Small Credit Unions Connect at MAXX


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Before the first day of the MAXX Convention gaveled in, more than 65 credit union leaders arrived early for the Small Credit Union Roundtable, setting an attendance record for the collaborative event.

In an icebreaking exercise, attendees identified the challenges and opportunities they share, including membership growth, ideas to engage younger members, board development, and technology to enhance member service.

The technology has been a game changer in small credit unions’ ability to serve and compete, noted Troy Stang, Northwest Credit Union Association’s President and CEO.

“Here you are today, globally accessible credit unions,” Stang said. “You’re able to serve your members in person, in real time, and globally.”

The Roundtable presentations included “Storytelling on a Shoestring Budget” by veteran credit union marketer Jennifer Laud of Jennifer Laud Consulting.

“Every credit union represented here today has a unique story,” Laud said. “You have a lot more value to give to your members, more than better rates and lower fees. You need to identify your story.”

Laud suggested credit unions answer five questions to develop their stories:

  • What is the niche you want to dominate?
  • Who are the members you’re trying to serve?
  • What do they need and what are the barriers in their way?
  • What products do you have that can help them?
  • What do you need to support the connection?

Mapping out the answers to those questions, Laud said, would help to determine the “essence” of a credit union, what it is trying to do, and how it should serve members.

In another presentation on leveraging secondary capital, Portland-based Ironworkers USA Federal Credit Union CEO Teri Robinson coached small credit unions to help their members who have higher interest loans elsewhere.

“They’re not going to get out of them unless you help them get out,” Robinson said. She suggested credit unions “really dive in” to find out where their members may have loans they’re paying too much for. “As small credit unions, we are needed now more than ever,” she said.

The discussion, idea sharing, and networking at the Roundtable “helps our region’s small giants survive and thrive,” said Carmen Vigil, Director, Cooperative Momentum, NWCUA. “The community is looking forward to 2019, when we will hold four events. A combination of in-person and virtual gatherings will ensure that members of our small credit union community are connected and informed.”

Posted in MAXX Annual Convention.