According to participants at THINK 14, the game has changed for credit unions – and that’s okay. Results from audience polls taken at the THINK 14 conference showed that credit union leaders are ambitious, confident, motivated and realistic about their prospects for change and growth. Compared to results from THINK 13, they may be more optimistic as well. When asked about challenges to the credit union business model, an overwhelming 75 percent said the game has changed for credit unions, while an additional 21 percent said – at the very least – that the rules had changed.


How profoundly is the credit union business model being challenged right now?

Superficially 3%
The rules have changed 21%
The game has changed 75%
Game over  1%


Following an exercise in building a credit union brand promise, THINK attendees were asked which of three big, hairy, audacious goals they thought the movement ought to pursue. The number one answer: All of them. A full 57 percent said there was no reason credit unions shouldn’t have 200 million members, double the assets of Bank of America and the distinction of being a top-10 customer service provider ten years from now.


Where should the credit union movement be in 2024?

200 million members 6%
Double the assets of Bank of America 2%
Regularly cited as a top-10 customer service provider 35%
All of the above 57%


Embracing change and executing it are two different challenges. When asked whether they felt equipped to carry out big changes at their organizations, 60 percent said an unequivocal yes, while another 15 percent were hopeful about their prospects.


How well equipped are you to make a big change at your credit union?

Ready, willing and able 60%
Little engine that could 15%
Need more authority or support 16%
Change is not our strong suit 9%




How did attitudes change in the past year? Just a year ago, participants at THINK 13 saw a similar need for change. They also saw some significant obstacles to getting there. Although THINK 13 dove deep into the difficulties of effecting massive change, a huge majority – 77 percent – said credit unions needed to disrupt their modes of operation or risk being disrupted:


Do we need more disruptive change?

Yes. Disrupt or be disrupted. 77%
No. Let’s focus on what we do well. 7%
Somewhat. Respond to change as it happens. 16%

And though the impediments to change are many, the one THINK 13 attendees cited most often was fear (28 percent) – and not resources (22 percent), lack of ideas (3 percent) or organizational structure (17 percent).


Which are the greatest impediments to executing change? Choose up to three:

Fear 28%
Resources 22%
Risk 17%
Lack of ideas 3%
Organizational structure 17%
Board of directors 2%
Lack of motivation 6%
Don’t see a need 3%
Other  2%