Above the Noise

As scandals and controversy vie for consumers' attention, how can credit unions get their good news heard?


From Representative Wiener’s (well ... you know) to our own local scandals here in DC, it’s hard to pick up the paper or turn on the computer without seeing individuals and groups in power embroiled in controversy. And the financial world is not immune.

The financial services sector has been shrinking, a victim of market pressures and legislative regulation, reports Businessweek. Yet both factors tie back to the larger issue of consumer perception. Are you truly an economic partner or just a business that grew too big, too fast?

It is true that when a bank forecloses on a home that’s already been paid off, or leaves thousands of customers with no idea their banking information has been compromised, the bad news rapidly overshadows positive merits and drives consumer disconnect. But financial institution bashing is too often perceived as a threat. To those who want to serve consumers best, it should be received as an opportunity.

Changes have been afoot for everyone, and if you’re not part of the solution, you’re part of the problem. The new economy requires constant adaption, as well as cooperation, to flourish, advises FastCompany.

When it comes to their financial lives, consumers trust good experiences more than they do a juicy headline. Cooperatives are built upon the principles of doing the right thing, right now and their prevalent attitude matches that of consumers now more than ever.

As salacious as scandal and wrongdoing can be, bad news can also challenge individuals to take action in the world around them. For example, while the job and stock market lags and the U.S. is very much in the middle of a global race for green technologies, Americans have been working to build social- and location-based technologies into a new multi-billion dollar industry.

Perception becomes an attitude, which becomes an outlook. And sometimes, outlooks become self-fulfilling prophecies. Credit unions have kept their finger on the pulse to get ahead of any negative sentiments, with grassroots solutions that meet their communities’ needs.

It’s the good news critical to helping consumers create a better tomorrow, no matter whose bad behavior snags the headlines today.