Editor's Note: CURE (Credit Union Retired Executives), a resource for free, confidential management advice, is offering Credit Union Journal readers a glimpse into its with "Advice from the Brain Trust." CURE selects from among its user questions and publish the advice that was offered in response. CURE responses are put together by the group's think tank of retired credit union leaders.
Q: A CFO asks, are the downturn and change over now? Can we get back to "normal" routines?
A. The bottom line is, as Yogi Berra famously said, "It's not over 'til it's over." What's different is that in today's economy, when we emerge from the recession, we will emerge with a different "normal."
Even though we as credit unions were not part of the problem, the changes being proposed and the changes that are implemented will affect all of us — even if only as collateral damage. In reality, we run small businesses, while serving our members and other small businesses. Everything affecting our members (whether health care, employment, or housing), small businesses, card issuers, the secondary market, and numerous others will all in some way impact how we operate in the future-and, in most cases, these effects will again be collateral damage.
To make it to the new "normal" successfully, we have to operate as efficiently as possible, consolidate when and where necessary, stay involved and vigilant so that you're aware of changes as they happen, make our concerns heard, and continue to concentrate on the needs of our members. We are not big enough financially to play a major role in the outcome, but we are big when it comes to our members. Through them, we can influence our future, but it all starts with efficiency, economies of scale, and focus on how we can best serve our members.
We can't steer the economic ship, but we can certainly do our part to adjust the sails. By taking care of our own, we can influence the direction. To ensure the best future for us all, we must stay strong, vigilant, and focused.