So I knew that my next blog post would be focused on CUNA’s “Unite for Good” campaign but for the life of me, I couldn’t come up with a catchy title for the piece. Then, as I celebrated July 4 last week by watching the outstanding mini-series “John Adams,” it came to me. I would just steal the title of the 5th episode of that miniseries: ”Unite or Die.” A bit over the top? Could be….but I am going with it anyway.
So here we are….(and my apologies to HBO)
Last week, I had the great privilege of attending America’s Credit Union Conference in New York City. There was a ton of momentum and interest in the “Unite for Good” effort and I am confident that the momentum will continue to build. The campaign is for credit unions throughout the country to unite behind a common purpose: to let people know that choosing a credit union for their financial partner is the best choice. The three objectives of the campaign are to remove barriers, create awareness, and foster service excellence. So why should credit unions get behind this effort? Let’s discuss each of the objectives in more detail:
Remove barriers: It is important for credit unions to encourage grassroots efforts from their members and communities in order to reduce the regulatory burdens being unfairly placed on credit unions, fight for our tax-exempt status, and get as knowledgeable as possible about the political and regulatory realities of our industry.
Create awareness: Let’s face it. There are still way too many people who have no idea what a credit union is. That’s a big problem. I would venture to say that a lack of awareness is the credit union industry’s BIGGEST problem. Unite for Good’s goals in this area include education, building relationships with media, fostering community development and good will, getting active in social media and to take advantage of the opportunities that exist for growth.
Foster service excellence: Credit unions are a smarter choice. Those of us who are members of credit unions understand this. But we struggle sometimes with effectively communicating our value proposition. We need to focus on the WHY instead of the WHAT when we are talking to potential members.
One of the highlights of last week’s ACUC was an early morning trip by a couple of hundred conference attendees to be part of the outdoor plaza audience for the Today show in Rockefeller Center. Clad in matching t-shirts and holding signs and cheering loudly, our group was definitely noticed!Several people in our group (myself included) actually had conversations with other audience members as well as passers-by who wanted to learn more about credit unions. From that perspective, it looks as if the mission of our trip to Today was indeed accomplished.
All credit unions should get behind Unite for Good. There is no good reason not to. It’s an opportunity for credit unions to tell….and more importantly to show what we stand for.
Going back to my inspiration from the “John Adams” miniseries…if credit unions can’t agree on what we stand for and if we are not courageous enough to help spread our message, what are we doing?
If those fellas that gathered in Philadelphia in 1776 couldn’t come together and agree on a common purpose, imagine how history might have taken a drastically different turn. We have the opportunity to shape the future of credit unions. Let’s take it!