Credit Unions' Misinterpreted News?

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CreditUnions.com recently published a series of slides highlighting CUs’ industry performance through the first half of 2010 (loved the pseud0-slideshow). The headline of the second slide (the first slide with data) read:

“Credit unions are gaining members, however share growth is coming primarily from existing members.”

There’s a word in that headline that hit me upside the head: However.

Using that word in the headline implies that the news, if not bad, is something less than desirable.

Wrong!

There is nothing that CUs should be hoping more for — or working harder for — in 2010 than deepening the relationships they have with existing members — relationships that may very well be in the early stages of development as CUs benefited from the flight to safety that occurred throughout 2009.

I know that there are a lot of credit unions fixated (obsessed would be a good word here) with lowering the average of their member base, leading to a focus on member acquisition. Here’s the reality of the situation: They can’t move the average significantly in a single year. My point is that while it’s all well and fine to launch programs designed to acquire Gen Y members, CUs can’t ignore the cross-sell opportunities they have with Gen Xers and Boomers.

As the CreditUnions.com post indicated in one of its slides, the best loan growth opportunities in the first half of 2010 were in credit cards and business loans. I could be wrong here, but I’d bet those credit card and business loan opportunities weren’t driven by Gen Yers.

I suspect — perhaps unfairly and wrongly — that the use of the word “however” in the slide title referred to above is rooted in a credit union marketing mentality that is driven by some inexplicable need to convert the unwashed masses to the credit union religion and movement.

Credit union marketers just can’t seem to accept that maybe a credit union isn’t right for everyone. That maybe not everyone is going to drink the credit union kool-aid.  Instead of lamenting that share growth was driven by existing members in the first half of 2010, CU marketers should be celebrating.

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