Are we doing enough?

Now’s the time to go beyond financial metrics to measure — and empower — employee, member, and community impact.

Credit unions kicked off 2019 with another strong first quarter. Although lending activity is slowing versus a year ago, membership growth — a key indicator of future growth potential — remains above 4% over the past 12 months. The 12-month asset growth rate of 6.3% picked up from the rate posted in the first quarter of 2018, largely driven by the solid 5.8% increase in share balances. Earnings and capital levels are rising, with return on assets reaching 95 basis points in the first quarter and the net worth ratio at 11.15%.

By traditional measures, credit unions are stronger than ever. The industry’s $1.5 trillion balance sheet is healthy and growing. Capital tops $175 billion. Increased advertising by credit unions has elevated the visibility of the industry, and more than one million new members are joining each quarter. Market share in leading products such as auto loans and first mortgages continues to trend higher.

Given the industry’s momentum since the Great Recession, there’s a risk that complacency could set in. Success can lead organizations to pull back a bit from the activity that drove recent results. That’s one reason that repeat champions in sports are typically the exception, not the norm.

That’s why I was encouraged by the answer to a question posed in a recent planning session I facilitated. The title said it all: “Are we doing enough?” Through this planning session and others, I’ve found that credit unions are continuing to push forward, looking to build on their success and increase their impact. There are too many opportunities to support members and communities to slow down. As cooperatives, they must continue to address ever-changing member needs.


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