5 surefire ways to ruin your credit union

by. Vicky Salkeld

To kick off the 2014, my church began a new series called “How to Ruin Your Life”. The idea, though at first seemingly a negative approach, has proven to be a motivator for self-evaluation. It occurred to me that credit unions might benefit from a similar evaluation. In my thirty years in the credit union movement I have seen a lot of credit unions go away and many that have had very little growth or change. Thinking about this prompted me to start a list of some factors that might contribute to these negative results.

Keep on keeping on. Continuing to do the same things you have always done doesn’t produce the same results. Sometimes credit unions assume that just because a promotion has worked in the past that it will always work. As the target market and demographics change, so must your strategies.

Ignore your competition. Credit unions used to see banks as their primary competition. Credit unions must look at each other as competitors because of the overlaps in fields of membership. Today’s competition also comes from many non-traditional sources. Insurance companies and big box stores are fighting for the same business. And, don’t forget the internet options. Many competitors are just a mouse click away.

Assume your field of membership will always be there. Credit unions often get too comfortable with their sponsor relationships. They don’t plan for the “what ifs”. What if the sponsor company is sold? What if there is a major downsizing in employment at the sponsor company? What if the sponsor decides to move operations to Mexico to cut operating costs? What if the sponsor goes away?

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