Steady as They Go

As the recession's grip loosens, companies move forward or back. Credit unions can learn from both outcomes.


In the wake of adversity, it’s informative to see how the landscape has changed. Some companies, as we saw in the case of Blockbuster, have trouble adapting to competition and pay the price of reduced viability. Others, such as the now-merged Sears and Kmart, join forces in the hopes of progress but lose sight of what they do well. Let’s take a look at a few other companies whose arrows are pointing up or down as the economy rolls forward.

  • Borders just filed for bankruptcy. Because of late adoption and an inability to spar with competition, the chain is closing almost one-third of its stores. Seems like the less nimble a company is, the more susceptible to danger it becomes.
  • Two major airlines are raising fares on popular business routes. Does the decision make sense in a time when some are still skittish with money?
  • GM paid back its debt to the government, and now it’s rewarding hourly employees with bonuses. Looks like a sound decision on all ends. But is it too early to celebrate the return of fortune?

All three of these companies are encountering different decisions. One has fallen on difficulty; the other two seem to be doing well and capitalizing on new opportunities to build equity in one way or another. What can credit unions learn? First, never be last in line to change. Second, make pricing decisions wisely. Third, remember the people who got you to where you are.

Credit unions can benefit immensely from benchmarking against peers, but there are valuable lessons in other lines of business too.


Feb. 16, 2011



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