Credit unions have managed through 20 recessions in their 100 years of existence and are flush with opportunities to help them through this one, CUNA Mutual Group Chief Economist Dave Colby recently told industry leaders.
Speaking at the Mountain Regional Credit Union roundtable today, Colby told the 100 attendees that a down economy should be uses as an opportunity, not an excuse.
"Use uncertainty as an advantage. Many consumers have been hurt during the recession and are looking for someone local, who they can trust. Credit unions' key differentiators over at least the next couple of years will be trust and community."
From a lending standpoint, members are looking for guidance and credit with reasonable terms, Colby said. He advocated a number of ways to leverage those needs by re-writing consumer loans from other institutions, helping members identify great bargains on homes or vehicles and providing an alternative for those who are struggling with onerous terms from other lenders.
Existing members should also be aware that credit unions provide things like financial literacy assistance and direct deposit, Colby said.
Colby cautioned credit union leaders not to focus too much on the current challenges and ignore the future. "Don't neglect strategic planning. You need to prepare now for the path you will pursue in serving your future membership."