Chartway is a consumer lending organization; as the individual markets are more saturated, the competition for one sale has become more intense. In 2007, we came to a realization that even the credit union industry has lost cohesion. Credit unions are competing with their brethren — opening branches across the street from one another to gain new business rather than serve the existing membership. For some, the cooperative spirit has deteriorated into “only if it doesn’t hurt us, then we’ll help”.
For 2008, we’ve increased our focus on our business model and differentiation. The ability to grow intelligently depends on both the price slope and cost slope. We’ve found that as products mature, the price slope is declining at a faster rate than the cost slope, leading to the interest rate squeeze.
The current environment is a wonderful opportunity for credit unions to step forward and provide credit with our excess liquidity. We are able to help people who have good credit but are in a bad situation. While the environment is negative, our marketing is positive.
Right now, no one wants to offer solutions. The solution is credit unions. Put us front and center from the legislative standpoint. We stay true to who we are and help people.