Valuable Lessons We Can Learn from Small Credit Unions

Lisa Moore, Story{Teller}, gira{ph}by: Lisa Moore, Story{Teller}, gira{ph}

What Goliath can Learn from David

It seems many credit unions believe that “bigger is better”. Many define success by “puffing out our chests” and staking asset size as a badge of honor. Having working with many small credit unions, I’ve learned that small can beautiful, nimble and closer to the credit union mission. Here are three lessons small credit unions have taught me:

  1. Be true to your founders.  Smaller credit unions tend to have a better grasp on whom they serve and why they were founded.  Instead of serving a mass of people who live, work, worship, go to school or breath in a certain amorphous geographic area, small credit unions tend to serve a homogenous group with a true common bond.  Most remain true to the vision their founders set forth for them.  Are you being true to the vision your founders created for you?  Can you reinvent that common bond even under a community charter?
  2. Be nimble.  Smaller credit unions see fewer people so they can know members on a deeper level than most.  Beyond just knowing names, many small credit unions make quick, personal decisions and tailor products based on true member need.  Rather than trying to compete with the bank down the street, they know that doing well by the few can trump doing little for the many.  How can you solve true consumer problems?  Can you make quick decisions?
  3. Let co-opetition trump competition.  Ask most credit unions who their competition is, and sadly many times you hear a large credit union name, even though our collective share of the market is still very small.  Small credit unions tend to share ideas, network and stay closer to the cooperative principles.  They understand they need the collective power to create economies of scale.  And after all, cooperatives should work cooperatively.  Do you think of the credit union down the street as a friend or foe? How could you collaborate to get ahead?

No matter your asset size, we can all agree we’re in it for “the little guy”, even if we are in comparison a little guy ourselves.


Lisa Moore formerly served as Marketing Manager for Pioneer West Virginia Federal Credit Union before becoming a partner at gira{ph}.  At her previous post with Pioneer, she helped spearhead an effort to completely differentiate her credit union from the inside out with new visuals, website, innovative marketing tactics and most importantly a new internal culture. She’s won numerous awards in her career including CUNA’s Best Practices. www.giraphcu.com

Lisa Moore

Lisa Moore

Lisa formerly served as Marketing Manager for Pioneer West Virginia Federal Credit Union before becoming a partner at gira{ph}. At her previous post with Pioneer, she helped spearhead an ... Web: www.giraphcu.com Details

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