The Business Breakdown: Captain America

The red-white-and-blue hero is all about the fundamentals of America. Our economy needs to rejuvenate the basics, too.


Captain America might not have much flash. He can’t fly in an awesome robotic suit like Iron Man does. He doesn’t have the ability to read minds like Professor X. And he definitely can’t harness the benefits of getting bitten by an arachnid like Spider-Man.

But he can run, jump, swim and punch. Observe.

The movie was excellent (and it was one of the best uses of 3-D I’ve seen).

It reminded me a lot of what’s going on in the economy. Things are slumping a little as the summer winds down. The debt ceiling debate has taken its toll, and consumers are less than confident. But if credit unions pay attention to the basic indicators of success and find productive ways to improve, the country can clear whatever hurdles exist.

  • The Numbers Don’t Lie: USA Today has a solid index of critical economic indicators such as hours worked, money supply and building permits. I’ve included a screenshot below. Just click it to get all of the details. The Breakdown: Credit unions need to pay attention to important drivers of success. These are the meat and potatoes of economics. The hours worked affects members, the money supply informs the nature of the recovery, and building permits can tip you off to the strength of the system.                   
  • One Woman, Big Savings: CNN Money tells the story of how one woman has made saving a priority and why the economy is making it necessary to do so. The Breakdown: Your members need you to figure out ways to save them money. Period. Members want results from you that affect them immediately and positively. Gear your products toward those needs as much as possible.
  • Shopping Around: Mashable reports on the new Google Shopper for iPhone that helps people locate and compare deals around their location. The Breakdown: You should think of your credit union as it relates to this application. You must be aware of all of the competition’s best offers and pitches for better service. Then, via the intelligence you gain and the weaknesses you see in competitors, you can win the local market.

Getting out of the hole that blew open in 2008 isn’t going to be easy or quick. But the solutions aren’t necessarily that complex. Job creation, smart spending, and helping those in need are three of many promising opportunities. Whatever credit unions can do to help those causes makes sense.

If you find some awesome red-white-and-blue shields to give away with a new loan promotion, that might not be a bad idea either.


Aug. 3, 2011



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