A Big Idea For 2018: Asking Tough Questions

How can credit unions push the movement forward? By tackling tough questions and discovering the right, not easy, answers.

Callahan & Associates made a resolution for 2018, and we’re sticking to it.

In the past, each of the senior leaders at Callahan chose a big idea to explore throughout the year on CreditUnions.com. This year, we’re going all in on one big idea, and we’re using that idea to frame our discussions about the industry for the rest of 2018.

That idea is: Is your credit union asking the tough questions?

Some critics claim that, as member-owned financial cooperatives, credit unions are soft, whereas for-profit banks and other institutions bring a hard edge to the marketplace.

Credit unions are doing right by members and their communities, and they’re succeeding financially. Third quarter credit union growth trends surged past that of community banks and the overall banking industry. Auto finance market share hit a post-recession high of 19%. Year-to-date first mortgage origination market share was 8.1% just below the 8.6% record posted in the first quarter. The industry’s share of both revolving and non-revolving consumer credit hit new highs of 5.7% and 12.9%, respectively. And member usage of key products such as checking accounts and credit cards was also at an all-time high.

This is all good. It’s great, in fact. But more and more, it’s not enough.

There are more than 110 million credit union members out there, roughly one membership for every three Americans. Given that most consumers would be better off if they banked more with credit unions, why aren’t more Americans credit union members?ContentMiddleAd

The Callahan team spends a lot of time in towns and cities across the country, and we see a clear need for credit unions. Many people are still struggling and need help.

So, why aren’t credit unions making a greater impact?

That’s a tough question.

Maybe it’s marketing and branding. Maybe it’s how the industry articulates its value proposition. Or maybe it’s something more?

This line of thinking drove us to consider: Are credit unions asking hard enough questions? Are the aspirations of credit unions bold enough? Are credit unions on the path to achieving their goals? Are credit unions being honest in their assessment of their potential impact?

Answering any of these questions requires honest assessment, introspection, and consultation. It’s an arduous process, but tough questions demand nothing less, and the answers will help the credit union start today on the path toward becoming the institution it wants to be tomorrow.

Over the course of the year, the Callahan team will share different ways of thinking about tough questions. We’ll make reams of data relevant to you, our readers, and we’ll help you pinpoint what your credit union does well and what you can do better.

Answering tough questions requires honest assessment, introspection, and consultation. It’s an arduous process, but tough questions demand nothing less. Callahan’s Strategy Lab helps credit unions think differently about how to frame challenges and develop answers. Learn more today.

We’ll share credit union success stories about credit union people who recognized challenges and found ways to meet them.

We’ll meet with you to help you frame strategies, to help you think strategically and frame them yourself.

We’ll help you build that bridge between today and tomorrow by working together to think about what’s coming down the road and being ready for future challenges.

It’s a great time to be a credit union. Your mission has never mattered more. We’ll help you not just talk the talk but walk the walk when it comes to the credit union difference.

That difference is more than just words on a page. It’s up to you to show how.

Asking tough questions is a great place to start.

January 9, 2018

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