In the future, credit unions may maintain their price leadership advantages, but…

When “Old Credit Union Guy” worked his way out of collections and actually started making loans it was a seller’s market. Underwriting was stringent and pretty straightforward with low risk tolerances and correspondingly low debt-to-income ratio guidelines. A straggling medical bill notwithstanding, borrowing opportunities were limited for those who were not judicious in taking care of their personal finances. But, if your member had a history of meeting their commitments (or was a long-time employee on a sponsor company’s payroll deduction) credit union loans were readily available at the best rates in town.

Fast forward 40+ years – it is a “buyer’s market” for borrowers. “Bad credit? No problem!” It seems that anyone can get a loan. And, just so no one’s feelings are bruised, some lenders advertise that they don’t even pull a credit report. Hello algorithmic underwriting!

Convenience, speed, and payment amount have replaced relationship and interest rate as borrowers’ primary care-abouts, particularly among those elusive Millennials. This is a big deal – Filene’s Trending: Credit Unions in 2025 report quotes a Goldman Sachs projection that best-in-class start-ups and giant technology companies could siphon $11 billion in profits from the traditional banking sector in the immediate future.

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