Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: education

Your Mission Demands It

Originally published on

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.

A Year of Geek!

Can you believe it’s been a year of CU Geek? Yes? Took a bit of the excitement out of it, thanks. I’m still excited!

Last June, an idea for blabbering into the ether arose. Turns out, this is not a viable strategy for blogging, though doubtlessly the most common. There had to be a meaning, a purpose, a raison d’etat, as it were. I work with credit unions…okay, and what? Marketing, strategy, and…The Force! Geek awesomeness combined with a dose of advice for the industry. As our company has grown, more examples presented themselves to use as topics. Not to mention technology is ever-evolving. How do traditional industries like credit unions fit in a changing world?

Every week, a new post is shared with you, through mediums as varied as RSS, Twitter, LinkedIn, industry magazines, e-mail, and, I hope, word of mouth. Oh the places we have gone! Did you know writing at a certain grade level can impact readership? Or that Bluetooth versus Wi-Fi can be a metaphor for your staff organization? A guest writer (my dad!) wrote how essential it is to consider your website as another branch.

In honor of our first year, let’s go through some of the “bests”:

Most read topic: #WhatInTheWorldIsAHashtag – Thousands of views across numerous social media platforms. #Awesome While the exposure is great, most meaningful is when people from all over the world comment to say, “I get hashtags now, thank you!”

Saddest post: Tie between On the Loss of SpaceShipTwo & Logic, Intellect, and Loyalty – I learned about the crash while flying cross country, and composed that post mid-flight. As someone who looks to the stars every night, this news hit me particularly hard. Same with the passing of Leonard Nimoy. He was the face of exploration. That pointy-eared computer was my friend.

Most fun to write: Do I Have Your Attention? – You’re already distracted. Read the text on your phone, but please come back. Learning the true numbers behind engagement and comprehension (they’re inversely related, oddly enough) was a blast. It changed how we produced marketing and training materials alike.

Most contrived credit union relation: Are You Creating Members…Or Experiences? – Disney is magic. So is their customer engagement. Taking just a piece of it and incorporating into your credit union can reap huge rewards. But really, it’s all about the M-o-u-s-e!

A year. Hundreds of tweets. More than 50 posts. Thousands of credit union supporters reached. Here’s to the next 365 days!

PS – Are there topics you want to see? Let me know! And once again, thank you for your support.

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