Credit Union Branding in a Down Market

Redwood tree that has fallen in the forest

Credit union branding is perhaps one of the most defining issues of our time.

Here’s why:

✓ The success of fintech lending and mobile payments has led to new opportunities for credit unions, but also the emergence of new competitors to steal market share.

✓ The current recession has opened our eyes to the marginalized – from the poor to immigrants to minorities – who have seen their lives valued less than the lives of others.

✓ Prolonged government shutdowns have taken a toll on our communities, including where we work, live, learn, pray and play.

In the face of profound economic and social confusion, a credit union’s brand is its greatest gift. Being prepared to lead and serve is fundamental. Having a strong brand identity that can navigate moments of change, create and engage long-lasting relationships, and translates value to people is what makes the impact possible.

Think of the philosophical question, “If a tree falls in a forest and no one is around to hear it, does it make a sound?” If there are no ears to hear it, there will be no sound. Market visibility and perception come by way of a strong credit union brand.

For a rudimentary look at brand equity, take a look at how market share for your region has changed over the past five years. This includes if you are a part of a SEG-based credit union as you may have gained or lost membership to other financial institutions. This exercise isn’t one to simply look at the top three and realize that three national banks most likely control a third or more of the market share. Instead assess the gains and losses and the brands that are no longer on the list as well as the new players.

Ask yourself:

  • Which brands are moving the needle?
  • Which brands are changing minds and accelerating impact?
  • Which brands are being resilient even in the face of unprecedented obstacles?

Now the bigger question: Would rebranding your credit union in a down market be an act of desperation or a good business strategy?

Great credit union branding entertains, teaches and inspires. These are organizations that eliminate the unnecessary that gets in the way of their brands. They are storytellers that have conversations that make us think. They are visionaries that immerse themselves into a cultural identity. And these credit unions believe that it is essential that their people trust in the organization’s mission and are trusted by others.

If this sounds like something you not only want to achieve but are willing to put in the work then rebranding during a recession is a sound decision. To emerge from the downturn in a lead position goes beyond a visual identity. It requires solving significant challenges and investing in the credit union’s corporate culture.

As entrepreneur, best-selling author and speaker Seth Godin once said, “You don’t need more time, you just need to decide.”

Credit Union Branding

Your Marketing Co. offers experts in credit union branding, marketing and strategic planning. We’re here to answer all your credit union branding questions.

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Reh Harvey

Vice President of Digital Strategy

Reh Harvey, our Vice President of Digital Strategy, leads with diligence and fervor. Having previously been a member of Team YMC, he is excited to return to such an amazing culture and even more amazing people (his words)! Through his experience in the marketing world, he’s found the key to success is to stay on the cutting edge and to always keep evolving.
Although originally drawn to marketing for its lack of math, Reh now finds himself doing more math than he would’ve bargained for. But his self discipline and positive attitude make it easy for him to laugh and take it in stride. Hoping to one day visit Japan and enjoy some premium Sushi, Reh lives life by his creed: Be a good human. Do good work. And above all, just keep going.

Hailey Madej

Graphic Designer

As YMC’s in-house Graphic Designer, Hailey possesses an eye for detail and a drive to innovate. It’s no surprise though since being creative runs in the family! Inspired from an early age by her mom’s work as a Graphic Designer, Hailey is a seasoned expert whose talents bring vitality and accessibility to every project. As a UX/UI designer, she expertly blends the intuitive and the creative for all to enjoy.
In addition to the occasional freelance project, Hailey also lends her abilities to supporting art initiatives within her community, such as the Belleville Mural Project. Her favorite aspect of joining the YMC team is the friendly, uplifting culture and breadth of design tasks. When it comes to marketing, she believes in pushing boundaries and maybe breaking some rules to capture her audience’s attention. Her advice to those just starting out? “Always seek quality over quantity.”

Dexter Ochoa

Development Assistant

When it comes to blending logical thinking and creative problem solving, Dexter’s abilities are undeniable! Beginning his career as a Web Developer, he’s no stranger to the wide world of Marketing and Advertising. Calling Biñan City in the Philippines home, Dexter has a burning desire to visit the Alpine peaks and valleys of Switzerland. While that journey may be far off, he is still no stranger to international travel. While visiting Japan, he was able to enjoy his favorite delicacy: Sushi and Sashimi. He also learned unexpected facts about Japanese Yen, specifically that it has special markings for the blind to know its value!

Living life by his motto to “Do good even if the world is unfair,” Dexter would also advise his younger self, “It’s hard, but you’re doing good!” Whether he’s enjoying a cup of coffee in the morning or the occasional Pale Pilsen in the evening, Dexter is eager to work with the talented professionals of YMC, and we’re just as eager to add his talent to the team as well! His marketing words of wisdom? “Be creative, and just do what you want!”

Andrew Wyche


Hailing from the NC state capital (that’s Raleigh if you didn’t know), Andrew is YMC’s Copywriter extraordinaire. That’s why he knows that “The verb form of ‘reconnaissance’ is ‘reconnoiter.’ The former is, strictly speaking, a noun.” Seriously, he knows his words and he’ll use those words to get bold and weird (in a good way) with his copy. Fuelled by a love for pasta, shellfish, a good single malt, or a meal consisting of all three, Andrew navigates life with a motto engraved in his heart: “Choose kindness. Always.” It is this guiding principle that has led him to explore the realm of marketing, driven by a desire to connect with people in meaningful ways. As he continues to chase his dreams, one bucket list item stands out above the rest – a pilgrimage to Scotland. With his heart set on adventure and his pen poised for creativity, Andrew’s journey is far from over.

Alex VanHaasteren

Senior Web Developer

Alex is YMC’s Senior Web Developer and, as the title suggests, she is an absolute pro! While she initially started in graphic design – working long and hard to expertly bring concepts to life – she also felt drawn to technology and applying her natural ability to problem solve. Web Development proved the perfect blend of her creative passion and technical savvy.

When Alex is out with friends – including her YMC colleagues – she’s up for Greek cuisine or some good pulled pork BBQ washed down with Diet Coke. Or an Old Fashioned, if the occasion demands. Someday, she hopes to go to Africa on a safari. Hopefully she’ll see a giraffe in the wild, because – as she’s pointed out – its neck is too short to reach the ground!

When she isn’t jamming out to T-Swift, she’s happy to impart some marketing words of wisdom, “Aim to create something unforgettable.” For day-to-day inspiration, she would remind you of two fundamental truths: You decide your happiness, and Ice cream is its own food group—not just a dessert.

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