Craft a robust credit union strategy in a changing landscape

Strategic planning season is fast approaching. A recent Credit Union National Association survey of CUNA Environmental Scan purchasers revealed that 50% of credit union leaders expect their strategic planning sessions to take place between August and October.

As these sessions play a crucial role in shaping the future direction of their credit unions, leaders must carefully consider what to incorporate into their discussions. With challenges and uncertainties we have faced this year – such as bank collapses and the potential for an economic recession – determining the most relevant and effective focus areas is critical to the success of credit unions.

By combining a future-oriented perspective with a clear understanding of current challenges and opportunities, credit unions can develop a robust strategic plan that not only addresses the uncertainties of 2023 but also lays the foundation for continued growth and success in the years to come.

Key areas credit union leaders should focus upon in strategic planning include:

Future-focused leadership: The pandemic forced many credit unions to concentrate on short-term survival, causing some to lose sight of long-term goals. As the financial services industry continues to evolve at an unprecedented pace, credit unions must refocus on the horizon and adapt to changing market conditions.

A recent American Consumer Satisfaction Index survey revealed a decreasing perception of credit unions compared to banks, primarily due to the shift to digital banking. To remain competitive, credit unions must prioritize digital transformation and stay ahead of technological advancements.

Struggle for relevance: Credit unions face an ongoing battle for new membership and connection within the financial services marketplace. The competition is not only with large financial institutions and fintechs but also in attracting younger members.

The average age of credit union members is increasing, and while older members have been loyal supporters, credit unions must engage with younger generations to ensure long-term sustainability. By focusing on the needs of Generation Z and millennials, credit unions can continue to grow and give back to their communities.

Change management: The world has become increasingly volatile, uncertain, complex and ambiguous, and the pace of change in the business world has only accelerated since the pandemic. Credit unions must embrace change management, both as a process and a set of critical competencies, to adapt and thrive in the new normal.

By intentionally driving and facilitating successful change at individual, project and organizational levels, credit unions can achieve desired business outcomes and navigate an ever-evolving landscape.

Advocacy: Credit unions need to adapt their advocacy approach to align with modern communication methods. Educating elected officials and emphasizing the importance of a robust credit union movement to the economy and local communities is crucial.

Credit unions must maintain a proactive and persistent advocacy strategy to counter threats to non-interest revenue, such as interchange and overdraft protection.

The free CUNA Industry Trends Affecting Strategic Planning webinar dives deeper into these trends to provide strategic planning guidance for all credit union leaders.

Dayna Johnson Schmitt

Dayna Johnson Schmitt

Dayna Johnson Schmitt is a Madison, Wisconsin based product manager with 15 years of experience.  As a CUNA product manager she has helped enhance CUNA’s strategic planning and compensation products. Web: Details