DES MOINES -- Hoping to create membership gains for Iowa credit unions, the Iowa Credit Union League is working on financial analyses and concrete business plans this September for CUs to consider resulting from last year's growth commission.
"At a time when credit union membership growth in Iowa is generally stagnant, credit union members are aging, competition is increasing, margins are shrinking, and new markets are emerging, the growth commission recognized the need to focus on strategic, innovative and collaborative ways to serve Iowans in the future," said a league press release.
Composed of 23 Iowa credit union leaders, the growth commission "spent more than six months reviewing research and discussing the future of the credit union movement," said the league.
Their meetings, facilitated by John Lass, senior vice president/product development of CUNA Mutual Group, "ultimately led to the identification of five key areas" where member growth can be stimulated, said the league.
These areas include back office, human resources and marketing plus mobile banking and virtual banking.
League officials said a financial analysis in September would determine the most viable solutions and chart business and product plans that can go forward.
Serving as co-chair of the growth commission were: Jean Hoeger, president/CEO of Alliant CU, Dubuque and Mark Heth, president/CEO of Iowa Community CU, Waterloo.
The league noted that as part of its emphasis on member expansion it created a new position in 2007, director of credit union growth hiring James Niederhauser, former president/ CEO of Premier CU, Des Moines.
Niederhauser said a league team over the ensuing months will be working with members of the growth commission to determine optimal solutions for increasing member growth.
"The key word is collaboration," he said.
In a press release, the league also noted that it has created several subsidiary companies that are focused on helping credit unions grow, including a community business lenders CUSO. In 2006, the league launched Coopera Consulting, an Iowa based agency that helps CUs reach out to emerging markets.