SAN FRANCISCO — Loan growth, compliance concerns and the impact of interchange legislation dominated a Hot Topics open forum at the MAC 2011 Annual Conference.
Many of the attendees have been active with Connectforthecause.org, an advocacy network for credit unions by credit unions, and sending letters to legislators but faced a few challenges extending the push to members.
“I don’t know if it’s an apathy or ignorance of how the Durbin Amendment will not only impact their credit union or them personally, but a lot of members just don’t understand the whole interchange subject,” one marketer said at the Wednesday forum. “There’s so much doubt surrounding whether it will be delayed or not it’s hard to quantify the actual impact, so there’s a wait and see in exploring other revenue streams to replace it.”
Participants also discussed the challenges and opportunity in loan growth as many credit unions are faced with fighting the cascade of payoffs. Successful loan efforts shared ranged from developing new products such as energy efficient loans and shifting the focus from home equity to credit card balance transfers, to increasing credit limits and setting reasonable expectations with targeted pre-approved offers.
When the discussion shifted to voicing their biggest concerns about the industry, many shared their concerns with the NCUA’s recent “heavy-handed” tactics.
“The economy, coupled with the NCUA assessments that further exacerbates a challenging situation, is creating this perfect storm where in the next five to 10 years, the small, medium and even some large credit unions won’t survive and only the healthiest/largest credit unions will survive,” said one marketer.
Another added that he was worried that “rather than looking at the credit union business as a sustainable model over the long term, the industry will go for short-term numbers and flame out.”