Learning from the leaders: Insights on credit union growth

For credit unions who are looking for ways to grow, the perspective of leaders who have done it before is invaluable. As part of Cotribute’s initiative, “Healthy Growing Credit Unions in the Digital Era”, we connect with leaders with decades of experience growing credit unions. We’re sharing insights we gleaned from our recent conversation with one of these leaders!

Patrick Ahern’s career story starts out as that of a part-time teller. After moving on to commercial banking and serving a credit union client, he discovered a passion for the industry that has taken him through many different roles and organizations. He has built a reputation as a turnaround specialist and then a successful credit union CEO over several decades.

One of the most important elements of Pat’s story is his emphasis on staying agile and flexible. Credit unions that can adjust to the macroeconomic environment quickly and easily will have an advantage in terms of growth, liquidity, and profitability. According to Nancy Mills at Equifax, “Lower interest rates over the past decade have resulted in some credit unions holding large portfolios of low value loans. Now that interest rates are high, many credit unions are more concerned about driving deposits to offset these low yields.” This reality, along with the fact that consumers are shopping around for higher deposit rates, causes increasing pressure for credit unions who need to rapidly adjust and find novel ways to grow deposits.

Net worth can be maintained in part by focusing on the right customers. Marketing teams would benefit from using data related to income when choosing where to apply their efforts. Pat cautions against trying to cater to too many types of clients rather than zeroing in on those who are most likely to contribute to profitability. Focusing on margin is another one of his recommendations, and CU’s can do this by narrowing down product offerings as needed.

Currently, Pat serves as the President and COO of Nutmeg State Financial Credit Union. During our conversation with him, he shared some of his most valuable insights on growth. In addition to having a strong net worth position and a well articulated identity, one of Pat’s recommendations is finding the right niche. We discussed why credit unions sometimes try to serve too many types of clients, and how being “all things to all people” can be detrimental for growth.

For more nuggets of wisdom and to hear Pat’s insights on how your organization can grow in today’s rapidly evolving market and choose a great technology partner, check out the interview here.


Cotribute is the award-winning fintech platform that enables membership and margin growth through delightful digital acquisition and onboarding experiences. Cotribute seamlessly integrates with Core, LOS and online banking systems and is on a mission to deliver compelling digital experiences to every credit union member.

Al Powell

Al Powell

Al Powell is the SVP of Sales at Cotribute, the digital growth platform for community banks and credit unions that are looking to acquire new customers and retain existing ones. ... Web: https://www.cotribute.com Details

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