BofA announced that it will not begin charging the $5 per month fee for using debit cards. I heard on the news this morning that the consumer won a big battle. Good for us! But good the credit union movement?
Yes, I believe consumers are better off with a credit union than a bank. But if we allow the banks to create our mantra (no big fees here), then are we really the masters of our own destiny? Is that what we want the average Joe and Jane who know little about us to understand? That we just don’t charge the big fees like the big banks? Is that enough reason to change financial institutions? I don’t think that has enough oomph.
The question is as it always has been, what differentiates credit unions from banks? Why us and not them?
I have challenged my own staff that 2011 would be the year of doing our jobs plus. What’s the plus? It can be many things.
Ask for the business. We are far too polite too many times. What we offer is great, so ask for the business.
Deepen the relationship. We know our members well. We probably know their children, their activities and where they live. Offering personalized solutions that will help them save more money, make more money, save them time and protect their assets can have a lasting impact.
All fronts involved. It’s no longer about front office vs. the back office. My deposit operations staff interacts with members all the time. They can help build deeper relationships by simply asking a few simple questions after the initial transaction.
Question the process. Challenge the status quo and find efficiencies everywhere. Look at your daily work from a different angle and find ways to improve. Communicate with others what you know to help them become better at what they know. If there is a better way to do something, do it.
Leverage our technology. We have invested hundreds of thousands of dollars into great technology. Squeeze every drop of that investment out to serve our members better. Hold our vendors accountable. Hold each other accountable to make the most of our tools.
We are the difference in the credit union movement. Our shops offer the same or similar products and services as most every other bank. But we have something they don’t. We have us. We need to become more knowledgeable, more tenacious in finding solutions, more passionate about helping others and more proud of how we serve our communities. This is the credit union difference.
It’s not about fees.
VP Member Services
Fort Wayne, Ind.