Sail the Seven C's Pledge
The Small Credit Union Network task force has identified seven key characteristics as being critical to a credit union's relevancy and success in the financial services market; and established a shared commitment to Sail the Seven Cs together.
1. Competent Staff
Successful small credit unions recognize the value of competent staff and offer the flexibility, training, salary and resources it takes to obtain and retain career-minded employees. They rely on qualified staff members at every level who work smart and strive to meet their potential. Identifying and recruiting qualified managers and employees is essential to the ongoing success of your credit union. Equitable compensation, benefits and fair appraisals all contribute to the overall value that potential and existing employees place on your organization. Say 'goodbye' to the revolving door and 'hello' to a new credit union employee.
2. Committed Volunteers
Board and committee members have a fiduciary responsibility to the membership. Policies and procedures need to be in place to ensure legal and regulatory requirements are met when establishing credit union policy and/or fulfilling required duties and responsibilities. Expectations need to be documented and enforced.
3. Communicate Credit Union Value
You've got a story to tell, whether it be where your credit union started to where you have gone. Along the way, you've been in business with one mission in mind: "People Helping People". That's where you started, and where you'll grow.
From the personalized service to the products you offer, your members need to hear from you. Maintain consistent communication relating to the value and benefits of credit union membership through your SEG groups and in your community, focusing on monthly promotion with a specific product, service or message in mind.
4. Commitment to Staff and Board Education
Management, staff and volunteers must make a personal commitment to continued education to ensure your credit union is meeting the needs and expectations of your membership, as well as in keeping your credit union safe and sound. By enacting minimum continued education requirements and encouraging advanced learning through incentives, the credit union philosophy engrains itself in the minds of staff, volunteers and ultimately the membership.
5. Contribute to the Well-Being of Membership
The uniqueness of the credit union and their operating philosophy provides an advantage and opportunity to offer products and services customized to their members' needs. Credit unions readily take responsibility for the financial stability of their membership - from financial literacy practices for all ages, to stringent underwriting principals protecting members from establishing bad credit habits - credit unions adhere to the "People Helping People" philosophy in all they do.
6. Change and Adapt for Growth and Prosperity
Your credit union was established years ago with one thing in mind – to serve the financial needs of your SEG. While that mission still holds true today, the meaning of “serving financial needs” has dramatically expanded. The increasingly competitive nature of this market, the options available today to every consumer, young to old, has created a financial frenzy vying for your member’s financial relationship.
This change of pace continues to increase and evolve with new products, services and technological advances. Small credit unions have been especially hesitant to venture into unknown waters or simply feel they lack the necessary resources to adapt to latest and greatest. Some lack what consumers consider standard financial products such as debit and credit card programs which drive primary financial institution (PFI) relationships. By not adapting to market need and growth, you jeopardize the relevancy and viability of your credit union’s future. Credit unions must evolve along with the financial marketplace. Remain relevant by offering the products and services your members want, expect, use and need.
Filene Research Study
The Filene Research Institute’s has published “Thriving Midsize and Small Credit Unions” by Robert F. Hoel. As Filene’s Fellow in Residence, Hoel examines why some mid-size and small credit unions thrive, while others struggle with declining membership, shriveling real assets, and dwindling earnings. He finds nine insights commonly shared between these thriving institutions and offers up the contrasting points of low performing credit unions. Click here for the full report.
To remain viable, credit unions must find ways to cooperate and take advantage of economies of scale. Sharing resources and other collaborative efforts will enhance your bottom line and advance your competitive position.
Through collaborative efforts, credit unions can acquire economies of scale and market power far exceeding their individual sizes, at the same time are capable of maintaining their unique relationships and competitive advantage with their members and in their communities.
Consider fostering a cooperative environment with your neighboring credit unions through community projects and events, group buying efforts, and shared resources. Some of the greatest successes start from simple conversations which lead to the determination of common interests and goals.
Ready to Sail the Seven Cs?