The Emergency Economic Stabilization Act of 2008 was a watershed moment for credit unions. The overreach of banks had been exposed, and EESA put regulation in place to prevent it from ever happening again. In the wake of this period, credit unions became more attractive to consumers by comparison and began growing at twice the rate of banks.
Today, there’s still room for massive credit union growth. Although there are more than 5,000 credit unions in the market, only 20 can boast annual revenue of more than $10 billion. Impressively, half of those credit unions achieved that milestone in a COVID-fueled frenzy. However, many credit unions are wary of ambitious growth goals—and it’s understandable. Once they hit $15 billion in assets (a threshold recently increased by the NCUA board), they face a whole different level of liability and regulatory scrutiny.
For growth-oriented credit unions that are prepared for the challenge, there should be the understanding that this level of growth requires exceptional talent. Both current and future leaders in the credit union must successfully buck the status quo and foster innovation while staying true to the community-centered mission of the credit union. To achieve sustainable growth, leaders need to prepare for it in three key areas: technology, infrastructure and member experience.
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