A Wake-Up Call In 2017?

The year of the monkey is in the books. Say hello to the year of the rooster.

 
 

Growing up, I loved perusing the placemat at the local Chinese restaurant to check out the animal signs of those closest to me. I’m a goat, my sister is a dragon, and my mom and dad are both snakes. It occurred to me during a recent restaurant visit that I hadn’t looked at that mysterious mat for years. And when I did, it was with different years in mind. I looked for the years of my children — rabbit, dragon, and horse — as well as my husband. He’s a goat, like me; however, neither of us is mild-mannered, shy, or delicate. Maybe the Chinese Zodiac has us confused with other people.

During this dinner, it was with interest that I noted 2016 was the year of the monkey. And 2017 is the year of the rooster. So, will the New Year bring a wake-up call?

In at least one way, it seems, we could use one.

If you looked at the cover of this quarter’s Credit Union Strategy & Performance, you might have noted the number of middle-income households has shrunk in nearly 89% of 220 metropolitan areas. That’s according to Pew Research Center data for the years 2000 to 2014. By comparison, the share of those living in lower-income households climbed in nearly 70% of metro areas, and those living in higher-income households increased in more than 75%.

Seeing the share moving into the higher bracket is something to celebrate, but that celebration can’t come at the expense of ignoring those dropping into a lower socioeconomic status.

Luckily, credit unions are fighting back via educational efforts and financial products and services aimed at helping members make smarter decisions. Callahan partner Jay Johnson discusses some of these individual initiatives as well as the third quarter performance of credit unions nationwide in this quarter’s Industry Performance.

And when it comes to homeownership — the classic telltale of the American Dream — credit unions across the country are providing programs to turn that dream into a reality. Learn more from the articles in our Ideas In Action section: "Make Home-Buying Education A Celebration," "Home Ownership Trends In The United States," "Make A WISH. Buy A Home.," and "The House That Plastic Built."

For the city of Detroit, the American Dream rose and fell with the auto industry. When the Great Recession hit, incomes fell, the auto industry teetered on the edge of collapse, and the city filed Chapter 9 bankruptcy. Despite this grim recent history, at least one area financial institution has emerged with a bright future. OUR Credit Union has embraced three principal strategies to achieve sound financial footing: a back-tobasics approach to banking, continued support for its brick-and-mortar, and a forward-thinking approach to the future of the industry and institution. Learn more in "Anatomy Of OUR Credit Union."

Finally, in this quarter’s TECHNOLOGY@CU, learn about the many ways credit union core processing will evolve in the coming years. If you’re considering a conversion in 2017, be sure to check out “Numbers Matter When It Comes To Evaluating Tech Relationships” and “3 Ways To Identify Core A-Players.” These pieces will help narrow the field of choices. To learn why, generally, a narrowed field of options with clearer distinctions is important, don’t miss the latest installment of Diversions, “Speed Dating, McDonald’s, And Credit Union Products.”

Happy Reading. And Happy New Year.

Everything You Want To Know About 3Q 2016 Data

Callahan’s Credit Union Strategy & Performance is one of the top strategy-oriented publication in the credit union industry. In addition to a financial snapshot, in our third quarter 2016 issue, Callahan’s editorial team looks ahead to 2017, considers mortgage lending for the modern age, makes core processing a core competency, and asks if streamlining options can benefit both credit unions and their members.

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Dec. 1, 2016


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