The Business Breakdown

Fees are causing a stir, and small companies are feeling more confident.


Recent financial news reflects the cautious tone experts are taking. The unrest (both domestic and international) continues, and oil prices are pinching wallets at gas pumps across America.

For credit unions, each development presents a chance to either reconfigure difficulty or fuel growth. Let’s start with small business.

  • Little Guys Feeling Strong: Small companies reported a confidence level of 94.5, according to the National Federation of Independent Business. Positive employment and sales outlooks fueled the rise. The Breakdown: Small businesses represent the perfect partners for credit unions. Credit unions can reinvest in the community and build the loan portfolio. Keep your foot on the lending gas and help confidence clear triple digits.
  • Fees Causing a Fuss: Debit card fees that banks collect from retailers are set to be lowered, but financial institutions aren’t going quietly in the face of potential lost revenue. The Breakdown: Credit unions have a window to market free checking as a distinct advantage of the cooperative system. I wrote about how to do so right here.
  • More for the Meals: Food prices are rising. Weather, which can ruin crops and drive down supply, is one possible culprit. The Breakdown: Expensive oil + expensive food = less money in members’ pockets. These two items are unavoidable, so people will be looking for other ways to save. Credit unions can help members by sitting down with them and looking at their financial health to generate money-saving ideas.
  • That Phone is Money: Some stores will soon let you pay with your phone and its near-field communication capabilities. All you would have to do is wave your phone over a payment terminal. The Breakdown: Credit unions have the chance to take stock of their mobile programs. Smartphones will only become more prevalent. Where does your credit union stand with mobile banking? How are you planning for the changing technological world?

There are many ideas and fluctuations in the news these days. Credit unions need to see each of them for what they are: a chance to rethink things.