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6 Questions Credit Unions Should Answer to Strengthen Their Strategy

September 16, 2016

It is no secret that decisions are more complex and far-reaching, and margins are razor thin. Traditional and non-traditional opponents on the battlefield keep multiplying and plotting to get your members’ business, all while credit unions have to allocate their finite resources to the regulatory avalanches, such as NCUA’s NEV test, RBC, and CECL.

Below are six questions to answer in order to develop a relevant and sustainable business model:

  1. Do we have strategic clarity regarding our business model?
  2. Evaluating the business model includes an understanding of who is in the target market, as well as reaching clarity on the value proposition, competitive positioning, and internal core differentiators.

  3. Do we have enough of the right talent?
  4. Having the right amount of talent is critical. A good balance of critical and strategic thinkers, problem-solvers, who can motivate people to get the right things done and in the right order, will generate success within the ever-changing environment.

  5. Are we counting the right business every day and acting on it?
  6. As consumer adoption of technology continues to cause the competitive landscape to change, actionable business intelligence will be essential for credit unions going forward. There is often a treasure trove of data at the credit union’s disposal, but turning it into revenue and generating opportunities timely will be the challenge.

  7. Are our third parties doing what we want, when we want?
  8. The majority of credit unions have dozens of third parties that are essential for a wide range of services, and many of these third parties directly impact a credit union’s brand. Optimizing requires critical thinking and deliberate human resource allocation.

  9. Are we truly a learning organization?
  10. Often, decision-makers say they want their organizations to be innovative. Being innovative means trying new things and if appropriate, failing fast, learning, and applying the learnings to the next pilot program. However, many are truly afraid to make mistakes, and fear of mistakes is in direct conflict with being innovative. This is not to say that decision-makers should be reckless. Rather, to pilot new things on a smaller scale and then, if appropriate, roll them out. If the pilot does not meet stated objectives, then fail fast and move on.

  11. Are we an effective marketing organization?
  12. As consumer behaviors change and attention spans shrink, it is essential to adjust marketing efforts. Targeted and purposeful marketing is no longer an option. Consumers are inundated with marketing messages from just about every sector. Additionally, credit unions should ensure that their operations support their marketing efforts. It would be unfortunate if the marketing efforts generated a great amount of consumer interest, and the credit union was not operationally ready. It is not uncommon for us to see follow up on opportunities from digital channels inappropriately handled.

Answering these six questions can strengthen a credit union’s strategy. The best way to approach this is to begin and have fun as you explore the answers and evolve your strategic thinking.

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