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That was a fabulous ending to an amazing THINK 12 conference, wasn’t it? Chris Berman, ESPN Anchor, a live focus group and insights fromBrett King, author and strategic advisor, sharing his vision of the future of branching.

Chris Berman shared stories about the early days of ESPN, a David fighting against the Goliath of network television. Just like ESPN, he urged credit unions to dream big and act realistically. ESPN had the vision of being the worldwide leader in sport but they had to struggle skunk attacks in their studio that was basically a garage to become what they are today. The executives asked their employees to reach for the sky. You might get burned once in a while, take your hand back for a minute, regroup and reach for the sky again. As long as the ceiling doesn’t hit you, keep going. Vision without action is a daydream. Action without vision is a nightmare. While you have to keep one eye on the day-to-day tasks, the other eye has to look to the future.

Dr. Neil Goldman, Senior Partner, Goldman Consulting and Strategy,Brett King, author and strategic advisor, hosted a live focus group with local non-members to discover reasons why they don’t bank with credit unions.

The common thread of the conversation was the lack of education when it comes to credit unions. Panelists felt bombarded by banking advertisements and messages but they don’t have see any commercial messages from credit unions. All of them liked the idea that credit unions were non-profit organizations and the depth of ATM locations but felt that credit unions didn’t communicate these benefits appropriately. Panelists believed that membership is a positive term but they also agreed that the term might be a barrier for the outside public. More importantly, they encouraged all credit unions to collaborate on a national awareness campaign. If you don’t have awareness of credit unions, you will never consider them.

Brett King, author and strategic advisor, wrapped up THINK 12 by discussing the role of branches in the 21st century and how the credit union business has to change.

To illustrate the rapid change in consumer behavior, Brett King walked the audience through a day in the life of a 100,000 member credit union: 300 members will call or email the credit union. 850 members will use an ATM machine. 2,25o will use an app to check their balance. 7,780 members will visit their credit credit union website. 80,000 members will use a plastic card. 100 members will visit a branch: 0.1% of your members visit your branch. He likened the branch to the Apple Store and  apps to transactions. Once you start the relationship in the branch (Apple Store), members won’t return to buy apps, they transact on their mobile devices or computer.

Members and prospects have changed their behavior forever, now credit unions have to change their business model and the way they behave. The great advantage of credit unions compared to banks is that members trust them. The biggest challenge for credit unions is to make the initial connection with customers because credit unions still rely on old behavior. Always remember: Banking is no longer a space where you, it’s a thing you do.

We hope THINK 12 provided you with many big ideas, and we’re confident you will take these ideas to the next level until we meet again in Chicago for THINK 13. We’re looking forward seeing you there and continuing the conversation through Facebook and  Twitter.