Incubating Tomorrow’s Qualified Member

by. Scott Butterfield

The pursuit of new members and borrowers is a never-ending process, and the consistent attraction of new members and loans are essential to a credit union’s survival. There are many growth strategies these days, ranging from complex indirect-dealer programs to simple member-referral programs. Hyper-competitive markets, falling loan-to-share ratios, and flat membership growth trends have credit unions scrambling, each looking to identify the most reliable source of tomorrow’s growth.

Becoming a Member Incubator

Sometimes the answer is sitting right under our noses. We interact with members and potential new members, all the time who may not qualify for a traditional loan or product—at least today—but with a little help and development could become qualified tomorrow. My experience has taught me that “developed” members tend to remain most loyal to the credit union willing to make an investment in their development.

Incubation is defined as maintaining something at the most favorable temperature for its development. What if we became more attentive to those members (or potential new members) who, with a little development, care and attention could become our future member/borrowers/savers? Today there are credit unions doing just that: incubating and developing consumers into qualified members. My experience is that the “incubator” credit unions are experiencing superior membership and loan growth.

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