Constraint. It’s Not A Four-Letter Word.

This week, offers inspiration on how to break free from the ties that bind.

As within any industry, small financial institutions that have fewer resources must think of new ways to tackle problems, which forces them to develop stronger problem-solving skills and build creative muscles.

In the Victoria-era novelDaniel Deronda, author George Eliot writes, nam deteriores omnes sumu licentiate, which translates to with too much freedom, we all deteriorate.

This week, is dedicated to the people and institutions that are anything but deteriorating. Examples of how limitation encourages stronger performance abound, and the strength of the cooperative model is just one example that proves there is power in constraint. InUnleash The Power Of Constraint, Callahan COO Alix Patterson writes about what constraint means for creativity as well as how constraint fosters progress in financial services. Drawing on inspiration from contemporary icons such as skateboarding legend Rodney Mullen and famed American guitarist Jack White, Patterson shows how nothing can keep a good idea or credit union or industry down.

InHow To Beat No Way With Know How,Linda Bodie, CEO of the $26.6 million Element Federal Credit Union, offers firsthand advice on how to bowl over those familiar restrictions that come with limited size, money, and resources to develop cutting-edge products and service for members. Element looks for inspiration in any place that has a new and better way of serving clients and isn’t afraid to say failureisan option as long as you learn from it.

Member service is a common theme this week, as ROM leaders Jack Daniel Employees Credit Union and Sunset Science Park Federal Credit Union would not rank among the top credit unions with $20-50 million in assets if they didn’t know a thing or two about it.

We know who we serve and have remained focused on our core, and although we have grown, we have not outgrown our personal connection to the membership, says Jack Daniel Employees’ CEO Pamela Case in Top-Notch Growth For A Top Shelf Credit Union. In this week’s Q&A, Case shares the small credit union’s best practices for setting goals and developing a sales culture with a bent toward achieving superior customer service.

Finally, in Increase Wallet Share In A Competitive Market, I profile Sunset Science Park Federal Credit Union. The Oregon-based credit union might be small $37 million in assets, eight employees but it reaches a whopping 28% of its potential market. So how does Sunset Science overcome the hurdles it faces? For one, it invests in important opportunities as they arise instead of pulling back and playing catch-up later, says CEO Rhonda Baggarley. Read more today.

May 27, 2014

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