Cooperatives work together to build Keep It Co-Op! Park

Today many credit unions don’t think it even matters that they are financial cooperatives. Sure, they may put something like this on their website: “We are a not-for-profit financial institution owned and operated by our members with a volunteer board of directors … blah blah blah,” but that doesn’t really tell the story or describe a differentiator.

Back in 2012, when I was the VP/marketing for $849 million Del Norte Credit Union in Santa Fe, we had proof that our cooperative structure mattered to our members. We regularly surveyed them using the Net Promoter Score, which asks the ultimate question: “How likely are you to recommend the credit union to a co-worker, friend or family member?” And then the powerful open-ended question, “What is the primary reason you gave that score?”

At DNCU the No. 1 answer was always service. No. 2 was the fact that we were not a bank but locally owned—in short, that we were a financial cooperative. The members got it.

Remember back in the day when you could grab your co-workers and get into a room with a big blank white board and just brainstorm? And there was almost always sugar involved? Well, that’s what I did with my team. I told them that we couldn’t ignore this data. But what were we to do with it?


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