Thank you to all who applied – we will announce selections by the end of February.

The Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL) and the Filene Research Institute are excited to launch the second year of the Iowa Innovation Group. This group was formed to help create a steady flow of financial services innovations to help Iowans. Using the proven Filene Method, Iowa Innovation Group members will quickly move from insights to ideation, prototyping, and testing, culminating in the official unveiling of homegrown innovation at the September 17-19 Iowa Credit Union Annual Meeting in Des Moines.

Success depends on getting the right people on board. Luckily, there’s an amazing supply of talent in Iowa credit unions that can help drive Iowa credit unions forward. BUT…there are only 15 seats to fill. So, we have adopted a thorough application process to make sure that we assemble the right combination of talent, skills, and interests needed. There are two parts to this application:

Part 1: The General Application & GRIT test

  • The general application allows us to get to know a little bit about you.
  • The GRIT test, which is based on a University of Pennsylvania professor’s work to identify people who can set and accomplish goals.
  • This portion contains two essays and will take you approximately 45 minutes.

Part 2: The Wonderlic Assessment

  • The Wonderlic assessment which will evaluate personality and entrepreneurial traits.
  • This will take approximately an hour.

Applicants identified as top candidates will then be interviewed by IIG & Filene facilitators to add color to your application.

If you have any questions about this application, please do not hesitate to contact us.

Best of luck,
ICUL & Filene Research Institute


DES MOINES, IA – The Iowa Credit Union League (ICUL) selected 15 exceptional credit union executives to join its inaugural Iowa Innovation Group (IIG) program, which fosters the development of new ideas and innovations for credit unions. Each member will serve a seven-month term, participate in periodic meetings led by a team from ICUL and the Filene Research Institute, and be responsible for piloting new ideas at their credit unions. ICUL received close to 30 applications from a wide range of credit union executives throughout Iowa.

“While the struggles of consumers and financial institutions are all too real, this environment is perfect for innovation,” says Jim Niederhauser, ICUL V.P. of Member Services. “We’re confident that this new group of innovators has the skills, passion, and grit to transform the lives of consumers through credit unions in Iowa.”
Modeled after Filene’s i3 (Ideas, Innovation, Implementation), IIG has visions of launching similarly successful blockbuster programs such as the i3 Save to Win (prize-based savings accounts), nationwide Savings Challenges (reality TV meets wallet improvement), and Debt in Focus (an anonymous, online financial assessment tool).

The Iowa Innovation Group will be targeted with identifying new ways to improve the way credit unions provide financial guidance to their fields of membership.

“If credit unions are going to transform themselves through innovation, as many credit union employees as possible need the tools, experience, and opportunity to create and test new ideas,” says Matt Davis, Filene Innovation Director. “With a strong pool of applicants for IIG, Iowa credit unions are certainly doing their part to improve consumers’ lives through not-for-profit financial cooperatives.”

Expect big things from these newest IIG members:

  • Alejandro Alaniz, Account Relationship Specialist, Des Moines Metro Credit Union
  • Dan Davis, VP of Finance/IT, Financial Plus Credit Union
  • Brian Day, Dwolla Product Leader, The Members Group
  • Paul Farmer, Innovation Officer, Veridian Credit Union
  • Rich Head, Director IT, Linn Area Credit Union
  • Maria Johnson, Assistant VP – Marketing, Collins Community Credit Union
  • Janet Lintin, CEO, Des Moines Police Officers Credit Union
  • Kris Lundquist, VP Marketing, The Family Credit Union
  • Penny McCoy, Branch Manager, First Class Credit Union
  • Jonathon Miller, President/CEO, Dubuque Teachers Credit Union
  • Samantha Pingel, Member Service Representative, Fort Dodge Family Credit Union
  • Aaron Plein, VP, Branch Manager/Service Delivery, Dupaco Community Credit Union
  • Denny Siemers, CEO, Town and Country Credit Union
  • Kathy Steffes, Branch Manager, Iowa Community Credit Union
  • Jennifer Tebbe, eServices Branch Manager, Greater Iowa Credit Union

Visit for more information.

About the Iowa Credit Union League
The Iowa Credit Union League is the trade association that represents the interests of Iowa credit unions and their more than one million members. Credit unions are not-for-profit, financial cooperatives owned and operated by their members. Iowans use their credit union membership to receive higher interest rates on savings and lower interest rates on loans. For more information on ICUL and Iowa credit unions, visit Follow ICUL on Twitter at or on Facebook To learn more about credit unions, visit  

About Filene Research Institute
The non-profit Filene Research Institute is a consumer finance think tank serving the North American credit union system of 100 million members and $950 billion in assets. Filene publishes objective research and fosters consumer-focused financial innovation. The Institute collaborates with leading researchers and academic institutions worldwide.