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Which is better: the everyday value, or the big flashy sale?

I recently heard a local discount retailer being interviewed about the fact that his store specifically does not offer special deals on Black Friday. His argument: his store offers outstanding, low prices every day, all year long. To offer even bigger discounts on Black Friday, he said, would require him to raise prices the rest of the year. He would rather offer better everyday value.

This reminded me of “The Great Dividend Debate.” Because it’s also annual bonus season. And even as a number of CUs have already released splashy statements about how much money they are giving back this year, there are some who would suggest that local discount retailer I mentioned has the right idea: focus on everyday value.

Because, they say, if a CU has excess funds left over at the end of the year that could mean it has been overcharging its members the whole rest of the year.

But while it may well be impossible for a for-profit retailer to slash prices on Black Friday without raising prices the rest of the year—credit unions pride themselves on being different.

Moreover, the big splashy moment doesn’t have to be an actual dividend—a number of credit unions have already taken to making big splashy announcements about how much money they’ve saved their members all year long.

At industry conferences, executives spend a lot of time talking about the CU difference — but how often are they communicating that to their members, most of whom probably don’t even know what a credit union is?

This is why it’s not enough to offer everyday value—you’ve also got to have some flash.

Editor in Chief Lisa Freeman can be reached at lisa.freeman@sourcemedia.com.

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