This blog originally appeared on March 1, 2017, but remains relevant today!
By Donya Parrish, MCU VP- Risk Management
Watching the Grammys recently was an experience, but not one I want to go through again anytime soon. Don’t get me wrong — there were a lot of talented people performing and being honored – but it felt like the show was trying to be too many things to a very broad audience. There were (many) tributes to deceased artists, multiple roles and genres were recognized and given stage time, and the entertainment bits were also present. The whole production made me wonder whether credit unions are doing the same—are we trying to appeal to so many different people that we just leave their heads spinning? Are credit unions a one size fits all?
I am the first one to say I love options, but only when they make sense. If you look back at where your credit union was ten years ago, I would guess the number of ways a member can access their funds has increased. They likely don’t apply for loans the same way they did a decade ago either. You might even have fancy names for accounts and programs that are fun to market. But, has the member experience improved?
As board members, I hope you try the new products and services your credit union offers so you can provide honest feedback to staff. Speak up. Remind them (and your fellow board members) that things that seem crystal clear to the people who have spent months in development and preparation might not be as obvious to your members. We can also get caught up in using industry acronyms or taglines, without realizing they are not well-known to others.
It is time to think about outside appeal and ease of use of the credit union’s products and services and ask the tough questions. That might be as simple as inquiring if adding a new product means another has outlived its usefulness and can be retired. Being everything to everyone can be expensive and daunting, and sometimes change involves doing away with product life cycles too.
The point here is that members want you to grow, and change, and innovate. They also want your services and products to be meaningful and easy. Don’t forget to look at things from their perspective on occasion. After all, it’s their credit union too!
And, to continue the awards theme, Mark Arnold has a great blog this week about how the Oscar show can be a lesson for your strategic planning session. He makes some excellent points!