The perfect pairing: Links between the wine industry and credit unions

Over the years, when I have asked people what kind of wine they like, most respond with answers such as “Cabernet” or “Chardonnay”. When asking credit unions what makes them different versus other financial institutions, they often respond with, “better rates”, “lower fees”, and “commitment to our members”. You might be wondering what wine has […]

Embracing the credit union difference: A closer look at where it shines

There has been a lot of conversation lately about the credit union difference, with some arguing that what we as credit unions hang our hat on, doesn’t stand out much from other mainstream financial institutions. I refuse to agree with this rising chorus. I’m not afraid to admit that I’m a credit union enthusiast (geek). […]

The Credit Union Difference: Good, better and best

I’ve spent my thirty-eight-year credit union career articulating the Credit Union Difference. Whether through marketing communication as a past VP of Marketing or knocking on doors as a VP of Business Development, community development evangelist, writer or speaker, volunteer “hike the hill” political advocate or as a consultant pointing the way on how credit unions […]

Purposely pivot and prosper

Seeing smaller credit unions merge frustrates me. I believe a majority of mergers could be avoided if credit union leadership had decided to strategically pivot at the right time. Of course, there are mergers that happen because of succession challenges. And unfortunately, I feel there are too many mergers used as a retirement strategy (bad […]

Credit Unions Watering Family Trees

Comments from a panelist at the recent CUNA Governmental Affairs Conference provided the inspiration of this article. During the Inclusiv’ Juntos Avanzamos (Together We Advance) Forum I was privileged to listen to Eva Gomez, Board Member at Premier America Credit Union. Eva shared her family’s story and connected it to the inspiring work her credit […]

What does it mean to be part of your team

I was blessed to facilitate forty strategic planning meetings in 2022, and in those sessions spent more time discussing human resource challenges and opportunities than any other topic. For good reason—successful strategies have always begun and ended with people. But times are changing. Credit union leaders find themselves in a very different human resource climate, […]

Global collaboration, inclusion and impact

Cooperation among international credit unions is important to the strength, sustainability and global impact of the credit union movement. A great example of this, and it is only one of many, is the relationship with UK and US credit unions and their associations. Expanding financial inclusion For the past 10 years, ABCUL and Inclusiv have […]

The housing blues — One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer

I don’t drink, but I’ve enjoyed the classic blues song, “One Bourbon, One Scotch, and One Beer,” for as long as I can remember. In 1977, George Thorogood sang a compelling story about a man who lost his job. Unable to pay his rent and thrown out by his landlady, he tries and fails to […]

Break the ties that bind you

These days it is hard to avoid trade articles or hear watercooler conversations about mergers and the shrinking pool of smaller credit unions. There is a growing consensus that small credit unions just can’t survive the competitive road ahead. When I hear or read about these conversations, I’m reminded of credit unions past, that could […]

CDFI, DEI, OTP – an alphabet of hope and concern

The 2022 CDFI CORE funding round just closed. So, anything related to CDFI is top of mind for our team right now. Like anyone involved in the CDFI space, this was a record-breaking year. More certification and more grant applications than ever before. This increased awareness and participation is exciting! But this ramped up output […]

Credit unions and the aggregation of marginal gains

As a strategic planning consultant, I’m always proselytizing the pursuit and achievement of a big vision and goals. I am a believer that we are capable, individually, collectively and as organizations, of doing hard things and achieving big audacious goals. I see it happen all the time. It’s essential to have a clear and robust […]

Small credit union lenders – kicking ass and taking names

According to CUNA Mutual’s Credit Union Trends Report – December 2021, credit union consumer loan growth peaked at 10.5 percent in 2016. It has decreased annually since then, reaching 5.9 percent in 2021. Drilling down a bit further, the chart below reflects the loan growth challenges smaller credit unions have faced during the past two […]