credit union

Which Way? 3 Ways to Prioritize Your Options for Growth

By John Dearing, Managing Director, Capstone

The possibilities may be endless, but your resources are not. For many CUSOs with limited time and money, deciding which ideas to pursue can be a challenge. Here are three ways to prioritize your options for growth:

  1. Start with your vision

The best way to make sure you’re moving in the right direction is to take a step back from all of your ideas and begin by looking at your vision for your CUSO. Who do you want to be as an organization? When you have a clear picture of your goal in mind, it will be easier to visualize what steps you need to take in order to achieve it. Without a clear vision you could end up pursuing options that actually drag you in an opposite direction.

  1. Use tools to stay objective

While it’s natural to be somewhat subjective, after all growth is exciting, you don’t want to make decisions based on emotions alone.… Read more

A New Approach to Banking Money Service Businesses (MSBs)

In speaking at various bank and credit union events about the banking of businesses that are  cash intensive, or “Money Services Businesses” (MSBs), one common theme is clear:  despite changes in the regulatory landscape, the process for banking MSBs has remained the same.  As a result of systematic “de-risking,” MSBs across the country have been losing access to the financial system.  But with a driving force behind de-risking, Operation Choke Point, now officially ended, it is time to assess the aftermath of de-risking, and specifically how financial institutions can service MSBs in this new environment.  For this to happen, institutions must be ready to discard legacy concepts and practices associated with banking MSBs and embrace a new approach.

De-risking created a wealth of new opportunities with respect to the banking of MSBs.  As many large financial institutions have exited the MSB market, small and regional institutions are poised to fill the void left by them. … Read more

The “M” in DREAM is for Motivate!

For the last several weeks we have been having some fun dissecting the best credit union book out there CU 2.0: A Guide for Credit Unions Competing in the Digital Age by Ongoing Operations CEO Kirk Drake. This book is available on (how cool is that) and currently has 22  five star reviews. That’s a better rating than the complete collection of Harry Potter (yes, there are some Harry Potter haters….I know, who would hate Harry?) but I digress.

Kirk breaks the book down in an easily digestible and memorable format. We have posted a blog on each letter. In case you missed the first four here are the links:

D – Differentiate

R – Recreate and Reinforce

E – Educate and Excite

A – Automate

M – Motivate

In this final section of his book Kirk talks about using a motivating structure to help demonstrate to the member the value of their credit union ownership, Clearly motivating the member and demonstrating the value of their membership, along with the rest of the DREAM approach, will help your credit union differentiate itself from a crowded field and allow it to compete with FinTech startups.Read more

The “A” in DREAM is for Automate

DREAM Big Contest Continues!

Think of the first three letters Differentiate, Recreate and Educate as the ingredients to bake a one-of-a-kind-out-of-this-world-cake. Now we put them all together and automate (or bake) it.

Kirk recommends the new member experience be the first place to try marketing automation.

I recently sat in on a conference call regarding Net Promoter Score and found out that most credit unions are not “blowing members away” when they open up their new account.  In fact, very few members will give a promoter score citing “Too early to tell” or “I just opened the account and I don’t feel I know them yet.”

But this was even more disconcerting. In a Pacific NW study of credit unions and banks they found that Chase AND Bank of America scored higher with Millennials (18-34) on the “overall recommend” question. They did not cite service as the reason but rather just the opposite.… Read more

The Story of CU Lunch Local: An annual celebration of credit unions commitment to community.

CU Lunch Local aims to raise awareness about the importance of supporting local small businesses across Michigan. Studies show that money spent at local businesses tend to stay in the community and a greater percentage of every dollar spent is recirculated at the local level when compared with non-local businesses. CU Lunch Local was founded in 2011 in collaboration with Michigan Business Connection, a commercial lending CUSO.

Bill Beardsley, CEO of Michigan Business Connection and Board Member of NACUSO sat down with us to talk about CU Lunch Local. A unique way to celebrate International Credit Union Week.

Tell me a little bit about how this movement came to be? 

CU Lunch Local was born in 2012, when MBC reached out to its credit unions’ marketing departments to come up with ideas on how to capitalize on the impact the credit union industry has on local economies. On one of those calls, the idea of a “cash mob” type of event was thrown out to the group.Read more