CU Water Cooler


June 12-13, 2018 • Madison, Wisconsin

“The best credit union conference I have ever been to!”

Learn how to connect, inspire and deliver

The How To Conference by CU Water Cooler is all about getting stuff done. Our speakers are tasked with showing you how your credit union can impact your community and breakthrough. Widely considered the TED Talks of the credit union movement, the annual CU Water Cooler conference brings together top thinkers, leaders and doers in co-operative finance, technology, research and innovation for a two-day event like no other. We’re putting together a stellar speaker line-up and agenda and we'll be exploring how credit unions can connect, inspire and deliver.

We picked a venue limited to 180 attendees and we expect to sell out. Based on past CU Water Cooler events, the audience will be a mix of CEOs, VPs, managers and specialists from all parts of the credit union including leadership, marketing, IT, operations and HR. Plus, we always attract a number of progressive consultants and technology vendors. We encourage you and your peers to attend. You will find the content and conversations stimulating and useful.

2017 Conference Feedback

It’s an intentional conference that’s not afraid to discuss taboo topics
I was extremely inspired and ready to see what 
I can ‘disrupt’ in my 
own credit union
I left feeling more purpose and accountability than I ever have before
A truly disruptive conference with some of the best speakers ever


Reserve your spot today

Since Madison is the hub of the credit union industry, we expect tickets to sell out quickly. Attendance includes lunch, light snacks and beverages throughout each day. Breakfast and dinner are on your own. 

$649 CU Employees • $1,599 Four Pack • $2,099 Six Pack • $849 Vendors

Cancellation policy: All ticket purchases are non-refundable and cannot be transferred to future events. If you cannot attend the event, you can transfer your registration to another person for the 2018 event only.



Two days of top-notch speakers await

We have an agenda filled with thought-provoking topics from a speaker line-up that includes a mix of outside experts and industry insiders. We guarantee that each speaker will have something unique, interesting and useful to share.

Keynote: Dr. Elizabeth Dunn


Dr. Elizabeth Dunn is a professor in the Department of Psychology at the University of British Columbia. Dr. Dunn conducts experimental research on self-knowledge and happiness, with a current focus on how mobile technology can both support and undermine human well-being. She is the co-author of Happy Money: The Science of Happier Spending (Simon & Schuster) with Dr. Michael Norton and will present research on the science of spending. This will help credit unions create happier employees and provide "happier products" to their members.

Meet our headliners

Meet our PechaKucha speakers

A few photos from our 2017 event at the Majestic in Madison. 

At the center of the movement 

Madison, Wisconsin is known as one of the "best college towns" and one of the "happiest cities in the world." It's also know as "credit union mecca" and is home to many of the credit union movement's key associations and organizations including WOCCU, CUNA, CUNA Mutual, CUES and Filene Research Institute to name a few. We couldn't think of a better place to get together to discuss the future of credit unions! 

  © Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau; clockwise from left: Focal Flame Photography, Emily Mills, Emily Mills and Joey Reuteman

© Greater Madison Convention & Visitors Bureau; clockwise from left: Focal Flame Photography, Emily Mills, Emily Mills and Joey Reuteman

The venue and travel

We've all been to too many conferences in beige hotel conference rooms, sitting on uncomfortable stacking chairs, looking at crooked little screens, listening to awful sound and eating rubber chicken. We feel strongly that where we hold our events is as important as who's on the agenda—that's why we're excited to be at the Majestic Theatre, a legendary music venue in the heart of downtown Madison. This convenient location is 15 minutes from the Dane County Regional Airport.

  © Majestic Theatre

© Majestic Theatre


We've arranged a block of hotel rooms at the Best Western Premier Park in Downtown Madison for our attendees starting at $159 per night. Please note that Madison is very busy during our time there, so we recommend making reservations soon. Reservations can be made by individual attendees through this special link.

In addition to the Best Western Premier Park, the Hyatt Place Downtown MadisonThe Madison Concourse Hotel and Hilton Madison Monona Terrace are all within a five-minute walk to the Majestic. Also, Airbnb is an inexpensive alternative.


Majestic Theatre
115 King Street, Madison, Wisconsin 53703


Planning your trip

For those traveling by plane, there is no need to rent a car. There are plenty of hotels within walking distance. Entertainment and dining options are also a short walk away. Grab a cab to and from the airport and you'll be set!

Our sponsors

Founding Sponsors

Currency is a credit union-focused marketing firm. Our unique programs—It’s a Money Thing and Young & Free—focus on helping credit unions raise awareness, build relationships and foster financial empowerment with young adults and families. Our It’s a Money Thing program helps credit unions exceed the fifth co-operative principle—providing education and financial training for members and staff.

A productive frontline staff cannot be left wondering “what’s important?” or “how am I doing?” GameFI leverages game mechanics to drive frontline engagement with strategic priorities, shorten the employee performance feedback loop, make training fun, and optimize productivity, while building a sales and service culture.

Champion Level

Day 1 Lunch Sponsor  CUNA Mutual Group is a financially strong insurance and investment company. For generations, we’ve partnered with credit union leaders to protect and grow their businesses, and help people plan, protect and invest for their future. CUNA Mutual Group offers commercial and personal insurance products; lending and payment security solutions; and retirement, investment and marketing services. 

Day 2 Lunch Sponsor  Changing finance for good. The Happy Money Movement is the only partnership of people, products and companies united in helping everyone find more happiness in their money based on who they are and where they are in life. We're a team of research and clinical psychologists, data scientists, neuroscientists, designers, technology experts and financial services professionals, working together to maximize your happiness through the combination of psychology and money.

Q&A / NPS Sponsor  Member Loyalty Group is a CUSO that helps credit unions drive bottom-line results through organization wide Voice of the Member programs. Member Loyalty Group was formed by leading credit unions in 2008 to develop a common member loyalty benchmark for the credit union industry and was recognized as the 2012 winner of NACUSO’s Collaboration & Innovation Award. The CUSO has an exclusive relationship with Satmetrix, the Net Promoter® company, to provide credit unions with the most effective tools for managing a Voice of the Member program to collect and act on member feedback that increases loyalty, growth and retention.

Pioneer Level

Wi-Fi Sponsor  For more than twenty years, CU Direct has been a lending technology leader, helping credit unions fund $211 billion in loans. More than 1,100 credit unions rely on CU Direct’s solutions to generate loans, create efficiencies, and grow membership. From CUDL, the industry’s number one auto lending platform, to the industry’s revolutionary Lending 360 Loan Origination System, and Lending Insights dynamic analytic tools, CU Direct develops the technology that helps credit unions advance their lending programs and overall portfolio success. 14,000 auto dealers nationwide use CU Direct’s automotive solutions to connect with credit unions and their members to drive sales and increase their bottom lines.

Friends Level

Slide Package Sponsor  Experience + Engagement. Conotext is a full-service marketing firm dedicated to the financial services and fintech industries. We live at the intersection of technology and marketing and help other companies thrive there too. At the core we are students of digital consumer behavior. Everything we do starts with understanding what consumers are trying to accomplish. Then, and only then, do we attempt to connect what our clients do with the in-market consumer.

Video Spot Sponsor  Our process respects your time. Even before our first call to discuss your project, we review your financials. We are prepared to discuss the trends and strategy behind your request for consulting. Our integrity is unparalleled. Our relationships and reputation are worth more than a sale. That's why state leagues choose us as their partner. If you can't win a grant, we will tell you so.Our results are superior. It's not uncommon for clients to experience 12-25% loan growth. Most have ROA over 1%. 

Video Spot Sponsor  Brought to you by Currency Marketing, It’s a Money Thing is a full library of effective and affordable financial education content designed to engage and teach young adults while setting your credit union apart. This quality content is ideal for posting to your credit union’s website and social networks and a great way to connect with local educators and students.

Lanyard Sponsor  Established in 1977, PSCU is the nation’s leading credit union service organization (CUSO). The company was recognized as CUSO of the Year in 2016 by the NACUSO. PSCU’s products, financial services solutions and service model collectively support over 850 Owner credit unions representing more than 20 million credit, debit, prepaid, online bill payment and mobile accounts; protect over 2 billion transactions annually from fraud; and optimize credit union performance and growth. Comprehensive 24/7/365 member support is delivered through call centers located throughout the United States.

Video Spot Sponsor  TwoScore is a marketing firm made up of former credit union marketers with a mission to help small credit unions thrive and stay relevant. We work exclusively with credit unions under $100 million in assets and help them achieve their strategic goals through marketing. TwoScore makes having an affordable and experienced VP of marketing possible for small credit unions, which helps them achieve the market advantage and sustainable growth they need.