Credit union thrival strategies in the “Year of the Rabbit”!

According to the Chinese Calendar 2023 is the Zodiac Year of the Rabbit. The rabbit personality is focused on peace, prosperity, longevity and success! People born in this year are calm, decisive, rarely panic and cautioned to think twice before acting to be successful in their plans.

In terms of wealth, rabbits will be careful about watching their money and entering monetary relationships with others. So do not expect a big windfall achievement in the year of the rabbit. Bracing for trouble and being cautious and reasonable about their money will help one go through the year smoothly.

Like the rabbit, leaders must monitor the changing economic conditions and impact on consumers (our members) lives and buying analytics looking for opportunities to meet new needs.

And like rabbits we must be wary and keep an eye on the two I’s-—Inflation & Interest Rates!

2023 will be the real year of test regarding the contracting economy and the recessionary carry over from 2022. It will give our credit unions a chance to put into practice our re-imagining strategies for the future during a challenging economy.

More than ever 2023 will be the time for our CU leadership to be bold, think more like futurists and implement recent post-covid lessons learned that have impacted our operations and serving members.

And like in getting a rabbit’s attention, your credit union should dangle some “incentive carrots” to get members to use more of your services: rewards programs, rate specials, free education seminars/webinars, credit reports and easy mobile payments.

Credit unions should value even more the contributions employees bring to the workplace especially during the great resignation and support them in embracing our business transformation and generate value from exceeding member expectations & experiences.

More than ever during an uncertain economy, credit unions must continue to tell our story more, be heroes to our members and keep demonstrating our mission/purpose and community inclusiveness. Focus on continuing to be a trusted advisor/first financial responder and lifeline to our members’ financial needs.

Suggested recession buster growth strategies to consider for 2023:

  • Offer incentives/rewards (low-rate cards) to members for doing more business with your credit union
  • Increase digital strategy to make members more aware of your credit union’s products/services
  • Give members a strong member experience
  • More electronic remote lending/online ordering transactions 24/7/365
  • Offer retirement planning (wills) services
  • Increase non-interest income (credit life/disability insurance products)
  • Home equity loans (home offices/family caves/backyard landscaping)
  • Helping more members needing financial assistance/counseling
  • Boat/personal watercraft/RVs/campers/ATV loans
  • Readiness to respond to pent up desire for new/used car loans
  • Member business lending (cannabis business/suppliers)
  • Green loans (solar panel commercial/home loans/hybrid/electric auto loans)
  • First (second vacation) home/travel loans
  • Pursue & welcome unhappy bank (Wells Fargo) customer refugees demonstrating how CU membership is a better financial value deal to increase market share

And finally, the overall economy is likely to be weaker in the coming year, however, due to strong net worth, earnings, and assets, credit unions will have the capacity to lend and grow. Credit unions have always survived challenging times and members will be looking for guidance, help and their assets preserved.

2023 will be no time to go down rabbit holes

Credit union leaders will need to work smarter, be brave and pounce upon this opportunity for the credit union difference to shine. It may mean the difference between just surviving and thriving.

“That’s All Folks”- Happy New Year!

John Vardalas

John Vardalas

John A. Vardalas CAE, CUDE is Founder/CEO of The AmericanBoomeR Group, a Madison, Wisconsin based speaking/consulting firm. He is also a frequent speaker and facilitator of strategic planning ... Web: Details