The Business Breakdown

Some towns are on the rebound, retailers want to reduce swipe fees, and a solid chunk of families couldn’t come up with $2,000 in an emergency.


The summer is shaping up to be informative. How will Americans bend travel habits to high fuel prices? How will our nation’s infrastructure hold up in the face of intense conditions? Will the recovery sustain itself or fall into a dog-days-style slump? That’s what’s on the horizon. Right now, like always, the country has plenty on its plate.

  • The Place(s) To Be: Ten towns have housing markets that are working their way back to prosperity. From San Diego to Boston, there is good news in the market. The Breakdown: How do these markets compare to your market? Take a look at these towns and then dive a little deeper and see what credit unions are flourishing in these places. What are they doing to generate loan growth? You might find some good ideas.
  • Swipe At The Future: Retailers want to make sure that the swipe fees that banks get when cards are swiped. This battle could be intense as the summer drags on. Both sides have ammunition and a lot to gain and lose. The Breakdown: These swipe (or interchange) fees represent significant income for financial institutions. Part of your credit union’s bottom line will be affected regardless of the outcome of the proceedings. But instead of bracing for lost income, make free checking a value-add benefit to your members. Try to keep fees to a minimum. Members will notice.
  • Hop Onboard: Companies are rejiggering how they welcome new employees into their team. Using innovative software or just the buddy system, businesses are realizing the value of proper assimilation. The Breakdown: Credit unions should pay attention for two reasons. First, examine how you welcome employees. You need to get and keep good talent. Second, pay attention to what you can learn about onboarding new members. They always say the first 90 days is critical. Make the most of the opportunity.
  • A Real Emergency: According to a new study, half of U.S. households would have a tough time coming up with $2,000 for an emergency expense. Not good. The Breakdown: The lack of reserves in families across America makes for a fragile community. Explore ways to help members save money and then sit down with them and help them plan how to save it. Explain the importance of planning for difficulty. Stuff happens in life; make sure your members are ready, and they’ll appreciate it when they are.