The Secret To Credit Union Strategic Planning

There’s one rule I ask each of my clients to abide by, with no exceptions, whether it’s credit union strategic planning or strategic marketing for our clients.

That rule is: Ask a freaking question.

Think about this. When you make the statement “we need to grow loans” the natural response of those in the discussion with you will automatically go to ideation. “What if we did a direct mail piece…. Or maybe we could run a rate discount campaign…”

WAIT. STOP. You need perspective on what the actual problem is before you can find the right solution. That’s when you need to pause and “ask a freaking question!” For example: “Why aren’t we growing loans to begin with.” Is it poor response time to loan apps? Is your policy too strict and needs adjustment? Is our rate not competitive? Do we have a brand awareness problem?

Before you take action take time to understand why your loan growth isn’t meeting your goals. The question I pose when the room gets silent is this: “What is the problem we’re trying to solve,” followed by a string of ‘whys.’

“What is the problem we’re trying to solve?”

“Our membership growth has been negative for too many quarters in a row.”

“Why?” [Crickets]

Why crickets? Because this approach makes you look inward to investigate your shortcomings. An obstacle is in your way that you haven’t removed. Some credit union managers take it personally, cliff dive, and throw it back on marketing to solve. Other credit union leaders accept the challenge, dig in, find the reason(s) they aren’t meeting goals and make big breakthroughs. Once that is accomplished, we go full throttle with the marketing.

Until you understand the barriers keeping people from joining and borrowing from your credit union, you’re going to waste a lot of marketing dollars bringing in opportunities you can’t turn into new loans and members. Take this exercise back to your credit union leadership team and ask a freaking question (or a dozen) to gain perspective on what’s holding you back from the growth you could easily be seeing.

What I just described is a vital part of Your Marketing Co.’s credit union strategic planning or marketing client onboarding process. We take a deep dive into the four major areas of your credit union to ask questions and help you (and us) gain perspective. We dig deep to understand what the problem is we need to solve together, and then work collaboratively with our clients to find solutions and experience the growth they deserve. We’re not a fit for every credit union, but if you’re interested in learning more about our process and if we’re a good fit for your credit union, I’m an email away.

Ask A Question!

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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