you what we did for them that made their life better. Of course, to some degree, being in these communities, I have lots of friends that work for Wells Fargo and Bank of America and others. But I kind of kiddingly say, “Wells Fargo is the gift that keeps on giving,” because that was a very obvious case of financial institutions not operating in the best interest of the consumer. It provides a really strong contrast to what Truliant has done even before I got here and what we continue to do. But you’re right in that we have to constantly be able to convey that message so that the consumer understands the difference between what a credit union like Truliant does and what banking does.

I know that banking has kind of said they’re going to reinvent themselves. Jamie Dimon came out and said, “We’re going to do this differently, and if you take care of the consumer, the finances will take care of itself.” We’ll see. I mean, that’s great that they say that, but unfortunately for them, their structure doesn’t really allow them to do that where ours does. I mean, they do have to pay attention to the stockholder, whereas we have the luxury of taking the long view on helping improve members’ lives over many, many years. In the case of Truliant, 67 years now, as opposed to trying to make a quarterly or even an annual target for the stockholder.

Cameron: Yeah, that was quite the statement. I don’t know if I do a lot of work in the community of certified B-corporations, which is connected to the benefit corp movement. If you saw, they took out a full page ad saying, “Great. Talk is cheap, change your articles of incorporation and adopt a third party impact standard.” Yeah, I suspect that will continue to be a gift that keeps on giving. I’d love to know, since we started with the past and we’ve come up to the present; as you look into the future, obviously, you’re very passionate about the credit union movement in general and Truliant specifically. When you think about the future, 10, 20, 25 years in the future, what keeps you up at night and what do you get really excited about for credit unions and, I guess, financial cooperatives?

Marc Schaefer: I do worry about maintaining and building the reputation of being different. It’s a little bit tempting as you grow, to fall into the same pattern as the banking industry. Over the course of my career, I’ve seen some go that route. You just have to make sure as you lead organizations, it’s really up to our boards to make sure that you maintain that recognition of the difference and the passion for that difference, because it can be … As you implied, it can be a marketing tool as opposed to a embedded value. You’ve got to make sure you have the embedded value. Obviously, with HR 1151, we became leaders by necessity in the political spectrum. I had a degree in political science from UCLA.

I didn’t think I’d use it as much as I have, but I’m on a first name basis with all of our members of Congress and in some cases their spouses. In some cases, I know their dog’s name. We have to stay really vigilant around the way public policy is formed in this country and make sure we’re at the forefront of doing that, and make sure that the people that are setting public policy understand why what we do is so valuable, why it’s different, and what it means to their constituents. That’s not something that takes care of itself. We have to constantly reinforce those messages, and we’ve got great leaders like Jim Nussle who came out of Congress, and Dan Berger at NAFCU; Jim works at CUNA. But the CEOs themselves are ultimately responsible for making sure that happens.

We can’t fall back and say, “Well, I just kind of run the operational side of credit unions. As long as we’re financially sound, I’ll let those guys in DC take care of this.” We have to be really aware of what’s going on, and be involved in it. Because at the end of the day, the people that we hire to do it, they can’t actually get the job done. We’re the ones that have the constituents, the members that care about the credit union and eventually, it’ll come back to roost in our shops. I mean, I guess those would be the things … Obviously, people bring up cyber security, and those, of course, are key concerns. My main concern is maintaining that differentiation, making sure it’s real, and making sure public policy continues to support the growth of credit unions and our ability to reach out and serve more and more consumers in the US as an option.

Cameron: I like that. That’s not the standard response as you said, and I think on some levels, it’s easy to get caught up in technology and minutiae. Ultimately, if the differentiation is there, those other things can be figured out, but if the differentiation is lost, it doesn’t really matter.

Marc Schaefer: Well, you bring up a good point, Cameron. It’s hard to sometimes show that differentiation in the channels. So how do you show somebody in their mobile app that Truliant is different than Wells Fargo? That’s where I go back to Todd Hall calling it “Truliant-izing” it. We try to do it with guidance. So even in our digital guidance, we Truliant-ize it. We put something in there that makes it different. But with the consumer being really focused on: Can I get it now? Can I get it quickly? Can I get it efficiently? It’s a little bit more difficult to express that differentiation, but we have to continually try to find ways to do that.

Cameron: Yeah, absolutely. I’d like to go to a a different angle because I’ve heard your passion for the cooperative model and the membership. I actually talked to a colleague, we did some research on you in advance, and so one of the questions that they came up with was: How are credit unions doing fulfilling their promise to serve the financially underserved? I kind of wrestled with that because I said, “Well, I actually don’t think credit unions are committed to serving the financial underserved. They’re committed to serving their members.” So I’d like to … This sort of ties to your experience. I think one thing that fascinates me about community charters is the “member”, in quotes, becomes a very different entity. It’s pretty easy to visualize the member if they’re, say, an AT&T employee, or whatever it might be from a select employee group.

I’ve seen those maps of … It’s sort of like the food deserts that you have in a lot of inner cities, where you have these financial services deserts. You can’t find a credit union or bank branch. Sure, maybe, Wells Fargo is worse than the average credit union. Obviously they are, but they’re probably a whole heck of a lot better than the average payday lender or check cashier. I’m curious, when the membership is so broad, what responsibility do you think that credit unions have to serve the financially underserved, to put branches in places where they’re probably not going to be profitable, where there’s a lot of competition and work to be done, and maybe a lot of people who don’t speak English as their native language? Just all the things that I feel like the Fintech world is pulling us towards automation, and as you said, quick, easy, convenient.

But there are a lot of people who desperately need financial advisors, but don’t represent a particularly profitable market outside of a lot of these predatory products. So, long question. What responsibility do you think credit unions have to go out and serve the financially underserved when the opportunities are so broad of who a member could be?

Marc Schaefer: Well, I just preface it by saying that the banking industry likes to say that we’re for the poor, and we know that credit unions cannot exist serving the poor as a field of membership. It doesn’t … It’s not workable. So the beautiful thing about a credit union is you get a mix of social economic groups. You get low income, middle income, mostly we serve middle class, blue collar and some white collar Americans. We don’t serve as the super rich because they tend to use other resources. The beauty of that is if you get that middle income group, you can often drop down and serve more modest means consumers. In fact, Truliant is a low income designated credit union, which means in our case, over 60% of our members are at 95% of the median income for the markets they’re in.

Hardly anybody can serve people that have no resources. I mean, you can’t really create a viable business on that. But because we are focused on the consumer and the consumer’s well-being, we tend to charge a lot less in fees. We also have tended to pay higher rates on savings and uncharged lower rates on loans. Probably most importantly, it was guidance and helping people make the best decisions to build a financial foundation for themselves and their families. The rate almost doesn’t matter if you make a bad decision. With a $50,000 car loan, you made a bad decision. It’s at a good rate, but you made a bad decision. Providing that guidance in the best interest of the member and doing that at scale, like in our case, you know, 215,000 consumers; that’s where I think credit unions help lift Americans just in general into a better place for themselves for weathering economics storms and reaching their financial goals in life.

I don’t know what’s … When you get caught in this argument: Why do you serve poor people, or do you serve wealthy people? Is it fair? You’ve got to throw in the tax status and things like that. It kind of plays into the bankers argument. What we’re really about is, to your point, serving members, people that understand the value of the cooperative and spreading that across of the demographics in our markets. We serve a number of rural areas that the banks don’t do a very good job of serving. That’s one of the challenges in North Carolina. The banks, including Chase now, coming in here strong; they go right to the wealthiest part of the urban market, because that’s where the money is. They pull out of the rural areas, and they don’t serve the lower income urban areas. We do a pretty good job of serving the rural areas. We’re not super at serving the lower income urban areas. Although, we have had some success there.

To your point, I do think that technology will help us all do that better, because technology at scale is more affordable. We’ve seen it, obviously, in different foreign countries where they didn’t have the infrastructure to serve lower-income populations like M-Pesa in Kenya, or wherever it is. They’ve been able to serve lower income communities using technology. Of course, you have to be able to get the technology in. That involves Wi-Fi or whatever, and you have to be able to get the devices in the hands of the people that need it.

But I do think that is going to help all of us, and hopefully credit unions as well, to better serve markets that are economically more difficult to justify. I think the difference between us and the banking industry is that we’re not being forced to do it. We do it because that’s our members, that’s our market. In North Carolina, here in Winston-Salem for example, we were the first to open a branch in a more challenging part of town, and the rest of the town kind of grew up around us. We found a way to affordably serve a market that was economically challenged, and I think we’ll continue to look for ways to do that.

Cameron: All right. So Marc, you seem like a fun guy. You ready to go off script and do some rapid fire questions?

Marc Schaefer: Sure.

Cameron: All right.

Marc Schaefer: Sure.

Cameron: What’s your favorite –

Marc Schaefer: I didn’t know we had a script.

Cameron: That’s true. Favorite ice cream?

Marc Schaefer: I am a chocolate guy, I have to admit.

Cameron: Okay. If you could have dinner with one historical person, who would it be and why?

Marc Schaefer: Wow. Huh. That is off script. This is going to sound like a little bit of a … It probably would be Martin Luther King, probably because I can identify with him. I mean, as a political scientist, I studied a lot of history and I could go back and say Abraham Lincoln or something. But no, really, I think Martin Luther King would be a good choice for me.

Cameron: All right. I love it. You’re a musician. If your life had a theme song, what would it be?

Marc Schaefer: Oh, gosh.

Cameron: Yeah, these are hard.

Marc Schaefer: True Tones just asked me to come up with that, something like that. I don’t like to be the Creedence Clearwater … They always want me to be the Creedence guy. I like ’80s music, ’90s music. I don’t go all the way back to the ’60s, although I love that music. Probably, if I had to pick one song, which they made me do, I’d probably pick Bob Dylan’s Chimes of Freedom. I just love that song.

Cameron: What’s your favorite meal?

Marc Schaefer: Actually bruine bonen met rijst.

Cameron: Is that a Suriname-

Marc Schaefer: That’s Suriname. It means brown beans with rice, but they make it a way with some special spices that … I don’t even know if they let them out of the country. I did have a friend from Suriname come up and smuggle it out one time and made it up here. But yeah, you almost have to go to Suriname to eat it.

Cameron: I wager you’re the only credit union CEO who can list that as their favorite meal. All right. What’s the best advice you’ve ever received?

Marc Schaefer: Oh wow. Probably from my mother saying, “Who told you life was fair?”

Cameron: Yeah.

Marc Schaefer: That puts it all in perspective.

Cameron: An oldie but a goodie. All right. Well, you’ve been a great sport, and word on the street is you’re about to retire. What is the next chapter for you, Marc?

Marc Schaefer: Well, I don’t really know. I’m going to take … I’ve been working since I was 14 years old, so I’ll probably take … I was going to take a month off, and then I talked to a friend who said, “Well, you should take three.” Well, that sounds even better, so I think I’ll sit back and then take some time and evaluate what makes sense, and how I can help. I do want to pay back. I want to pay back for the good fortune I’ve had. I just don’t know how quite yet.

Cameron: Excellent, and it’s been a great conversation. Is there anything that you didn’t get to that you wanted to cover or that you’d like to reiterate and leave our audience with?

Marc Schaefer: No. Cameron, I think you … Yeah, I think we covered everything. I think you were very thorough and I appreciate and enjoyed your approach to some of those areas.

Cameron: All right. Excellent, Marc. Thanks so much for joining us today.

Marc Schaefer: Thank you, Cameron. Okay, take care. Bye.

Hannah talking on the phone