On the cusp of 2015, published a few forecasts now on what credit unions can expect next year: strong loan growth, low interest rates, a slight increase in inflation, and overall positive financials.
But beyond 2015? The future is too big to think about in totality. That’s why futurist Richard Worzel tells credit unions to break it down into manageable pieces.
It’s also one way to get ready to serve future members. Worzel was a keynoter at the recent CUNA Community Credit Union & Growth Conference.
You can prepare with thoughtful strategic planning, he says, such as:
• Visualizing your desired future and “back-casting” the route and timeline for getting to that point.
• Taking a longer view. “The future is coming at you quickly,” Worzel says. Look ahead for road bumps.
You will be surprised by the future,” he stresses. “Tomorrow is going to be very different than today.”
Issues to consider and their impact on members, he says:
• Big data. You’ll have more insight into your member’s wants and needs and creditworthiness. What can you do with that information to improve products and services?
• Demographics. You’ll see many groups entering transitional periods, whether it’s the elderly, who may need long-term care assistance; or young people, who will need help as they settle down and plan for their families.
• Women. The female demographic is a critical market for the future. Women are starting more businesses, going to college in higher numbers, and beginning to dominate professional fields like medicine.
“You know your world is changing,” Worzel says, “and you need to change with it,”
That advice rings true for our editorial team this month, as we prepare for the official retirement of longtime Credit Union Magazine and Credit Union Environmental Scan (E-Scan) Editor Steve Rodgers.
Steve has been our magazine’s adviser behind the scenes for the past year, while also steering our annual E-Scan project smoothly into 2015.
He has always had the right words and a keen perspective. I’ll miss that.
Our team is grateful for his calm in the endless storm of deadlines, for his leadership, and for his friendship. Best of luck, Steve!
ANN PETERSON is Credit Union Magazine's editor in chief.