Big Changes. Bigger Successes.

An economy that is bubbling to life makes big changes and financial successes easier to come by.


The expansive U.S. economy includes moving parts that range from trucks that transport goods and merchandise to cranes that lift beams to fashion the buildings in which we work and live. The physical structure that supports the economy is essential, no doubt, but just as significant are the softer metrics of the economy. Consumer spending is critical, for example, because it is a harbinger of the attitude of the American people. In March, merchants enjoyed an unexpected bump in retail spending when, despite forecasts to the contrary, it climbed 1.7%. Existing homes sales in February rose for the sixth time in the past eight months, reports USA Today. "At this point, we're likely to see a steady improvement in sales," said economist Joel Naroff in an April 21 article. And what about jobs? The same issue of USA Today reported on more than a few tech companies that are on the "biggest hiring binge in more than a decade."

The changes reflect the underlying positivity in today’s environment despite high gas prices and conflicts around the world.

Things are looking up in the big picture, but smaller economies are flourishing, too. In the hard-hit Sand State of California, North Island Credit Union ($1.1B, San Diego, CA) bounced back from the recession with first quarter 2011 income of $10.7 million. The confluence of accounting adjustments, reduced costs, staff realignment, revised fees, and a watchful eye on the net interest margin have helped propel North Island back toward success, says CEO John Tippets. The credit union is an excellent example of what it takes to translate macroeconomic trends into microeconomic successes.

This week, we wanted to give you an edge in your community. It starts with leadership, so take a look at Part 4 of our "15 Ratios Every Board Member Should Know" series. Your Board members will be elated to see everything they need to know about finances condensed into easy-to-digest segments. Look for Part 5, the final installment, next week. And because spring is in the air, we're offering best practices about a locally focused technique that is sure to close mortgages at your credit union. Read more about how to develop realtor relationships in your community today.

Now that the economy is stabilizing at all levels, it’s time to look for places you can turn out strong performances for your members, your colleagues, and your community.