Three Ideas: A Credit Union New Year’s Resolution

by Walt Laskos, The Laskos Group

It’s just a matter of days until we once again watch that sparkling crystal ball and the crowds in Times Square count down the final remaining seconds until the start of a new year. And, just like years past, as the clock strikes midnight, the beginning of the New Year will more than likely find us making another resolution for change and improvement in our lives.

Whether that change is one that promises to see us loosing weight, spending more time at the gym or devoting more time to the kids and our spouse, it’s comforting to know that we won’t be alone in our hopes and aspirations. We’ll be joining millions of others, all seeking to improve the quality of life we’d like to experience as the weeks and months of 2013 provide for us the possibilities.

The start of the New Year is always a great time to let go of the past and focus on starting something fresh and new. What are you planning as your resolution?

While our immediate focus may be considering what each of us plans to do as our New Year’s Resolution, let’s not forget a resolution for our credit union as well. It, too, is beginning a New Year and rather than seeing 2013 unfold as a repeat of 2012 or 2011, we ought to consider what we can do to make 2013 a banner year for our credit union.

Needless to say, this will require a resolution that makes 2013 different from all previous years. Make a resolution that will be worth keeping. Start something new, something bold and exciting. Make a resolution to launch an initiative that will attract a lot of interest and passion from others. Such interest and passion will fuel an ongoing drive to maintain the resolution throughout the course of the year!

Remember, if you do what you always have done in past years, you’re bound to experience the same results. This year be different; reach for the stars. Dream big! Rattle the cage. Rock the boat and watch your credit union rise to the top!

To help you determine a New Year’s Resolution for your credit union, here are three ideas guaranteed to make 2013 a year unlike all others.

1) Launch a monthly educational program on your local cable TV system

Sound out of reach? I’m willing to bet it will be a lot easier than you think.

In order to maintain their franchise within the local community, a cable TV system must provide a certain amount of public access programming. There is no cost associated with placing a program on the public access channel; it’s free. Many cable systems also have the facilities—the cameras and gear—to produce the programming. Likewise, several credit union leagues now have the capability to produce cable TV programs as well.

Most important, I can’t think of any cable system GM who would turn down an opportunity to air a quality financial education program for viewers, especially when its developed and produced by reputable businesses and organizations from within the community. With such a golden opportunity readily available to credit unions, why not find a way to tap into it to teach and instruct others about the joys of saving.

Think you can’t make it happen alone? Then consider your cooperative partners; other credit unions, cooperatives and the league, Reach out a hand to your business associates within the community as well. Give me a shout if need be and I’ll help you through the process. I bet there are many who would love to partner with you on such a valuable project. Rock the boat and become the catalyst you need to be in making it happen. Pursue a path already carved by credit union folks in Pennsylvania.

Back in October, Peter Strozniak at The Credit Union Times reported how the Pennsylvania Credit Union Association is partnering with the Pennsylvania Cable Network and the Pennsylvania Credit

Union Foundation to produce a television series of quarterly town hall meetings about financial literacy. The meetings covered the fundamentals of financial management including banking, credit, investments and budgets, as well as how to establish credit. Read more at Keystone State Credit Unions Partner With Cable Network on Financial Literacy Town Halls.

What a great idea! Think you and your credit union can do the same? Don’t be afraid to dream BIG!

2) Introduce young members to Mo’doh Island

Want to make a big splash among your members in 2013, especially your younger members? Here’s an opportunity to build loyalty, increase membership, provide financial education, be noticed as an innovator, and enhance your brand reputation in the marketplace, all within one mighty initiative. This New Year’s Resolution can really score big dividends for you.

Mo’doh Island is a financial education simulation platform where teens are presented with real world situations in which they learn the value of money, savings and purchasing. The game comes complete with a portal web site, game news, tutorial videos, a player’s guide, and information for parents. All the details are readily available at

3) Energize your cooperative identity and spirit
Your credit union is a financial cooperative yet I’m willing to bet that for many among your staff, board and members, the notion of being a “cooperative” or belonging to a “cooperative” is a foreign experience. Don’t believe me? Ask around and if that’s the case, suppose your credit union’s New Year’s Resolution was to remedy that notion?

Think about inviting a local co-op CEO to address your board. Plan a field trip for your board to a local co-op. Post a sign in your lobby or lunch room explaining that your credit union is based on the cooperative business model. Include a list of the Seven Cooperative Principles:

  1. Voluntary Membership
  2. Democratic Member Control
  3. Members’ Economic Participation
  4. Autonomy and Independence
  5. Education, Training & Information
  6. Cooperation among Cooperatives
  7. Concern for Community

Our potential as credit union folks to make great and outstanding resolutions for 2013 is without limitations. How we proceed and what we decide to do is up to each of us. Will the upcoming New Year simply see us continue what we’ve always done in the past, or are we ready to take up some bold and exciting initiatives that will turn heads and rock boats?

Here’s to making 2013 the dawn of a new age for America’s credit union community, and let me be among the first to wish you and yours all the very best in blessings and success in 2013. Happy New Year!

Walt Laskos

Walt Laskos

Walt Laskos, C.U.D.E., M. Div., is editor-in-chief of CUNA’s monthly flagship publication, Credit Union Magazine. He is a DE (Development Educator) with a background spanning more ... Web: Details