(Originally posted on CU Insight – 4/1/2012 – http://www.cuinsight.com)
Not very pleasant to think about, right? Sorry but the reality is that there are some credit unions that are in danger of slipping off the radar. In the vast majority of cases, I firmly believe that steps can be taken to reverse course; however, in order to do that, credit unions must accept that they are in danger, resolve to take action to “right the ship” and then ACT before it’s too late. Here are 4 “red-flags,” that signal your credit union may be in trouble:
The credit union can’t seem to retain young employees. Young professionals are looking for very specific things when they go to work for someone. They want to be compensated properly, want access to professional development opportunities, want to be acknowledged for doing great work, and do not want to be micro-managed. Of course, the job market isn’t great so there may be a temptation to think that these young people should consider themselves lucky to have a job. Not only is that very dangerous thinking but it also ignores the fact that the job market will eventually recover. When it does, the young professionals who don’t feel appreciated will leave your credit union and might also leave the industry altogether.
Your credit union has not updated its strategic plan in a while. A plan is a necessary component of any credit union’s short and long-term growth strategies. But these plans need to be examined and reviewed often. Metrics must be put in place to measure and gauge the progress being made. And credit unions must be flexible and realize that plans are meant to be altered from time to time to adapt to the ever-changing marketplace.
The credit union never hires outside consultants to work with them. It is understandable that credit unions want to take steps to save on expenses. I get that. But in many cases, an outside, objective viewpoint is needed. A couple of examples are strategic planning (see above,) staff training, and leadership development. A third-party can provide an honest and objective opinion of what is going on at your credit union. Be prepared – what he or she has to say may shock you and more importantly, help you!
You’re technologically impaired. Examples:
If your website analytics don’t look great, that means people are not using your website. A website is a member or potential member’s portal to your credit union. Make sure the content is fresh and updated often. There’s a lot of talk about credit unions needing to attract younger members. A great website is the first step to making this happen.
Your credit union doesn’t do any e-marketing – every new member application, loan application, VISA application, etc. should include a field for an e-mail address. Credit unions need to use e-mail to reach members. Direct mail still has its place but e-mail is cheaper and its effectiveness can be measured through tracking.
No Bill Pay, Online Applications, etc. – your members and potential members want convenience. We are in the “right now” society. Bill pay – people want to be able to pay their bills quickly, safely, and with as little hassle as possible. As for online applications…how great would it be if your business development people were able to open a laptop or an iPad at an onsite visit to either sign up a new member or help an existing member apply for a loan or a VISA? That’s a lot better than handing someone a stack of paperwork and telling them to fill it out and bring it back, right? Our members and potential members want to see that their credit union is able to keep pace with the marketplace. Great technology at your credit union can and will confirm this!
These are a few examples of the “red flags” that exist. Again, this is not pleasant to think about; however, all is not lost! Our industry is blessed with many wonderful service providers that can help alleviate the stress associated with these obstacles.
The question now is – will credit unions have the courage to take a slice of “humble pie” and then take the steps to make things better?