Jimi Hendrix, Eric Clapton, and your credit union

If you just heard somebody from Sesame Street say, “Which one of these is not like the other?” we understand. On the surface, credit union marketing doesn’t have much to do with these guitar legends but, day-to-day, it does.

The link is a great story about Eric Clapton. It’s been said (Snopes does not have an opinion) that the first time Eric Clapton heard Jimi Hendrix play guitar, he sighed, “I should just burn my guitar.”

The story sounds just like something I hear often when talking with credit union executives. As many credit unions wrap up their year-end reports and start comparing notes, many wonder “Is it worth it?” Isn’t that the financial equivalent to Clapton’s thoughts about blowing up his career for fear of being inferior to a fellow musician?

More concretely, this past week, we spent a day in a staff training session with a credit union that ended 2014 with some negative numbers. Combine a less than positive year, mounting pressure from the NCUA, and a few operational issues, it’s tempting to strike a match.

Henry Ford knew business. He said, “Whether you think you can, or you can’t… you’re right.” I share his wisdom with my staff whenever a seemingly insurmountable obstacle is placed in front of us. When we looked at the monthly loan goal for the credit union, the huge number seemed undoable. When we broke it down into how many loans needed to be written on a daily basis, suddenly it sounded like a target that could be hit with no excuses!

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