By Donya Parrish, MCU VP Risk Management
You may have heard — it’s Cat/Griz week in Montana! The Brawl of the Wild, the biggest week of college football in our state, and this year, also a showdown with two top-five teams, is almost here! Wow, that must be hard for people to understand who haven’t been here for years through the win streaks, coaching changes, heartache, and the thrill of victory. But, even as a staunch Griz football fan, I am willing to admit it is pretty exciting, no matter who wins.
Why would I find it exciting no matter the outcome? Because many of the players are Montana kids and both teams had a successful and amazing season that they poured their hearts into. They will both likely also see a run into the playoffs. But, even bigger is that I think rivalries have the risk of distracting us. Whether it is banks vs. credit unions or Cats vs. Griz, isn’t the real competition coming from outside?
It is often not the bank across the street or the credit union across town that becomes your largest competitor. It’s easy to blame them or think they “took your loans,” but given all the options online with large national banks (who, by the way, have aggressive marketing and mailing campaigns) and fintechs, is it really the other local institution that is to blame?
Credit unions do a wonderful job of working together to serve their communities and find great synergies in joining forces for chapters, fundraisers, and more. If we can stop and look past the rivalries, are there additional opportunities for serving members locally, and serving them well with the best option? After all, even in the FCS football world, there are two other teams ranked above the Cats and Griz that might need more of our attention to get past.
In throwing the challenge flag, I am asking you to consider finding some additional ways to collaborate with other credit unions (like through our own Brawl of the Wild benefiting Shodair) in the upcoming year and to focus beyond the rivalry right in front of you. We have some exciting plans as your league to support you in these endeavors. Stay tuned!