Fixing what’s broken at your credit union in 2022

Is your credit union broken? Are goals not being met? You’re not alone, and you’re not too far gone. You just need a little Kintsugi.

I recently read an article on Kintsugi (another reason you don’t want to run into me at a dinner party!), the ancient art and philosophy hailing from 15th century Japan centered on making broken beautiful. It treats breakage and repair as part of the history of an object rather than something to disguise.

The brokenness at your credit union right now that is keeping you from being able to realize your goals may very well be the thing you need to embrace and do the hard work of also publicly repairing that brokenness.

During our recent YMC Family Meeting in New Orleans our VP of Ideas and Results Frank Allgood shared the story of Dominos’ rebound more than a decade ago. In the years leading up to 2009, Dominos was facing an obvious brand crisis with very vocal criticism about its cardboard-like crust, processed cheese, and ketchup-tasting tomato sauce.

Dominos embraced this, recognized the issue, and practiced Kintsugi, leading to one of the best brand comebacks lead by simple yet genius communication. The company’s strategy was simple, own up and tell your turnaround story. Dominos CEO Patrick Doyle had this advice for leaders on turning around a broken brand: “The old days of trying to spin things simply doesn’t work anymore. Great brands going forward are going to have a level of honesty and transparency that hasn’t been seen before.” 

It’s easy to share stories like that from other brands, but how about I get real and share a personal story?

Back in YMC’s heyday in 2017 and 2018, we saw tremendous growth in the number of clients. However, I started getting anxious. Staff turnover increased. Client turnover rose. I wasn’t having fun anymore.

Our growth led to a great bottom line, but we were straying from our why. We were straying from the mission I was so passionate about, and I had to finally say ‘no more.’ At the end of 2018, I made some difficult decisions. We:

  • Capped the number of clients we could work with until we solved our process and staffing issues
  • Invested time and money into coaching, learning, adjusting and measuring the KPIs that were important to fulfilling our mission

I wish I could say our work is done, but we’ve come a long way since we practiced some Kintsugi at YMC. Client turnover is nonexistent in 2020 and 2021 (sans one merger and one client we decided to let go of). Our staffing is in the best place we’ve ever had, comprising a group of passionate experts who give a damn. Our client roster is full of “ideal clients” who are mission-focused, strategic, and want to grow for the sake of helping more people.

Where is your credit union right now? Do you feel broken beyond repair?

Don’t give up.

Don’t sign those merger papers yet.

Over the course of the last few years, we’ve helped credit unions find their Kintsugi. Using our unique onboarding process, we walk clients through an intense exercise that helps identify what’s broken in various areas of the credit union and what is keeping it from growing. We help find solutions, hold them accountable and get a bird’s eye view of some amazing turnaround stories.

With Kintsugi, instead of being thrown out, a bowl, dish, teapot, or vase that was once in pieces becomes useful and lovely again. In other words, kintsugi makes broken beautiful. Our team wants to help your credit union find its Kintsugi and celebrate yet another turnaround story. Want to talk? Email me:

Find Your Kintsugi

From strat plans to rebrands, YMC President and CEO, Bo, is passionate about helping financial institutions come up with a winning formula. If you’re ready to go beyond the SWOT, you can email him at

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