It’s a Little Easier Being Green

The loan demand credit unions built during the recession is coming on strong in 2011. Now is the time to plant the seeds for members’ future business.



Are things starting to look more familiar, economically speaking? If so, it’s not your imagination.

We haven’t transported back to the boom years of early 2000, those excellent times before bird flu panic and Bieber fever, yet the Dow Jones industrial average, the S & P 500-stock index, and the Nasdaq composite index are all showing significant increase at month’s end, reports the New York Times. Unemployment is falling, auto sales are rebounding , and discretionary spending and the tech markets are sailing high. Things are going so well, a full second term of quantitative easing might be unnecessary, advises the Feds.

James Bullard, president of the St. Louis Fed recently told the Times, “we have to weigh those [factors] in the decision” on whether to stop the stimulus effort earlier than planned. “The economy is looking pretty good.”

And unlike the early 2000s, bitter memories of the economic standstill are making financial responsibility a priority for institutions and consumers alike. As your members prepare to pay the tax man this year, they will be able to clearly see a snapshot of their financial lives during the downturn. How many will be asking questions such as: “I pay almost a thousand dollars a year for cable but haven’t met my contribution goals for my IRA?” 

This might be the one time a year many consumers actually re-examine and reprioritize their financial lives. Why shouldn’t financial institutions do the same and drive members toward better choices during this introspective period?

When times are good, competitors emerge from the woodwork to clamor for your member’s dollar. Credit unions are eking closer to normal auto market share rates and are strategically growing in other areas, but they must compete with captive financers, third-party companies, and other imposing threats to your loan activity.

Now’s the prime time to sit members down and let them know exactly how much of their money is going to waste if they’re borrowing with an outside institution.