Credit unions let me down

A Letter To My Credit Union CEOs

Dear Sirs:

Month after month, year after year, I have received your newsletters and literature and seen your advertisements. They portray happy couples walking on beaches and families picnicking in the yard. I’ve read your headlines about how you’d help me save for retirement and for my kids education. I’ve even glanced at your countless brochures about your car buying services and insurance products. It’s been a 30 year relationship, and frankly, I’m disappointed in you. You made many promises to me, and none have been kept.

There was a time when I would visit your branches at least once a week. Now I do what I can to avoid your branches, because I just want to use you for paying bills and storing a few bucks for an emergency. Considering you are my primary financial institution, you get very little from me, other than some wire transfer fees and a check order every couple of years.

I’ve moved substantial money in and out of your institution over the past decades. You have had countless opportunities to engage me, like when I opened accounts for my kids or when I got married and opened a joint account. You’ve never asked me about my family or my needs. You have had my kids accounts for over 12 years and even know their birthdays and ages, as you do mine. Never have you wished them or me a “happy birthday.” Not once did you ask if you could help me plan for retirement or prepare for college educations. If you knew me, you’d know that I love cars and boats, things that cost money and that are often financed. Not one was financed or purchased with your help. Why not? You were MIA and never top of mind.

Now that my daughter Sara is about to enter college, I wonder; where have you been? Did you expect me to seek you out? I was waiting for your staff to call or somehow reach out to me. They didn’t, and that makes me sad, because you promised to be my trusted advisor. Sara is off to college this fall, no thanks to you. She has personally saved about $2000 in one of your checking accounts, but she is already considering moving the money to a bank that has a presence on campus. You’ve told me for years that you wanted a relationship. Here’s your chance with my daughter. You better reach out soon, because she has already asked my about something called Simple. She thinks it sounds cool.

So what did I do to prepare for the financial challenges I faced? I opened IRAs with Vanguard, 529s with T Rowe Price and hired Raymond James to be my advisor. They engaged me and kept me on the ball. They gave me financial planning tools online and reached out regularly, even though they are hundreds of miles away. When it came time to invest in a second home, you saw me wiring money into your credit union, much more than typical. You likely saw where the money was coming from. Did you inquire why? No. Instead, you charged me $15 for a wire transfer fee. You could have talked to me and asked, “Hey Bryan, what’s up?” What did Bryan do? I financed that second home through a credit union I previously never had heard of. And at no point did I consider my primary financial institution. Frankly, you just did not come to mind.

Please take my comments, as a member, to heart, and respect my honesty. I really like the few people I have spoken with at your financial institution. But I must admit that I really don’t think of you that much these days, and you have held little impact on me meeting my financial goals, but I thought it important that you heard from me. After all, I may not be the only one that feels this way. However, I will say this, I have enjoyed the Lollipops, as did my dentist. I wonder where he banks?



PS Feel free to contact me if you’d like me to offer some suggestions. Or better yet, ask your customers or members, what impact your financial institution has had in their lives. I still have hope for you and I still bank with you.

Bryan Clagett

Bryan Clagett

Bryan is on the executive team and singularly focused on driving revenue growth through a variety of new initiatives that help financial services and fintech become ever more relevant to ... Web: Details