"Build your member. Build your business. Build your industry."
That's what the great Edward Filene would tell modern credit union leaders, Jeff Rendel told attendees of CUNA's Community Credit Union & Growth Conference in Las Vegas on Tuesday.
The presentation—"It's 1934 All Over Again: A Revitalized Movement and a Promising Future"—by Rendel, president of Rising Above Enterprises, looked at credit union history and what it means for the future.
The year, 1934, refers to a big year in credit union history, when the Federal Credit Union Act was passed by President Franklin D. Roosevelt's administration, making it possible to form a credit union anywhere in the United States.
That law ushered in an era of opportunity and expansion for credit unions, fueled by Filene's passion for bettering the financial lives of the working man. Similar opportunity exists today for credit unions, Rendel said.
Credit unions can grow by applying the movement's time-tested principles. The movement now has 100 million members and "we are just getting started," Rendel said.
The path to growth, Rendel said, is about building. Build your:
♦ Member. While credit union values do not change, the way you serve your members is ever-changing. Always ask what's next, Rendel said.
Mobile banking is taking off like a "rocket," changing the way members interact with your branches. The future of branches is about relationship-building, not transactions. It's about more access and convenience.
With less time spent on routine transactions, credit unions have more time to help their members with their larger issues.
♦ Business. Use your credit union's vision statement to reveal avenues to expand. Develop new products and revenue streams. Sometimes that means growing your top line before your bottom line.
Consumers today expect and adopt new services more quickly. And they want to deal with a local financial institution, Rendel said—meaning there's opportunity for credit unions.
♦ Industry. Competition is "fun," Rendel said. Credit unions should not fear it. Competition is an avenue for learning and growth. "We get better when we compete," he said.
The internal competition betters the industry. You will lose some business and win some business from your credit union peers. That's OK.
Plenty of opportunity for growth exists industry-wide, Rendel said. Credit unions need to see the big picture and work to create a bigger pie together, not worry about fighting over the small existing slices, he said.