Hanley: Focus on Maintaining Members Is the Way to Grow
Rudy Hanley, president/CEO of SchoolsFirst Credit Union, formerly Orange County Teachers Federal Credit Union, presented to CUNA's America's Credit Union Conference and Expo attendees on successful growth strategies in the industry.
"Membership growth has not done so well over the years," Hanley said. "But you can have a lot of members with a small asset base and not be successful."
Hanley cited challenges for growth that credit unions face saying that over the years the competition has picked up on the advantages that credit unions used to have. Hanley also said credit union names have changed over the years while they used to clearly describe and state who they served.
"At one time banks couldn't compete with us, but that's all gone away. People don't have the same incentive to join a credit union as they did before," Hanley said.
Hanley said that what credit unions do still have is the credit union philosophy. He listed price, service quality, convenience, features and ease of use as products that credit unions can use to serve members, but he cautioned attendees that all these products except for service quality will be compared in the marketplace and credit unions will be outdone.
"When you lose that membership trust and philosophy you lose everything in my opinion," Hanley said. The mentality is seeping into board members that its profit and growth and they are thinking like for-profits rather than thinking about serving members."
Hanley also said that credit unions encounter problems when they try to do too many things at once. While he agreed that Gen Y needs to be served by credit unions, the underserved provide a great opportunity for membership for credit unions and that credit unions should look into offering retirement services he said that credit unions should not try to offer all these services at once.
"If we believe in member service then we're going have to make sacrifices and not offer products we can't back up with member service," Hanley said. "Don't get into all these products at once, pick one to focus on because otherwise you'll be spending a lot of money with very little results."
Hanley also said that how many members you bring in is not as important as how many members you lose and that it's keeping members for the long-term that is going to bring a credit union success.
"They'll be members living in Africa that stay members because they love the services you provide," Hanley said.