Think crazy. Think different.

So we’re already on month 2 of the New Year. When you sat down to plot out the course of your credit union and how you will grow your membership this year, did you look at other successful organizations?

No, not other credit unions.

I’m talking about looking at how successful companies and leaders in unrelated industries got to where they are.

Let’s take a big one. Look at Apple. Have you ever thought about Steve Jobs? I don’t mean whether Ashton Kutcher or Michael Fassbender gave a better cinematic portrayal of the iconic businessman. Have you ever considered how Steve Jobs might have run a credit union? Jobs learned how to launch and run a company under the guidance of investor Mike Markkula.

Markkula stressed the importance of a complete and comprehensive knowledge of your customers’ needs. He wrote that Apple would succeed because they would “truly understand their (customers’) needs better than any other company.” It could be fair to say Jobs took that so literally that he was able to anticipate his customers’ needs. Perhaps, others might argue, even create them.

Are you that confident when it comes to your members? Is your credit union serving every aspect of their life?  A good credit union has to provide more than just a place for members to keep their money. There are plenty of those. To create a lifelong relationship with a member, to foster the kind of loyalty demonstrated by so many Apple devotees, can you give them what they need before they know they need it?

  • Do you have an app that offers them total convenience and ease to manage their money remotely?
  • Are you set-up for tokenized payment methods such as Apple Pay, Google Wallet, or Samsung Pay? Okay, given the theme we’ll move past that third one, for now.  
  • Do you have a solid, lower-interest credit card program in place, so when they need to make a purchase, or an emergency strikes, they don’t have to deplete their share draft accounts?

These aren’t just additional products or services you can sell your members. These are future solutions you can deliver before they’re actually needed.

“Easy for the staff, very easy for the members,” said Randy Icelow of Rolling F Credit Union in Turlock, CA, who needed an affordable credit card option to meet growing needs of their membership. Rolling F ultimately chose the EZ Launch program from LSC® and it has been an additional benefit to their membership. “(EZ Launch) has been valuable for the members, and very valuable for the balance sheet.”

Think beyond deposits and shares. Offer more than auto loans or mortgages. Look beyond what your members need today or might need tomorrow. Consider how you can serve them for their entire life-cycle. That is the goal, isn’t it?

Anticipating needs. Creating trends. That’s what made Apple. It’s ok for you to run your credit union that way as well, regardless of asset size. Apple started in a garage. Steve Jobs famously said “Here’s to the crazy ones.” Think a little crazy, if it helps. Think different.

Phil Seely

Phil Seely

Phil is the Senior Director of Portfolio Development for LSC having joined the Illinois Credit Union System in 2011 from Fidelity National Information Services. He has been working with credit ... Web: Details

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