This installment of ICYMI is staying mobile, looking into the future, heating up, assessing risks and changing the world. Oh, and a little birdwatching along the way. Here’s what we noticed, in case you missed it:
Mobile branches are the future
I’ve been a big fan of mobile branches for a long time. I was delighted to see this article from Financial Brand on 14 Eye-Catching Mobile Branches. Each and every one solves a unique set of access problems for rural and city members. ADA Accessibility was a design consideration as well. Many are used as replacements for bricks-and-mortar branches by small credit unions, not just trotted out a few times a year for special events. And note how much lower the costs can be than building. Face-to-face will always matter, so why not make it even easier? Who’s going to be the first CU to field a zero-carbon solar-powered EV-based satellite-connected mobile branch? Who’s going all-mobile?
Will 7.2 million free heat pumps power a HELOC surge for CUs?
If I was a CU CFO, I’d be talking to Marketing about ramping up those HELOC promotions. The recently passed Inflation Reduction Act (IRA) includes $23B to help low- and middle-income households “turn their energy-sucking houses into hyperefficient green machines.” One analysis points out that could include installing 7.2 million high efficiency heat pumps that would cut utility bills and decrease dependence on natural gas and heating oil. For households that make 80% of the area’s median income, programs through the IRA would make the installation of heat pumps free. Higher income households should still be able to qualify for tax credits in the thousands. And we all know that home renovation projects tend to grow in scope once homeowners start thinking about improvements.
Days since disaster
This is a handy-dandy counter that shows the number of days since assorted natural disasters (or “incidents”; not all are really disasters). I can’t decide whether it’s more fascinating or disturbing. And fortunately, human-made disasters are not included. My main takeaway is that asteroids strike Earth far more than I would have guessed. Oh, great…
Climate Change Risk and CUs
Speaking of natural disasters… This story from CUCollaborate blog (you DO subscribe, don’t you?) covers what look like some fairly boring government stuff, but it is a reminder that CUs can’t ignore the short-term and long-term risks of climate change; higher risks of extreme weather and long-term changes in local climates (drier, wetter, higher temps, changes in crops, energy needs, etc.)
Be honest: did you cringe at the words “climate change” above? You’re probably just as sick of the arguing as everyone else. CUs are historically extremely practical and for the most part apolitical, but you can’t let politics scare you away from doing what’s right for your members. The latest steaming pile o’ politics is brewing around boring old merchant codes and firearms. There are others, and there will be more, and navigating these is an essential CU leadership skill. There are also opportunities to do well while doing good.
Bird migration explorer
This is a flat-out GORGEOUS interactive presentation of bird migration data from our fine feathered friends at the Audubon Society. There’s an incredible amount to learn here. I am in awe, both of the birds and the next-level information design.