By Gerry Singleton, Vice President CU System Relations for CUNA Mutual Group
Having solid systems in place is core to any successful business. Equally important is the constant support these systems receive to stay up-to-date, agile, collaborative, and in-line with customer needs.
The credit union system is no different. Cooperation among cooperatives is a crucial cog in the machine that is the credit union movement. To stay modern and competitive with financial service providers, credit unions require support that enables them to perform at a high level for their members.
This collaborative effort should be focused on four key areas in 2023, to help advance the credit union movement and ensure a strong future for the industry.
1. Financial Well-being for All
This was the original purpose of credit unions and still is today. Financial well-being for all is the cornerstone of this industry and should remain a top priority. It comes down to not just talking the talk, but walking the walk.
With that said, you don’t have to contribute over $150 million over the last five years like CUNA Mutual Group has to advance system support and advocacy. But you can utilize the resources made available to your organization thanks to those financial contributions. Resources like the FinHealth Fund that I wrote about last year on this site. Growing, learning and ultimately improving your operations and offerings by leveraging resources made available to CUs through opportunities like the FinHealth Fund can go a long way toward fortifying our movement.
2. Diversity, Equity and Inclusion (DEI) Advocacy
This area of focus continues to grow and should be a priority for all of us. CUNA Mutual Group recognized we needed a deeper understanding of the implications of DEI, not only for our organization, but for employees, customers, members and the credit union system. We started internally. Then along with several other organizations, helped form the credit union DEI Collective. Comprised of an intentional group of credit union voices and credit union system leaders, the DEI Collective is finding ways to collaborate and champion DEI efforts in the industry. These efforts are ongoing. We didn’t get here overnight, and there’s still work to be done. We’re going to push forward together.
3. Collaboration is Our Strength
There’s a need in our community for credit unions of all sizes. Working together to bring scale to smaller credit unions should be a priority for all of us. Smaller credit unions are in a unique position within their communities and are doing amazing things for the members they serve. In many cases, these credit unions are the only financial option for citizens in less populated communities.
4. Building Credit Union Advocates
We have a special value proposition and a compelling story to tell. The most effective way to build advocates is by giving members unforgettable experiences across all channels. When we do this well, we’ll increase loyalty with more members who will become our advocates.
Organizations with more resources are sharing this story through key fintech partnerships, funding and increasing consumer education around the service credit unions provide to communities. These are some of the tactics CUNA Mutual Group has deployed in recent years.
This brings us back to the importance of collaboration within the industry. It’s one of our superpowers we can leverage to ensure our collective success now and into the future as we continue to grow our membership and deliver on our original purpose of bringing financial well-being to all.
The views expressed here are those of the author(s) and do not necessarily represent the views of CUNA Mutual Group.