Do the Right Thing to Avoid Regrets: Editor/Publisher's Column
At the time I received the job offer from Credit Union Times in 2000 I had also gotten an offer from a credit union marketing department. This popped in my head recently for some reason. I’d almost forgotten. I pondered how my life and career might be different if I had made a different choice. Either would have been great, but I made the right choice for me at the time.
Because I was considering different angles for my column, I was led to consider what credit unions could do to keep the what-might-have-beens at bay. Here’s my list of what you’re missing out on if...
…You’re not in mobile banking.
According to a recent study by the American Bankers Association, online banking was the most used banking outlet for customers, with 39% preferring it to other methods. Branch usage dropped to merely 18% of customers, down from 25% the prior year. ATMs were down slightly to 12%. Mobile banking was dead last at just 6% usage. The difference is mobile banking is growing, doubling from the prior year.
Even small and low-income credit unions can offer mobile banking by partnering with their trade associations or business partners. In fact, a higher proportion of the underbanked have mobile and smart phones than do consumers in general. It’s an easy way for credit unions to reach out and touch them–and their $1 trillion in annual income.
…You’re not re-examining your lending guidelines.
We’re bursting with excitement to announce our 2013 Trailblazer awards winners in our next issue. Here’s a little sneak peek into the Credit Union Times 2013 Trailblazer for Service to the Underserved. This credit union, with fewer than $100 million in assets, has customized its loan underwriting standards to meet its low-income members’ needs and abilities while generating assets for the credit union. If this credit union can do it, so can others that are willing.
…You’re not keeping up on collections.
Related to lending guidelines, collections are important to any lender and should not be swept by the wayside because that member is a good guy or gal. They also shouldn’t be ignored. Some credit union professionals believe that collections are a bad word in credit unions because you’re the good guys. Collections need to be handled professionally and not in a badgering manner, but the credit union owes it to every other member of the credit union to pursue collections.
…You’re not outsourcing.
Partner with other companies in areas where your credit union can’t possibly keep up. Make sure you pick one that meshes with your culture and you trust, but you can’t handle everything in house efficiently and effectively.
...You’re not planning for the future.
Last week, I wrote about board succession planning, but perhaps more important is executive succession planning. Small credit unions and others must stop bemoaning the loss of small credit unions, many due to lack of succession planning, and do something about it. If these credit unions truly don’t have the time to think about their future, they shouldn’t expect to stay in business.
…You’re not keeping up on compliance.
I’ve been truly astounded recently to learn of some very large credit unions that do not have someone overseeing compliance. With all that’s coming out of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, the NCUA and other relevant regulators, it’s difficult to imagine comprehensive compliance across credit unions’ various departments without someone coordinating it. Perhaps this is something to outsource.
…You’re not involved in social media.
Social media can be a powerful tool for information sharing. It’s content marketing with attention deficit disorder. But when you catch a member or potential member just right, you can really hold their attention and engage with them. Similar to branding, your credit union must be in front of the member all of the time so you can hit them at the right time.
For example, someone is on Twitter conversing about buying a car, your marketing department could respond by tweeting back to them, including a link to a blog post on your website about what to consider in choosing an auto lender. Of course, on this blog post is an ad unit for your latest rates linking to your loan page with a loan application right there on your site.
…You’re not tactful.
Devin Selte, senior relationship manager at Servus Credit Union, recently posted an entry on the 2CUGuys blog looking back on a situation in which he lost his cool at work. Those who tend to be hotheaded must take his point to heart, or a career might be what you miss out on.