Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: mission

Your Mission Demands It

Originally published on CUInsight.com

Why does your credit union exist?

Go ahead and think about it for a moment. I’ll wait.

Is it to provide safe storage and management of your members’ money? To help those in troubled financial situations? Maybe it’s to create a community of similarly-employed citizens.

Whatever your reason, it should matter. If your purpose for existence is just another version of Wells Fargo’s mission, then why even bother? (For reference, this is their vision statement: We want to satisfy our customers’ financial needs and help them succeed financially.)

So what makes your credit union different? This seems to get lost in the day-to-day of marketing pushes, car sales, core conversions, and more. It’s a question only you can answer.

Here’s an idea:
We exist to provide top-of-class financial services, education, while offering a unified voice in support of our members’ best interests. 

You probably aim to achieve the first two parts today. Ask yourself: How are your financial services? Would you bank there? Even better, would you encourage friends and family to do so? (Then why aren’t you referring them?!) Financial education is crucial to every member, yet few have the knowledge needed to maximize their savings potential. I’m sure you do what you can to help educate them, right?

And then there’s the last part: “Offering a unified voice in support of our members’ best interests”. This is where it gets fun.

Ask a credit union or industry trade group to support the tax exemption and you get cheers all around. They’ll “hike the hill” 5000 strong to demand “common-sense regulation” that reduces the time and financial burdens on credit unions large and small (but primarily the latter). If you are fighting for survival, then you’re automatically fighting for your members, right?

Not. Even. Close.

I support the tax exemption for credit unions. I also agree treating the vast majority legislatively the same as a national bank is unnecessary. Theresa in compliance cannot possibly provide the same level of, well, anything, that the 200-person team at Bank of America can (and should) offer. Of course, we’re getting sidetracked. I said, “members’ best interests”, not credit unions’. And it’s where we are doing a disservice to 1/3 of Americans.

The next few posts will dive into, issue by issue, areas where credit unions have a responsibility to speak out in support of their members. You’ve already seen my take on Net Neutrality (and my interview in CUtoday; many thanks to them for the focus!). Next up: The allure of Free. Then payday lending. And taxes. With a dash of de-regulation for extra flavor. Because what you don’t have to do can still hurt your members.

Credit unions and their lobbyists love to talk about how they are representing a large portion of America. It’s about time they use their voice to improve peoples’ lives.

$$$ For Charity, Love for Credit Unions

In a partnership between CUNA and Love My Credit Unions (CU Solutions Group), good deeds and great rewards abound. Know how I’m always talking about getting your efforts out there? Well, if sharing to CU Social Good isn’t enough on its own, here’s a reason your entire community can support: Big money for local charities.

Say hello to Share the Love Campaign (They call it the 1st annual, but I’m sorry, the first year doesn’t get “annual” billing. Next year, no problem!). The love being shared is that of your credit union, its members, and community contributions made by each. Yes, we know you’re giving back. Here’s a chance to tell that story. With video!

As part of the Share the Love Campaign, credit unions are encouraged to create short video clips telling their charitable story. Make them funny. Make them emotional. Make sure they are under 90 seconds. On October 1, every video will be posted. Then it’s time to vote! Members, charity supporters, and bank customers (yes, everyone) can choose their preferred stories. So make yours engaging!

Winners will be separated by asset size, with the smallest award being a $10,000 donation, and a new set chosen each month (through December).

You may think large credit unions and charities have an advantage, and you’d be right, but since everyone sees all posts, do your best and it could be amongst the finalists! Tell your members, your community…anyone! Because what’s good for your credit union is huge for your community.

Which sounds a bit like the credit union mission.

Pages of Your Passport

The passport. Perhaps the item most representative of travel, exploration, distant places, and adventure. Do you have one? What stories does it tell? Flipping through the pages is a journey through the past. From my own: Cayman Islands, what a dive trip. Galapagos, islands locked in time. Belize, the meeting of conservation and sustenance. Peru, where Machu Picchu was only one of the spectacles. Canada, because Niagara Falls from the U.S. side is only ok. Bahamas, because boating from island to island doesn’t get old.

The State Department gives 10 years between renewals. How many pages can you fill in a decade? For me, fewer than I had hoped. Don’t get me wrong, each stamp has hours of tales, but there are far more countries not represented. My next one is here, and it will tell new stories, becoming the anchor for more memories of adventures gone by.

Look at your credit union’s passport. Are the pages full? Is it tattered from use or still crisp as new? Consider it your 10-year review. How many journeys did you take for your members? Can you look back and say, “we did it all, and I’m happy to retire it for a new set of pages”?

It’s easy to get caught up in the daily crises and opportunities. We can sometimes lose sight of the overarching mission. If that happens, grab your passport. Relish in the memories of your many accomplishments, then find the blank pages, and imagine how you can serve your members in new ways.

Bonus: No waiting in customs lines.

Image credit: https://openclipart.org/detail/170991/passport-and-ticket

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