ST. LOUIS, Mo. (9/20/10)--More than 300 credit unions and supporters attended the Credit Union Convention and Exposition, which was kicked off Sept. 14 in Branson, Mo., by the Missouri Credit Union Association (MCUA) and the Credit Union Association of Oklahoma (CUAOK). The combined convention featured a panel discussion with Stan Hollen, president/CEO of CO-OP Financial Services; Katherine Weber of the National Association of Credit Union Service Organizations; and Darren Dutton, National Credit Union Administration supervisory examiner. Moderator was Frank Diekmann, editor of Credit Union Journal. Subjects discussed included credit unions thriving and surviving in the current economic environment. "It may mean trying one thing, then realizing you need to go to another direction, but you don't want to tread water," said Dutton. "You need to be striving and moving forward, or you'll end up sinking." Weber stressed that "cooperation was the basic premise of credit unions. When we go back to that through credit union service organizations, it is the way credit unions are going to survive. You can be much more efficient when you work together." Looking ahead to the next five years, Hollen noted that the key to success will be strategic planning. "If you don't know where you are going or how to get there, how will you move forward?" he asked. MCUA President/CEO Rosie Holub welcomed attendees, including CUAOK's new president, Gary Jones, and Michael Beall, who will become MCUA president/CEO on Nov. 1. "This is a great venue and sets the stage for credit union people doing what they do best--collaborate and cooperate," said Jones. "It's that collaboration and cooperation, extended across state lines, that is amazing to witness," he added. The convention, which ended Thursday, is the second year Missouri and Oklahoma credit unions have met together.