Archive for March, 2008|Monthly archive page

Information Hippyism and Bank Fear

The cu blogosphere has enjoyed a long run of freely shared information and ideas. The consensus has been that the benefit of sharing outweighs the fears. I believe much credit for this atmosphere belongs to OpenSourceCU. They have been doing this for a long time and their passion for openness has noticeably influenced those who have followed their initiative.

I suppose that I have taken this environment of openness for granted. Events of this week have shown me that not everyone is on the same page.

Earlier this week, I posted a comment on the JayRay blog. (The article itself was titled “There’s a Difference?”, how could I not comment?!) A response in the thread was given with a pretty staggering stat: “Credit unions saved consumers $11 billion last year.” I thought, “Wow, that’s an interesting number. I wonder how they came up with that?”

Rather than publicly ask for the source, (aren’t 79% of all stats are made up?) I sent the respondent an email with the following text:

Thanks for the comments on my blog and the response you gave on the jayray blog. Do you mind pointing me to the source where you got that 11 billion dollars number from. I’d love to take a look at it. Thanks!

The response I received was cordial but less than forthcoming. I won’t post it here (unless the sender wants me to) but I will say that I was not given the source. I was invited to call and discuss it, and, if my intentions were not to use it to help banks, I could probably secure it.

I didn’t (and still don’t) understand the big deal about revealing information used as argument in a public forum. (I’d say if you can’t reveal a stat source, don’t use the stat.) However, calling just for the source of some stat in a random blog comment seemed a little extreme, so I just let it go. Until today.

Today I’m reading the latest article on the Currency Marketing blog and, in the context of what I experienced earlier this week, it looks like Bank Fear is sweeping across the blogosphere. I don’t fault Tim for posting what he did. In fact, the openness to post about the process is what I love about this community. However, acting out of fear is not innovative, nor is it productive.

If banks can really “topple” credit unions, shame on credit unions.

In fact, “bank attacks” should not be credit union fear #1. Irrelevance should be. Just read the original JayRay article. Melina’s experience is echoed over and over by young people that start in this industry. That’s the situation credit unions need to address, not the fear of the big bad banks trying to get the 10% market share currently occupied by credit unions.

I believe the current state of the credit union blogosphere is helping credit unions combat this public enemy #1, and I for one, would love to see it continue in this manner.

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Pie in the Sky: What kind of services does a credit union offer?

I brushed by this in my post on Principle #1. It’s a stupid question, right? A credit union offers financial services.

What if your credit union didn’t put itself in that box? What if your CU saw itself as offering community services, some of which were financial?

Could this kind of credit union work? Would its diversity of services help or hurt it’s members?

What would it look physically look like? (I’ve never mistaken a community center for a bank. I’m just sayin…)