Growth Is The One Thing Your CU Just Can't Put On Hold

Random thoughts while on-hold trying to make a room reservation for CUNA's 2008 Governmental Affairs Conference, and having this conversation:

Me: I need a room for CUNA's GAC.

Phone Agent: Certainly sir, but most of the rooms are sold out.

Me: But the lines didn't open until 2:00 p.m., and it's 2:01 now.

Agent: You shouldn't have wasted so much time. Let me see what we have, sir...

* While the talk at CUNA's GAC will be all about lobbying and Washington and Congress and PACs, a lot of the self-congratulatory stuff that comes from the podium at that meeting is really starting to miss the point. Two-thousand-eight will mark the 10th anniversary of the landmark signing of the Credit Union Membership Access Act, which I'm guessing may be mentioned once or twice or a thousand times during GAC. And that's great-it was an extraordinary high point for CUs that should never be forgotten and deserves to be toasted each ear. But the real dilemma for credit unions is this: in 2008, the CU community needs a lot less attention to 1998 and a whole lot more attention to 2018. It's great, after all, to have a Credit Union House in D.C., but the House of Credit Unions could use a little home equity loan itself for some much-needed repairs and room additions-and you know how hard home improvements can be.

Growth at credit unions has been flat, and ROA sliding. That's why the Credit Union Journal is delighted to announce we will be hosting our first-ever Grow Show in 2008. As the name implies, growth is precisely what this show will be all about. Assets. Membership. ROA. Non-interest income. Interest income. Investments. Member satisfaction, and more. As we note elsewhere in this issue, there will be no famous keynoters. No golf tournament. Just growth, growth, growth.

We'll be unveiling the line-up of speakers and presenters soon, but for now we want to make sure you save the dates: April 27-29 at the ChampionsGate Resort in Orlando. We promise you'll find three days interactive exchange and learning about successful growth strategies from peers who have led the way. We will be drawing upon many of the credit unions that are peer group leaders and which are featured every week in this newspaper.

One other important note: for the past eight years the Credit Union Journal has hosted a very successful Business Development & SEG Conference aimed at recruiting, retraining and better penetrating new members. Have no fear, as that conference will live on as a track within the Grow Show.

We know you have many meetings to choose from in 2008; make sure you're part of a conference that delivers ROI on those registration fees - the Journal's Grow Show.

Agent: Hmmm. Well, the Marriott and the Hyatt are sold out. Wait a minute-we may have something at the Hilton?

Me: The Washington Hilton?

Agent: No...(snickers)...Paris Hilton. Rumor has it she's always open...(snickers) Sorry, sir, just a little phone agent humor there. Overheard this advice recently from an expert who has years of experience in serving commercial clients at a bank that is worthy of note by credit unions in business services: "When you talk about segmenting small business, there are a lot of ways to do that. The fundamental point of separation is that when the owner of the business is making the decisions, it behaves a lot like a retail customer. When the decisions are being made by a set of executives, it takes on a different method of operating. Sales size is not the point of differentiation."

Agent: Just a minute, sir. I think I've found you a room for GAC in Washington.

Me: D.C.?

Agent: No, sir. State. But there's a shuttle bus.

Frank J. Diekmann is Publisher of The Credit Union Journal and can be reached at fdiekmann<at>cujournal.com. (c) 2007 The Credit Union Journal and SourceMedia, Inc. All Rights Reserved. http://www.cujournal.com http://www.sourcemedia.com