The Business Breakdown

Jobs numbers, spending, and Facebook mean something to credit unions during the week of April 4.

 
 

Spring is rolling along, and, here in Washington, rain is nourishing the flowers that will hopefully pop up in May. The economy has seen its fair share of storms in the past few years, but the clouds seem to be parting there, too. Key indicators are trending upward, and though the occasional thunderhead still looms, the growth pattern is stabilizing.

This week, new numbers and reports fueled the news. Let’s see what it all means for credit unions.

  • Up and down: Businesses added more than 200,000 jobs in March, and the unemployment rate (8.8%) hit a new low in the post-recession world. The Breakdown: The employment market appears to be rebounding, and it’s not breaking news to say that’s a significant development. But don’t take it as license to rest. There are members that are either un- or underemployed. Brainstorm ways to save them money or find employment. Host networking events at the credit union. There's an idea.
  • Spend Time to Help: Consumer spending rose 0.7% in February, but the increase isn’t all that exciting. Experts think most of the change was made to counter rising prices on essential goods. The Breakdown: Members are seeing the things they need every day (gas, food) become more expensive. Why don’t you ask them about their entire financial picture? Maybe they have a car loan at another institution that offers a rate you can beat. They’d definitely appreciate the savings.
  • Start Me Up: If you’re looking to start a business, these six states are a great place to……start. The Breakdown: Try and understand why these states are so conducive to small business owners. If you operate in one of these places, use what you learn here to strengthen small business relationships you already have in your community.  If you don’t, maybe you can steal some best practices and try to bring them into your area to generate excitement in the local business community.
  • Fantastic Fan Pages: A Facebook page isn’t just an iron in the fire for these 20 businesses. It's an integral part of connecting with customers. The Breakdown: By now, your credit union should be on Facebook. And Twitter too. Today, the key is to understand what makes for a vibrant page that generates a community of interested members and employees. Take a look at what makes these pages work and apply it to your own.