Insane Growth At Credit Unions Could Be A Killer

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One thing I am always open to is admitting when I am wrong. As I’ve gotten older and matured as a leader, I’ve had to look back at things I’ve said and re-think them. There have been many times as a youthful leader I started a sentence with “I’ll never…” and found myself eating those words. Most of the time, it’s not because I was wrong per se, but because as I’ve invested in myself through reading, working with coaches, and personal growth, I’ve had to change my mind on certain things. What worked for me 10 years ago doesn’t necessarily work for me now.

One of those things I’ve had to change my mind about I want to share with you today. It’s the concept of “growth.” WE NEED TO GROW! Your credit union needs to grow! “Growth” is a loaded word that can have many meanings.

For example, “you need to grow as a person.” Without context, that could very well be a recommendation to gain weight. Jeff Siegler explores this thought in a recent article on this very subject as he explores the “growth” of cities from a planning perspective. “Eating garbage food and being sedentary is the easiest path for a person to grow, but we all know that such growth is quite unhealthy. We don’t need to be fitness experts to understand that this behavior would have seriously negative impacts on the health of an individual. Simultaneously, a person could increase their weight by strength training and eating a higher protein diet. Muscle increases are shown to increase metabolism, bone density and lead to an overall higher quality of life. A person could grow fatter or more muscular, but we would never equate the two as being the same.”

As the chairman of the planning commission for my city, in hopes that we will “grow” I’ve had to take a hard look at the meaning of growth. I realized our city does not need to grow big. We don’t need to grow for growth’s sake. In fact, I’ve embraced our word of the year at YMC and replaced the word growth with “vibrancy.”

Siegler shared these wise words on “growth” that, while meant for city planning, applies directly to the growth strategies we often consider as credit unions: “Not all growth is good, and far from it. Quality is the crucial component to consider, because, just like a person, a community can expand without ever improving. In fact, when a city or town grows without giving credence to quality, they are most likely declining. Paving new roads does not make a community better, increasing the number of national chains does not make a community better, building more auto-centric vinyl subdivisions does not make a community better. Yet, these are all economic development policies that most places adhere to. These are growth strategies, not improvement strategies, and blindly adhering to growth policies is insane.”

Membership growth or asset growth alone for a credit union doesn’t mean quality. Adding a new mobile app does not make a credit union better. Building a new branch does not make a credit union better. It could be a good growth strategy, but it doesn’t mean an improvement strategy. Growth and improvement must go hand in hand if you don’t want an endless cycle of courting a new member only to have them roll off the books and close their account within a short period of time.

Let me share these words again: “Blindly adhering to growth policies is insane.”

What does this mean? Perhaps your strategic planning session this year needs a fresh look. Perhaps the strategies you are implementing need to be discussed and questioned. Perhaps the tactics of those strategies should also be reviewed. If you need a fresh voice, we have facilitated many strategic planning sessions for credit unions who have found themselves stuck, and we can help you too. Ready? You’re just one email away from getting unstuck and seeing a more vibrant credit union!

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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

Copywriter

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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