What has happened to the credit union movement? Why are credit unions not sharing best practices with each other? Have the layoffs on Wall Street and the major banks led the industry to bottom line, profit and loss thinking as they hire available bankers to their management teams? Don't get me wrong, we all manage to a P&L. But credit unions shouldn't be doing that at the expense of member service. I stand on my conviction that every former banker joining a credit union should be required to become a Certified Credit Union Development Educator. This will provide the foundation and history many of you understand because of your tenure in the movement.
Are credit unions getting away from the personal contact that built the movement? Jim Blaine, president/CEO of State Employees Credit Union, recently talked about the teller in just about every pocket and purse. It is not your checkbook. It is not your credit or debit card. It is your PDA or cell phone that can and will enable most members to access account information, pay bills, transfer funds, you name it. Is the technology we embrace taking a toll on the value of member interaction? Can you tell me the name of the man or woman at the drive-thru window or on the teller deck?
Tom Glatt, president of the new REALTORS Federal Credit Union, a completely virtual credit union, said building and sustaining a credit union today is regulated by three simple truths: fast, easy and cheap. Pick two. If you want it fast, it ain't cheap. If you want it cheap, it ain't easy. Tom certainly offered much more, but you get the point.
Remember the old adage, united we stand and divided we fall. Keep that in mind the next time you think about networking and building a cooperative business relationship.
--Thomas R. Greve