As you may know, the biggest and possibly the healthiest credit union in Michigan is set to convert to a bank. I believe that this points to a new trend and one that is far more troublesome. The case could be made that the board and senior team are “bored,” with little more to accomplish in this industry. They need something challenging and material to do.
There are dozens of organizations with the same potential motivations that will convert in the future. A year ago, one such organization leader told me he was bored; that no challenge was presented to him or his team that could not be solved without just “applying money,” and they had money, so life was becoming a bit monotonous.
The very process of converting to a bank is exhilarating to some of these leaders and boards. The challenge of convincing their members, the process of running the gauntlet with or against some of their industry peers and conquering a new charter environment is very alluring to those who believe they are the kings of their current kingdom.
Yes, many observers will make the same comments about these organizations that have been made about the ones that tried or have gone before them. But this is different – these are organizations who simply are convinced they are ready for new challenges.
This is the dry rot that settles in on the “complacent” (a special challenge to our industry). This is what is killing both big and little credit unions – they are defeated by believing that there is little to do either because the challenges are either “too big” or “too small.”
Every person who gets out of bed in morning has to challenge why they go to work, why they press through to the end of the day and why the organization they work for is worth the effort. As CEOs it is up to you maintain the spark, nurture the fire, and encourage commitment from every team member: your staff, your board, and especially yourself.
This is not a call to save the industry – this is call to make sure your organization is enriched by the commitments of the participants. For this reason, I wish Dearborn the best and hope they find contentment in their greener pastures.