The Business Breakdown

Jobs data, the stories of Californians, and Foursquare. What do they mean for credit unions?


Balance is hard to attain, especially when the economic climate is pushing so hard on one side of the scale. Today, people work countless hours to make ends meet, and that’s only if they’re lucky. For some, unemployment is the great stress inducer. The nation’s been wobbling along this half-recovery, half-hanging-over-a-cliff thing for awhile now, so there’s no use in dwelling on the uncertainty. Instead, it’s time to take a look at reality and find ways to improve it or learn from it.

  • Where The Jobs Are: USA Today has an excellent infographic that illustrates industry-specific forecasts and growth by state. The Breakdown: This data is an excellent resource for credit unions. Let’s say you live in New York. A member comes in and says, “I want to start a business that makes the little silver tabs that you pull up to open soda cans.” (This is just an example). You look at the data and see manufacturing jobs in New York are on a downward forecast. That could actually make starting the small business your member wants easier: Plentiful, low-cost labor and maybe some funding for injecting that type of job into the state are potential plusses. The point is you can use these numbers to inform decisions in your state and gauge the climate outside of it.
  • California’s Economic Clouds: The L.A. Times reports on a new poll that shows Californians cutting costs and tempering optimism. The Breakdown: How are members where you live handling the recession’s lingering effects? Might make sense to put a flier up on your credit union’s bulletin board (or a note on your Facebook page) to get good ideas to save money from members. You could even turn it into a contest. Maybe everyone who offers an idea gets a $1 deposit in their checking account. You could help members make and save money. Anything helps.
  • Your Card and Your Location: Inc. has a great piece on how location-based software Foursquare has partnered with AmEx to make this type of social media viable for businesses. The crux of the situation is using your AmEx and Foursquare at select locations can generate significant discounts. The Breakdown: Where does your credit union stand on Foursquare? It’s easy to get involved; just check out the homepage and go from there. There’s no reason to let a chance to engage members (and get them into the branch) slip away.  

July 25, 2011


  • As much as i use foursquare, I'm embarrassed to admit that except for the fact that you can see how few or how many people check in at a location over a period of time, I had never thought of the business implications of foursquare's use. Look how AmEx uses this software, credit unions. If you offer your own Visa or Master Card, how about buddying up with local businesses and while you serve your members, share the wealth with your local businesses. Those merchants could be your members tomorrow. Rachet up those business services. Technology is waiting.