In the opening sentence of “A Tale of Two Cities,” Charles Dickens writes, “It was the best of times, it was the worst of times, it was the age of wisdom, it was the age of foolishness.”
The subject was the French Revolution, a time unlike anything seen in France in hundreds of years. Many have written recently that this country today faces conditions unlike anything any of us have seen. But let’s look closer at that Dickens message.
The worst of times
It’s easy to focus only on the difficulties credit unions face right now. Reasons for gloom include:
The best of times
The good news is we’re neither in the Great Depression nor the monstrous recession into which I began my professional life in 1982. While unemployment is high, it isn’t at the level of either 1930 or 1982. Inflation is low. We’re seeing signs of economic recovery.
We’ll make it though this tough time. Plus, credit unions have some advantages:
The age of foolishness
Where does your credit union spend time and its members’ treasure? Your credit union may feel it can respond only to immediate problems. In lending, for example, this shows up in many ways:
These are all reactions to short-term problems. They don’t take advantage of the incredible opportunities to position your credit union for long-term success.
The age of wisdom
These are unique times, and your credit union has a once-in-a-lifetime chance to make itself indispensable to members by:
This once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to grow and increase service to members will never come again. Will your credit union take advantage of it?
BILL KLEWIN is associate general counsel at CUNA Mutual Group, Madison, Wis. Contact him at 608-231-7009 or at firstname.lastname@example.org.