Describing a credit union

Last week, some great conversation kicked up on EverythingCU about how to describe a credit union in 30 seconds. (Thanks, Butch!)

My own opinion is that describing a credit union is much like the fable of the six blind men and the elephant. Each of the blind men touches a different part of the elephant and comes away with a different idea of what the thing is.

Credit unions are like the elephant in this story. What a credit union is to you is different depending on what matters to you. Some love the low rates on loans. Others love the great rates on savings vehicles. Others don’t care about the rate on their loan, and are just thrilled that they CAN get a loan. Others love the personal service. Others don’t give a darn about personal service. Some love the convenience. Others love the INCONVENIENCE. (seriously, I have had more than one person tell me this conducting focus groups for credit unions. The “don’t tell my spouse I have this fund” account.) Some love the electronic services. Others love coming into a branch. Others love both. And believe it or not, some people love it because it’s a cooperative. Others love it because the money stays local, and makes the community better. Many could care less that it’s a cooperative, because “ownership” means nothing to them. Some love the no- or low-fees. Others love that the CU does what’s in THEIR financial best interest, even when it’s not in the CU’s best interest.

And that’s just off the top of my head.

WARNING: The rest of this message is a blatant sales pitch for EverythingCU’s new PlumWall product. BUT I only say it because I 1000% know it to be true, and I would be remiss in my duties to further the CU movement if I *didn’t* put this out there:

All of the above statement is exactly why we created PlumWall for your CU to utilize. It’s been one hundred years, and we haven’t come up with a universally agreed upon explanation for a credit union, nor a single brand statement – BECAUSE THERE ISN’T JUST ONE.

So let’s STOP looking for the “one right answer” and let our members tell everyone how THEY see it… because people relate to other people like them, and trust other people like them by a factor of 100-to-1 over any marketing that an institution puts out (especially a big scary financial institution). This is why single-SEG CUs are so successful and why no one comes running in the door when a CU goes to a community charter.

PlumWall lets your members tell others, online, why they love the CU. I can’t wait to read more of your members’ stories about how fantastic your CU is.


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2 Responses to “Describing a credit union”

  1. Matt Hand Says:

    I like how you speak of using the built-in strengths of a cooperative network by not whittling down the force of multiple opinions to one message. This reminds me of the website that used new member feedback on why they went credit union and “intentionally left bank”. Very strong message when all of those voices amplify eachother in this way.

    I’m sure your Plumwall will be successful since it plays so well off of social networking. And, let’s face it, cooperatives are made for social networking since we are only as strong as our members.

  2. Morriss Partee Says:

    Hi Matt! Thanks so much for stopping by, commenting, and for the nice words. I agree completely that since credit unions are cooperatives, they are a perfect fit for social media. The combined voices of the members are incredibly powerful!

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