It’s Not Just About The Money

Visits with management teams at six credit unions uncovered different riffs on the same theme: Now’s the time and we’re the people.

Callahan’s Big Idea for 2018 is, are credit unions asking the tough questions?

For me, that means asking the questions that will uncover what credit unions really need to know and, importantly, to act on, to leverage 10 years of economic and credit union movement growth.

Recent visits with a half-dozen West Coast credit unions left me feeling optimistic for them and the industry. They’re using metrics and moxie to confidently identify challenges and turn them into opportunities.ContentMiddleAd

Not so long ago, Callahan heard much lamenting about the regulatory burden and competitive pressures during its meetings with credit unions. What struck me most about this trip was the positivity.

The enthusiasm at these credit unions reflects what we at Callahan & Associates have seen at planning sessions across the country this past fall. There’s a confidence that’s been building as consumers respond to the credit union message, and there’s a determination to leverage that goodwill. To validate it and return the favor.

In other words, it’s not just about money.

What’s The Big Idea?

Asking tough questions will help the credit union movement flourish. Make Callahan’s Commentary on a regular stop for insight on thinking differently about tough questions and framing strategies for success.

Of course, profitability matters. A credit union must do well to do good. But my conversations with these credit unions always centered on mission and how they could expand the impact they have on members.

Each credit union I visited had their own take on that, their own way to find out how they could help their members succeed. For some, revamping the internal culture to get out of the office more is a priority. For others, it’s new service areas, new facilities, or new opportunities for engagement. And then there are the ones that see investing in the community being involved and being visible as important as investing in the business.

What’s Old Becomes New Again

Some of these forward-thinking leaders also saw new opportunity in that original credit union relationship with their SEGs. They’re asking how they can re-engage more deeply with their core membership ? from creating new branches inside or adjacent to the SEG facilities to simply branding a credit card with the image of the SEG’s major product or service.

They’re asking those questions of the SEG leadership, of course, and as a result renewing ties with company executives who were interested in how, together, the credit union and the employer can offer better products and services to the employees.

That’s a healthy relationship that can contribute to the financial wellness of employees, which, in turn, benefits the employer and the credit union, too.

Whether community- or SEG-focused, the central theme for each of these member-owned financial cooperatives was to leverage an economic environment and general goodwill toward credit unions to maximize the movement’s natural advantages.

Callahan & Associates is looking forward to a great 2018, and we hope you are, too. We look forward to hearing all about it at conferences and meetings, in strategy sessions, and through the best-practice case studies you share year-round at

January 18, 2018

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