Credit unions have become the dog with two masters

With the 2015 World Credit Union Conference behind us there are some very definite themes emerging: Millennials, Disruptors, Regulatory Burden and Stories.

Millennials are everywhere. They are the demographic-du-jour.  During the Breakout Session “At the Intersection between Millennial & Credit Unions: Lessons Learned on Global Scale, we heard them compared to the post-depression/WWII era generation (many Millennials great-grandparents). Both generations had major world events during their formative years causing them uncertainty; war, financial crisis and a massive evolution in technology. The effect on their great-grandparents was to make them savers when they were able. Millennials care very much, they just want to care in the most convenient way possible?

Disruption is all around us, lurking, just waiting to leap out and be the next big thing. A great example of a disruptor is Uber in the world of taxis. Disrupters are innovative and they have their market research down pat. Not surprisingly, their focus is on Millennials. But credit unions can be disruptors. We don’t have to sit in wait for the next big scary disruptor. Moving from being reactive (member asks for a service) to proactive (asking for the business) was important but the next level must be achieved, pre-emptive (e.g. pre-screened lending). Empower the consumer.

Regulatory burden is seemingly ever increasing. Credit unions have become the dog with two masters; trying to please the regulators while meeting the needs of the membership. The majority of regulation is based on how banks operate. In many cases they aren’t designed for the unique design of the credit union.

But the answer to all is in the story. The World Young Credit Union People (WYCUP) session on Sunday heard from Paul Smith, author of Lead with a Story. Paul spoke of the effectiveness of a good and representative story to get a point across as a leader. He also spoke about the ineffectiveness of hammering out statistics, graphs and PowerPoints. A good story begins with the context, setting the scene for the story, followed by the action, tells how the hero battled the problem and ending with the result, how it all ended. Stories appeal to human emotion. Credit Unions have stories!

Millennials care a lot. They expect convenience but if convenience is met, the Credit Union story will breed the caring. Disruptors are unavoidable. But Credit Unions have access to the type data that disruptors dream of. Being aware of the members’ story opens the possibility of being pre-emptive. If the need is met already, the disruptor doesn’t have a chance. The regulators need the Credit Union story too. Persistently and effectively telling the stories of the Credit Union will result in awareness and, assuming the story was crafted well, an emotional understanding of the difference. Credit Unions are different and the power is in the story.

Robin Blythe

Robin Blythe

Robin is an Account Manager, Commercial & Agriculture Relationships/Coach with Libro Credit Union in Southwestern Ontario. She was a 2014 WYCUP Scholarship recipient who passionately believes that Credit Unions ... Web: Details