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The Number of Fs Your Credit Union Makes

Count the Number of ‘Fs’ Your Credit Union Makes

There’s evidence to suggest a cooling economy. Economists point to GDP growth that is limping at a slow pace. Even the Credit Union National Association is predicting “slower economic growth, more uncertainty and more consumer caution will slow credit union growth.” In CUNA’s third quarter report, after a five-year average of 10.1% loan growth, the national trade association is predicting 5.5% growth for 2020.

So, it’s time to cut expenses fast, right? Well… not so fast.

A Harvest Business Review study found companies that do that have the lowest probability (21%) of pulling ahead when times get better.

Should we invest boldly? HBR’s study suggest only 26% fare well after a downturn.

Actually, HBR’s study suggests a balance of “defensive and offensive moves” having the highest probability (37%) for success.

How do you avoid failure during an economic slowdown? How will you weather the storm?

In this report, these are the five “Fs” you actually want to achieve this year.


Even if you are entering this year having suffered serious setbacks, your credit union can still have its best year ever. Focus is about alignment and clarity. The best way to predict the future is to create it, so take the time to develop a strategic action plan.

What are your big three goals you need to accomplish, and what steps do you need to take to get there? Your goals should align with your credit union values. Not sure what those values are? Take a time out and examine those closely. Yes, you need achievement goals, but you and your team may also need habit goals, too.


A Columbia University psychologist, Kevin Ochsner, suggests people apply only 30% of the feedback they receive. Most choose to ignore, reject or evade feedback altogether, and when there is an economic downturn, finger pointing (aka unhealthy feedback) becomes widespread.

How you ask for and receive feedback is key to increased engagement with your board, leadership team, frontline staff and your members. The key to great feedback is focusing on a future that you and your team can control, not a past that you cannot. Use feedback to fuel well-defined objectives that will move your organization forward.


When it comes to improving our credit union, we should always be looking at ways to minimize costs and eliminating waste, particularly when we look at servicing our members. How can we deliver the best quality with the shortest wait times for our members?

What often gets forgotten, however, is the importance of worker involvement and empowerment. As a CEO, are you inspiring your staff to follow you or your credit union’s value proposition? How you pivot or change the flow within your organization will resonate more with a clear cause than simply playing “follow the leader.”


How do you cultivate steely resolve with your workforce? Frequency. How do you establish unshakable trust with your members? Frequency. How do we attract more consumers? Frequency.
We know “Flo” as the spokesperson for Progressive because the insurance company has high frequency on the airwaves. By simply writing out “do-do-do-do,” you know I’m referring to McDonald’s.

Frequency is essential to the success of your advertising. Of course, small- and mid-sized credit unions don’t have the budgets of these national players, but you can achieve a high level of frequency within your own market, particularly using digital media. Here’s the kicker: The price of advertising drops during recessions, and studies have shown that those who maintain or increase their ad budgets during a weak economy gain more brand awareness.


Your beliefs shape your reality. What are you holding onto that you really need to let go? There are some things that keep us from a more fulfilling and rewarding work environment, such as an old way of doing business or a checked-out or even abusive employee.

Let’s face it: Truly forgetting something negative is next to impossible. But sometimes we need to put the past behind us and start fresh. Where are the opportunities to rise above within your credit union?

Ready to take your marketing to the next level? Contact us for a strategic planning session.

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