Oct. 31, 2005


Comments

 
 
 
  • We can't have our cake, and eat it too. If we constantly add services to compete with banks and keep/attract members, then not only are we going to look like banks to outsiders, we are going to make ourselves too busy for advocacy and lobby efforts to educate the public on the difference.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • Credit Unions need to advertise more and help their own staff understand the difference. Banks are advertising all the time and much more effective at making themselves visible. If you want easier access to your money a bank is usually the best way to go. People pick an institution that is near there place of residence or work. Credit Unions often only have one office. Online access is helping this situation but I am not sure it is enough.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • Right on Ed & Bucky! We have lost the passion. Too many are interested in technology and how we can outsmart other CUs. If we can't explain the difference to Bill Thomas and the Congress, the graveyard of S&Ls may have company. Since Leagues are mostly involved in "Advocacy", and ignore CUSOs, who is going to tell the story? Happy times Guys. Wylie Dougherty
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • I think we need to fight back. We have taken the defensive posture too long. We need a national campaign that all credit unions can participate in that the average consumer would understand. Themes like "Fight Bank Fees" or even something catchy like "How you Can Beat the Bank." Consumers won't be interested in finding out more unless we answer the WIFM question in a campaign that will catch their attention. The credit union difference has a value proposition attached to it, but "The Credit Union Difference" will not resonate with the average consumer. We need a full media bltiz including billboards, radio, TV, etc.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • I agree wholeheartedly with Ed and Bucky!!! It's about having a passion for the difference and being willing to communicate it. We have been working on this for the past few years. We use every ad and take every opportunity to remind people that "when they do business with Community First, they OWN Community First and the profits come back to them." It's not fancy - just a simple statement of fact - tied to whatever we're trying to promote. Members get it. We do a lot of testamonial type ads (asking members to tell us what they like about doing business with the CU... now, more often than not - they mention the fact that being a member-owner = a better deal for them. Happy to share these ads if you'd like.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • While a "grassroots" campaign is important in educating our current member base, I can't believe we are not addressing our respective state league's roll in all of this. Our credit union leagues should organize a marketing blitz to educate all Americans, members or not, on the Credit Union difference. Who knows, maybe a successful marketing message may fall on the ears of the very lawmakers we are so repeatedly trying to convince! Obviously, a task of that size and cost cannot be achieved at the individual credit union level. We can barely market ourselves! Our leagues, as a service to it's credit unions and to itself, should have been on this marketing strategy long ago! If it's content that is needed for a campaign, we can easily refer to this article and its fine examples of the credit union movement from it's beginnings. With the state league's strength and size and each individual credit union's determination in spreading the word, I believe we can get the message out that credit unions are not for profit - not for charity - but for service!
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • We need a "By the People, For the People" national campaign that hammers the fundamental differences. In my focus groups, most people have vague understanding of CU's. When using role play to highlight the CU structure, almost all walk away with positive feelings.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • More advertising teaching the coop advantage over family owned, and stock holder Banks. How we are here to be working for the members. concentrate on our advantages not Bank downgrading.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • I think we need to not use the word banking when talking about credit unions. Too many credit unions like to use the word "Banking Services" We should use "Financial Services" provided by your credit union. We need to show that there is a difference.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • I absolutely agree! I believe we need to educate from the moment someone is hired or becomes a member (or even potential members) all the way to Congress, however the passion is up to the individual. If you believe in something it is easy to have a passion for it. You cannot make someone have a passion, but you can certainly give them the information and share your passion in the hopes that the passion will grow within others. The passion and understanding of what credit unions are and what we stand for must be a commitment from each and evey CU and CU association. By losing focus of our cooperative spirit, our people helping people philosophy and meeting our members' financial needs we bring battles such as taxation on ourselves. As a movement (and we are a movement not an industry) we need to understand that we exist for our members and bigger is not always better...we exist "not for profit, not for charity, but for service". We need to examine every business move with the question of "Is it good for my members?", instead of "will this grow our bottom line or assets by xyz% this year - that's bank mentality not credit union philosophy. I agree grassroots are necessary, marketing campaigns help, brainstorming our approach for re-energizing our passion is great, but it really comes down to "me". If there's to be a change, we each have to look at our individual contributions and make changes - it all starts with "me". Ask this question of yourself - "What am I doing to make a difference?" If we're honest, the answer may scare you! It's time for action - it's time we walk the talk. Thanks for a great article!
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • I couldn’t agree more, my colleagues and I discuss this issue regularly. After all, I didn’t understand the difference until I began working in the credit union industry.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • We must look inside as well. How many of our own credit union employees and in some cases, CEO's do not think there is a difference. And if that is the case, then we will lose our differentiation. We need to serve all of our members.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • When we lump all credit unions under the umbrella of the "credit union difference" it IS hard to see the difference. We believe the difference comes out in individual stories, in the people behind "People Helping People": LA Fire Credit Union is different because their staff crafts unique products -- like realtor / active firefighters -- for firefighters and their families; San Mateo Credit Union is different because they teach their members how to make it financially in an expensive economy, Patelco is different because they reach out to their communities with award-winning products. We have been telling the individual stories since 2003, and in the process creating organized buying units with the media to bring efficiency and effectiveness for individual promotions. Next year we will move to nationwide efforts with LIFE magazine (what better place to showcase our people?) and Handel on the Law (#1 rated talk/radio host who is a legal expert and passionate advocate of credit unions). ALL credit unions are invited to participate and tell YOUR story. Write to me for more info.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • This is the exact message I have with our organization. The consumer does not recognize the value in CU membership. I believe CUs need to place more emphasis on marketing the value of "membership". As an industry we should empower ourselves with the marketing of membership. Both banks and credit unions tend to get caught up in trying to convince consumers that the difference in their organization is their service or their products. Let's face it...only we really get excited about that. We can not all claim to have the best service. What we can deliver is value to membership. Let's put our ROI focus to a member's perspective. Developing relationship levels within our organization that reward and recognize membership. Show the member the tangible value of membership.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • Credit unions are a far cry different than originally perceived by the founders. I have seen credit unions that do base share and auto and signature loans do as well as, if not better than, those that try to be all things to members. We used to fee averse. The few fees we charged amounted to ou bottom line -- now we can manage 50% of the fees to account for the bottom line. We look like, talk like and operate like banks. We even hire banker to help us compete int his highly competitive financial environment. Smaller credit unions don't have the resources to endure a learning curve for the competitive environment -- so we hire senior staff that's been there (bankers). We must return to being nitche players. It's hard to serve two masters -- regulators and members. It is going to be hard to be the PFI when you're small and competing with the financial world. Don't say I'm an owner when I can't measure the intrensic value. We need to go back to showing we care through rate, fee, and service.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • Credit unions or cooperatives do not become popular by promoting socialist ideals as you imagine. More important than socialist ideas are competitive and tangible economic benefits which many financials and even Walmart are mastering. Current day competitive and economic forces are changing the Filene / Bergengren equation for millions of Americans. The date is 2005 - reminiscing about the past is a recipe for destruction and converting credit unions into a tool of socialists would be a tragedy. The socialistic experiment has failed miserably. Your appeal for passion or to "stoke the fire" is misdirected when everybody is heating with oil - let's get the facts about the modern day equation, face reality, and appeal for more common sense.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • Thank you for saying it like it is. I would love to see industry leaders get together and lead a new charge. We need to better define ourselves or parish, Ron Frey
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • As an overview, the article hits the target. I will be interesting to read a follow-up article that compiles the real life answers to the thought provoking questions that summarized the article. "How Can We .....?"
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • I would suggest a need to start with a "grassroots" effort educating employees on the differences. Educating members as they come in as well. I also agree that we should marketing our uniqueness nationally.
    Anonymous
     
     
     
  • I agree and we need a national marketing campaign to explain the difference consistently to the masses.
    Anonymous