The Business Breakdown

Callahan's weekly look at the economic headlines that highlight credit union challenges and opportunities.


Credit union professionals are primed to maximize the cooperative only when armed with the best information. Keeping tabs on daily developments in the business world can be difficult when you’re trying to manage staff, roll out a new lending initiative, or analyze product profitability. 

So, from here on out, I’ll offer a weekly look at prominent business headlines and tell you what the biggest stories mean for credit unions. I’m open to feedback about the content, format, and delivery, so feel free to weigh in down in the comments section. Here we go.

  • Foreclosure sale numbers reach 26%. According to CNNMoney, as prices on homes have fallen, sales have risen. This is partly because of the prevalence of foreclosed properties. The Breakdown: A significant number of homebuyers are still having trouble managing their mortgages. Refinancing might be a viable solution, so see if you can detect who’s struggling and help them get a leg up.
  • Experian adds rental history. In the hopes of helping young people build credit, credit agency Experian is adding rental payment history to its credit files, the Los Angeles Times reported on Wednesday. The Breakdown: If you offer credit seminars for younger members, pass this news on to them. If you don’t offer credit seminars, you might want to consider it. The sooner your younger members build good credit, the better off they’ll be.
  • Small business still needs dough. According to Businessweek, small businesses are caught between late customer payments and hasty supplier demands in the wake of the recession. The Breakdown: Credit unions can bridge the gap with member business loans and keep small community stalwarts plugging into the future.
  • Turmoil abounds, but the economy is stronger now. The Washington Post is reporting on a leading economist’s line of thinking. He acknowledges the problems with rising oil prices and international conflict but thinks the economy is better equipped to handle the issues. The Breakdown: Credit unions need to think of ways to propagate the recovery. Educate members about ways to save and spend wiser. Inject credit into the community. Invest in social capital through participating in events at you SEGs.

The news this week reflects the teetering nature of the overall economy. There are signs pointing directly up, yet there is a collective hesitance to claim victory in light of the fight we’ve been through. Despite the murky news, there’s no reason to hesitate in terms of crafting solutions that benefit members and the community.