Grow or die.
I had initially written that those three words are the fundamental mantra of business known to every credit union leader, not to mention business school undergrad, but then I hit the delete key. Not everyone practices the fundamentals. Credit unions merge for many reasons, chief among them that they are simply not growing. (Two stagnant CUs, by the way, when merged are just one larger, stagnant credit CU, although the numbers look good for a while.)
Now in the display window of the Be Careful What You Ask For Department Store is the community-chartered credit union. Credit unions pressed hard for powers to expand beyond single sponsors or a limited geography, and have largely been granted those powers. And what happened when credit unions threw open those doors and awaited the impending crowds? Consumers yawned. Folks drove by the big "We Can Serve You Now" sign on the way to their bank. SEG reps in various companies sighed, "I guess they don't love us anymore."
It's a challenging market. We believe we can help. Just give us a day and half and we'll give you dozens of ideas and strategies for attracting new members, retaining the members you have, and getting more walletshare from everyone.
For the eighth year the Credit Union Journal is preparing to host its very popular and successful Business Development & SEG Conference in Boston on April 12-13. (As a very special pre-conference event, we've also put together "A Night at the Museum:" details are at right.) This meeting focuses solely on growth and the membership challenges noted above.
Presenters are a mix of industry experts who have worked with dozens of credit unions and CU practitioners themselves sharing their own strategies for effectively growing.
Among those you'll hear from this year are:
Paul Lucas, known to many for his entertaining presentations and very successful work in marketing and rebranding credit unions, who will share "Postcards from Growthville, USA."
* George Waggoner of Hanscom CU who, in a twist, will present to the CU Journal conference how he took home ideas from a previous CU Journal Business Development conference and put them into practice at his credit union.
* Kelly Parks of Call FCU will share some of the secrets of that CU's amazingly successful "Be the Office Hero" program.
* Pete McGuire of CUNA Mutual Group will examine how a basic product-insurance-is being used by CUs to deepen member relationships.
* Bert Bryan of CU Business Capital, LLC, will explore the extraordinary potential of business services.
* Bill Handel of Raddon Financial Group, who will probe how "member loyalty distinguishes high-performing credit unions."
* Wade Lagrone, who will talk about what ZOPA means to CUs. What's a ZOPA? You'll want to be sure you're there to find out.
* Chris Braccia, who will open Harland's vault of expertise in member development.
In between there will be lots of opportunity for questions and interaction and notebooks full of strategies to take back to the credit union. You'll find more details at www.cujournal.com.
We look forward to helping drive growth at your credit union. Of course, you don't have to grow. But as a courtesy you should at least start getting your affairs in order.