Archive for the ‘credit union difference’ Tag

Stop Saying Structure

Last week over on the CU Warrior Blog, Matt wrote an interesting piece about a more perfect union, domestic tranquility, and promoting the Credit Union Way (my paraphrase not his) in which he draws some parallels between the way the great US of A is structured and the way that credit unions are set up. He claims (of credit unions) that “It’s our structure that attracts members by the millions.”

I really like a lot of what the CU Warrior has to say, but I think he’s really missed the mark here. People do not care about how your organization is structured. They just don’t. They don’t care about your org chart or the size of your marketing team or who the shareholders are. They don’t care.

If you were asked the difference between your CU and the one down the street, can you imagine responding with “Well our IT department has 6 people, including a C level position, while they only have 3 in IT with no representation at the C level? I didn’t think so.

People care about the products, services, and experiences you offer them. Now your org chart and marketing team and yes, even who your shareholders are can influence these things, but make no mistake about it, people care about the WHAT not the HOW.

Instead of touting “structure” as the “difference”, I believe credit unions need to tout WHAT that structure allows them to do. For Member’s CU in North Carolina (home of the CU Warrior), their structure allowed them to create the “Holiday Skip-a-Pay“. Now that IS a difference.

Our “CU Difference statements” need to evolve from “We are owned by our members.” to “Our member ownership allows us to (fill in what a local/awesome cu is doing)”

If we can’t fill in that blank, well then we’ve got bigger problems than just our verbage. :/


After thought: If people cared about the HOW, then why do credit union memberships vote for mergers and conversions that ultimately take away or lessen the impact of the structure on their financial institution. I’m just sayin…


What is really wrong with this video.

I’ve seen “The Difference between Banks & Credit Unions” a few times now and from the first viewing, there has been one piece of it that makes me want to shout and scream and throw things.


First let’s give Larissa her due props. I absolutely love the presentation style. I am super impressed that she was able to use a style made “popular” by some very smart and talented people (CommonCraft) and somehow not make it lame. It was clean, smart, and funny, and that’s not easy to do when talking about credit unions.

What’s the problem?

It’s the bench scene. I just can’t stomach it. If you want to watch just the clip, it starts at 1:32 in the video. I’ve provided the transcript below.

“Hey. Hey, do you like my ipod…my bank gave it to me.”
“Hey do you like my long list of free services…my credit union gave them to me. owned.”

Sorry cu stick figure, but from my perspective, you got got the short end of that deal. Bank boy is sitting there with an ipod and you’ve got a list. A LIST!

Not only is your long roll of paper useless for rocking out, the free services you hold so dear were part of Bank boy’s account as well. He got an ipod. You got a propaganda scroll. Owned.

Why are you picking on a 19 year old girl?

Actually, I don’t blame Larissa for this misstep at all. It’s a line credit unions have been holding on to for a long time. “We offer more free services.” The problem is, I’m just not sure it’s true anymore. I think before we go off touting “more free services” as one of the big draws to a credit union, we may want to stop and see if it truly is a “credit union difference.”

Why does it matter?

With all the talk about a national marketing campaign and the giddy hysteria to put this video on every cu homepage in the world, I think it’s important that if something is claimed as a “cu difference”, it really is. Promoting something as a “difference” that isn’t only blurs the lines between banks and credit unions even more.

So that’s my question: Is “more free services” a credit union difference?

Update: Tim does a great job of calling me out and giving me a Canadian banking lesson below. I highly recommend you check out his comment.


After reading Ron’s headline I thought maybe I wasn’t going to have to be “that guy” on this one, but as Tim pointed out, by definition, I am “that guy.” Glad to be back in the swing of things.