There is no playbook for parenting. One of the newer challenges I've experienced as my daughter nears her sixth birthday is allowing her to take appropriate risks, letting her experience life and its failures and challenges, and knowing when to step in and just protect the little girl that she is. On a recent vacation, she was practicing jumping off a dock into Lake Michigan. She looked so little on the dock and as she got nervous, my instinct was to just suggest we run right back to the sand. The right thing to do in this low-risk situation, in which she wore a life vest, was to let her take a jump. She loved it and eventually went from sliding off the dock hesitantly to taking a running jump.

Noninterest income generation can be a similarly important conundrum for credit unions to master. Decreased loan demand, increased competition and stricter regulations have made revenue generation challenging – and more important than ever. Between 2000 and 2016, average noninterest income for all credit unions rose from 91 to 131 basis points. Today it keeps credit unions afloat.

NII is particularly important because, unlike income from loans and investments, it usually does not depend on capital for its creation, nor does it put capital at risk in its implementation. In his study "Credit Union Strategic Growth and Budgeting," Filene researcher Mike Higgins called NII that is not directly tied to an asset pure oxygen. "It goes straight to the bottom line and does not harm the capital ratio; it enhances it. This is why noninterest income is so vital to credit unions," he wrote.

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