Are Financial Cooperatives Even Relevant?

by Mark Arnold

I recently had the opportunity to visit with Adam Schwartz, the president of The Cooperative Way, a consulting firm that works with cooperatives on their principles and values. Schwartz has worked with numerous cooperatives in multiple sectors, including credit unions. Below is our Q&A.

(1)      In today’s modern world, how can  financial cooperatives stay relevant?

Relevance is determined by action. Those credit unions that align their interests with those of the members will thrive. The others will eventually fade away as consumers discover there are other options and there is a cooperative difference.

(2)      Does the co-op nature of credit unions matter to consumers and how can credit unions leverage their cooperative structure in their marketing efforts?

One of my favorite sayings is: “If you’ve seen one co-op, you’ve seen one co-op.” It is our greatest strength that we are nimble enough to respond to the needs of the community we serve. It can also be a great weakness if we fail to collaborate together. If we promote the fact that credit unions are cooperatives, and live up to the seven cooperative principles and values, it will matter to the consumer.

Continue Reading