It’s A Great Day To Try Something New

This week, CreditUnions.com is all about reinvention. We're profiling an array of businesses — some credit unions included — who have taken major changes in stride and come out stronger in the end.

It’s not every day I get to write about style trends and accessories. Loan products and interest rate environments? Sure. Fashion houses and the value of a good coat? Not so much. But that’s exactly what I got to do when I worked work with Callahan’s COO Alix Patterson on the January issue of The Callahan Report. In the main article, When The Going Gets Good, Dare To Change, Patterson talks about what it takes to turn a business model on its head. More importantly, she discusses why someone would want to do that when times are good rather than waiting until the market demands it. And what’s this all got to do with fashion? In the article, Patterson uses two case studies, Burberry and Encyclopaedia Britannica, to show how the iconic brands made drastic changes to save the bottom line and came out stronger in the end.

This idea of reinvention anchors the January issue of The Callahan Report and inspired us to provide a whole week of case studies for you, our CreditUnions.com subscribers.

In addition to Patterson’s article, you can read a first-person account from Mary Beth Wilcher, CEO of Erie Federal Credit Union, about why she felt it was time for a culture change at the $380.7 million institution and how she led that push.

We could not survive as a commodity enterprise; we had to succeed as the best relationship institution in our market, Wilcher says. Under her guidance the credit union serves nearly 13% of its potential membership base compared to 4.12% for credit unions in its asset peer group and 6.17% for Pennsylvania credit unions and posted an average member relationship of $10,911 in third quarter 2013 versus $6,045 and $5,762 for asset and state peers.

Also this week on CreditUnions.com, you can read about two other credit unions that reinvented and lived to tell the tale. In Pet Projects That Paid Off, writer Aaron Pugh provides how four CUSOs of Oregon-based Maps Credit Union embraced change and repositioned themselves, their stakeholders, and their parent credit union for a more prosperous tomorrow. Pugh also writes about Florida-based Darden Employees Federal Credit Union, whose success has hinged on some unique circumstances, according to CEO Jim Kasch. Read this article for tips on how a renewed look at the traditional SEG model can shore up much-needed growth.

Finally, in addition to Burberry and Encyclopaedia Britannica,I had some fun this week working with writer Drew Grossman on his profile of America’s leading server of frozen yogurt, TCBY. It seems even a drastic market shift couldn’t keep this tasty brand down. Find out how one self-described na’ve franchisee helped the company embrace the self-serve model.

We provide a lot to think about this week. I wish you all the best in 2014, but don’t forget that when times are good, that’s a great time to try something new.

January 13, 2014

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