Large banks may be in survival mode now, but "once they get their TARP funds back" these competitors will become more challenging than ever to credit unions, and this means the industry better take advantage of the current economic climate with more urgency, former NCUA chairman Dennis Dollar warned California/Nevada CU leaders late Friday.
In a featured speech to the annual FOCUS 2010 EduConference of the California/Nevada Credit Union League, Dollar urged CUs to "seize the mantle of consumerism rather than cocooning away awaiting the fog to clear."
The fact is, he said, once conditions stabilize and banks get back on track, they "will begin to focus on the marketplace again, rather than mere survival."
When they do, competition will stiffen, and banks "are going to be larger, consolidated and leaner in their expenses," warned Dollar in a speech at the Monterey meeting.
"Credit unions need to build growth momentum during the next 18 to 24 months that can sustain itself when the banks get back to the banking business," he said. "If credit unions closet themselves away until the fog clears, they will find the fog has cleared for the competition as well. Turn on your lights and press on through the fog-carefully and with planning, but keep moving."
Opportunities such as now "where the competition is forced to focus elsewhere for a few years do not come along often," he concluded.