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It’s only fitting for CU Times’ “Disruptive Innovation” issue that we underscore the importance of what we call “market invention.” That is, in order for credit unions to truly move ahead, they must move apart from their competition by defining new strategies and business models. Market invention is not a radical new concept in the credit union industry, but rather it’s how the credit union movement began.

In the mid-19th century, Herman Schulze-Delitzsch and Friedrich Raiffeisen saw a problem with the banking industry in Germany. They wanted a more democratic structure that was member owned – not just profit based. With this new model in mind, they invented a completely new market for banking, which would eventually become the modern-day credit union. The credit union cooperative approach to banking was one of the biggest market inventions in its day. More than 150 years later, it is crucial for credit unions to continue to invent new markets to support their members, stay relevant in the 21st century, and compete with community and national banks.

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