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By Erik Payne
In 2014, 30% of respondents to a Gallup poll reported having very little or no confidence in banks. Listerhill Credit Union CEO Brad Green says he sees opportunity in that lack of trust.
Green’s vision for Listerhill ($674.4M, Sheffield, AL) is that in 10 years the credit union will be the most trusted source for financial services in its market of 13 counties in northwest Alabama and one in Tennessee.
Relevance is where you appear to be THE choice.
To do that, however, the credit union must remain relevant to its members and potential members alike. And Green sees the increasing number of financial services disruptors entering the market as the largest challenge to his goal.
“The biggest threat we face is people forgetting the unique value of the financial cooperative and how it’s supposed to work for the greater good, especially when compared to other options in financial services,” Green says. “It’s not regulatory. It’s not legislative. It’s not financial or economic.”
Read More: Non-FI players are raising the bar for user experience and expectations. Learn how in "The Threat And Opportunity In Financial Services Disruptors."
In this Q&A, Green discusses fatal mistakes in the search for relevancy, Gen Z, and capturing extra business at the point of purchase.
How does Listerhill Credit Union plan to remain relevant when faced with competition from banks and nontraditional service providers?
Brad Green: We need to push forward in a way that has the fresh, easy approach the disruptors have and not act like the institution, the man, the millennials hate. If we can find our niche in the middle and be the balanced option, I think over the next decade Listerhilll can be the first, foremost, top-of-mind provider of financial services. We’re perfectly positioned as long as we continue to be who we are and who we're supposed to be — which is representative of the members who own the place.
If we migrate and become what the banks are, that's a fatal move in my opinion. By the same token, if we veer too far off the beaten path, that's dangerous as well. So we've got a challenge ahead of us to make sure my children and grandchildren understand the same proposition that my parents and grandparents understood in terms of the value of a cooperative.
How does Listerhill define relevance?
BG: Relevance is where you appear to be THE choice. I’ll use my son as the example. He’s 14 right now. Financial decisions are not big in his world. But in a few years, financial decisions are going to become more important. How will he choose to save and borrow and invest for the future?
Relevance is when he gets to those crossroads and Listerhill Credit Union is the first place he’s looking for the solutions.
His generation, Generation Z, and even the millennials are bombarded with so much information. It’s a noisy, chaotic world. Whether it’s television, print, radio, computer, or the smartphone, there’s so much information. How does Listerhill stay at the top of that? How do we stay top-of-mind with somebody who’s got so much coming at them and so many options?
BG: Everyone is trying to capture extra business at the point of purchase. Indirect lending is an old discussion, but look at the statistics: seven in 10 car deals are completed at the dealership. If you’re not playing there — if you don’t have an indirect program and you’re still marketing to members to get their loan approved before they go to the dealership — then you’re not relevant.
But what can we do to make sure we’re the first place that comes to mind? If we’re just sitting here holding a whole box of commodities, I don’t think that’s relevant. We don’t want to be the place where members only go to get their car loan, checking account, and free checks. So what do we need to do to put ourselves at the forefront, to break through all the clutter? That’s how we become relevant.
January 4, 2016
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