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LAS CROABAS, Puerto Rico – Stealing bank customers comes down to brand, place and culture, says Charlene Stern senior vice president of experience retail of NewGround Inc, a strategic planning/design/build firm. According to Stern, the credit union challenge is to offer a differentiated financial services experience that integrates “know-how” with sophisticated packaging for the future. “We believe financial services providers are in a retail business and compete everyday for share of mind and wallet,” said Stern. “The time is now for credit unions to have the competitive advantage-but banks are slowly learning.” Stern says in addition to deeper branding efforts, redefining the branch and the branch experience combined with a “member-centric” sales culture will help position the credit union image as one of service providers rather than “order takers”. Here is a list of Stern’s Top 10 mistakes made by the financial services industry: 1. Poor track record for change-by playing it safe you lose consumers 2. Competing mainly on price and decreasing differentiation 3. Lack of innovation 4. Ignoring the emotional needs in the consumer’s buying decision 5. No far-reaching strategic vision-sometimes instead of small steps a wholesale change is critical 6. Flawed “unit for sale” mentality 7. Lack of sales culture from the top down 8. False sense of progress and complacency 9. Technology investments driven by a cost-cutting paradigm 10. Misunderstood and undervalued retail – the branch and its staff [email protected]

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