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Sarah Snell Cooke

Think about McDonald’s. It sells highly standardized food, with a few geographic exceptions, and provides the customer a consistent experience. It’s huge; today it has more than 35,000 restaurants serving 70 million people a day in more than 100 countries.

Its branding is phenomenal and worldwide and incredibly expensive. McDonald’s earned $5.59 billion in net income.

Take the average credit union at $171 million and average net income of 80 basis points, equals $1.4 million. America’s cooperatives are unwilling to work together on a strong national awareness campaign, which could actually have a super-sized impact. McDonald’s is only able to successfully run its business model because of its scale and its relationships with its business partners. Yet, most credit unions are attempting to operate on a business model of highly standardized products and consistent member experience without the massive cooperative and marketing efforts that McDonald’s is able to effectuate. And, credit unions compete on price almost exclusively for the highest-grade borrowers.

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