Credit unions continually need to be changing and improving. In
no particular order, here are four things which I think most credit
unions should be considering right now.
1. Ramp up Political Action. There is no
way for us to protect the turf we have without knowing the Congress
and state legislatures would not dare take some of it away from
us. The only way to do this is to be the prevailing lobbyist.
The way I propose to do this is to seek $1 from every credit union
member. With this, we can lay claim to an effective lobbying effort.
We need more people to do the political work. We have to remind
politicians that we are very rich in members and that members cast
2. Get All Mortgages. We have to make it
a top priority to get the mortgage of every member. We have to go
after those mortgages, to buy them or persuade the member to switch,
in other words to do whatever it takes to get 100% of the mortgages
of our membership. We should be making mortgages the bedrock of
members' relationship with the credit union.
This doesn't mean forgetting about the members who don't have a
mortgage; our message to them is that by reeling in 100% of mortgages
we make the credit union stronger for everyone.
Fortunately, 1) people increasingly do not see mortgages as a lifelong
thing, and 2) technology is making it easier to help people switch
mortgages to a credit union. See the next point.
3. Vastly Improve Small Business Lending and Small Business
Accounts. Again, we need to acquire the expertise for
this; it has to be in our future. Every year more and more of our
members are small business people. Other members -- and non-members
-- are making new small businesses every day. We need to attract
them to the best servicing financial institution for small business,
namely credit unions.
4. Market a New Message. Here is what we
should be marketing: ''We are the country's best kept secret,
and you can join.''
For too long, we let on that credit unions were exclusive, that
only certain people (fortunate ones) could join. We have to reverse
this entirely. We have to say that we are not exclusive any more,
that the barriers to membership are very low. We have to say that
these days, it is not the fortunate person who can join but that
nearly anyone can, that it is the rare person who cannot.
We should be doing these things now. They will make your credit
union stronger. They will make the movement stronger.