Mergers are up. Good guys crashed a non-profit’s website. CUs that are actually serving the underserved and cutting back on NSF fees. ICYMI is our way of sharing the best of those “Did you see this?!” news and tidbits that we usually send to each other, and here’s what we’ve seen lately:
A great start to ending NSF fees.
UW Credit Union in Madison, Wisconsin just slashed overdraft and NSF fees from $30 to $5. That’s a great start to actually living up to fundamental credit union values. Now go $5 further, and get all the other CUs on board as well. This is an idea that needs to spread.
A non-profit website crashed, because Redditors.
One Simple Wish was founded in 2008 by a couple that became foster parents and were surprised to find out there are about 440,000 kids in foster care in the US., and that many foster kids and families were struggling. Today the organization works with over 2,000 caseworkers, social service agencies and charities across the country. But they woke up one morning to a crashed website, thanks to too many visitors from the social media site Reddit.
One Redditor had asked “What is something you’ve done purely out of the goodness of your heart, but have never told anyone?” and another responded about anonymously donating a bike to an 11-year old whose foster family couldn’t afford to buy him one. This led to an unprecedented surge in visitors (aka The Reddit Hug) which crashed their website, but since then 1500+ wishes had been granted within three weeks, ranging from art supplies and gift cards to scooters and a new laptop.
An alternate take on labor shortages
This is an interesting and thoughtful article from Oscar Porras of Humanidei on the impact to credit unions of two current intersecting issues; the “great resignation” as millions re-assess their work life post-COVID, and changing immigration policies. Fortunately for credit unions, they’re usually pretty great places to work and have seen less impact than other industries.
However, we know for a fact many CUs are already struggling with staffing for key, highly skilled positions including lending, mortgages, and marketing. (Shameless plug: we’ve helped many CUs keep the growth engine running by filling in for various marketing roles, from high-level strategy through websites to digital campaign execution. Please get in touch if you need a hand.)
This issue goes a lot deeper than pay or work-from-home policies. The people at a credit union have a profound impact on your brand. And brand has a huge impact on employees. The best people are very thoughtful and deliberate about matching their values to their job.
Death to the 9-to-5! Does that work for CUs?
There have been several calls for a big change in the standard 9-to-5 work week recently, and not all of them are coming from big tech companies, either. Record profits and profitability are quite compelling reasons for these companies to change their approach to working hours, but how is this shift going to affect the service and financial industries?
It’s all well and good for corporations like Apple and Google to give their employees a more flexible schedule. But with everyone having flexible hours, will branches and businesses need to be open later and longer? Could we see credit unions adopting retail or restaurant hours? Some staff members might enjoy working different hours, but most probably won’t want to be told they have to. If this becomes a trend, we might just see an even stronger push toward online and mobile banking instead.
Merger or Mania?
Alan Bergstrom from Aux recently put together a thoughtful overview of the potential benefits and pitfalls of CU mergers. We seem to be in the midst of a CU merger wave right now, but it’s important for Boards and CEOs to consider all the angles. It’s still very possible for smaller CUs to innovate and thrive, and the CU industry needs that diversity and vitality.
Actually serving actual underserved people
Denise Wymore, a leading light in the CU world, is giving some sound, practical facts and advice on how credit unions can ACTUALLY serve underserved people. Oh, and it just happens to be a very profitable and sustainable way to do a heck of a lot of good for a heck of a lot of people. For example, if your CU hasn’t gotten rid of NSF fees (and made a big deal out of it) already, what are you waiting for?