Doug Rauch and Jeff Norris together with Caroline Lane, SVP Business Development and Marketing, CO-OP, and Jeff Russell, CEO/President, TMG Financial Services discussed how creativity and agility can reinvent your credit union.

Being agile when everything is on the line is critical.

It’s important to stay consistent with your vision but be flexible with your tactics. The panelists agreed that the vision for credit unions is there but they often don’t take enough risks and stick to proven but now less effective tactics. Credit Unions need to embrace the financial crisis and deliver diverse, customized experiences. Why would you try to emulate the opposite of the giant, faceless Wall Street giant? Be yourself, be authentic.

Technology can never replace human-to-human interaction but technology can be used to humanize the credit union-member relationship. Technology as a facilitator to enhance the relationship with members. When you deploy technology, your primary goal should be offer value to members (Netflix and Amazon with their recommendation engine) and not used as data-mining opportunity with no value for members.

“If you’re not willing to risk the unusual, you will have to settle for the ordinary.” – Jim Rohn

Everybody wants to embrace risk. However, how can credit unions integrate risj into their business model? You can’t just trick yourself that there is a non-risky path to take. Everything you do is risky. Ironically, people get people promoted in credit unions to manage risk. Once they are on the executive level, it’s a major culture change for them to switch from risk-averse to risk-taking. Doug Rauch mentioned that specific industries will never take certains risks: Trader Joe’s would never risk the safety of food, credit unions shouldn’t risk their assets. Risk-taking has to be calculated and focused, in Trader Joe’s case service, marketing and delivery. What risks should credit unions take?

Community + Locality

How can credit unions try to address new communities on social platforms and tap into the trend that everything is local now? This local and communal feeling translates directly into trust. Credit Unions should share their local initiatives and marketing tactics with the movement. At the heart of the credit union industry is collaboration and cooperation – an important skill in the 21st century.

How to market to women

Human-centered design: Create solutions for people by studying and observing them. Don’t just ask them what they want, study them and ask them questions. Women are constantly distracted, anything that requires a lot of study and a long attention span will fail. Making it easier for people to get things done: Don’t look at your credit union site as a pure marketing tool, see it through the eyes of consumers. Explore the needs of your members and prospects. In general, the Emotional Quotient is more important for women than the IQ, connecting emotionally with your credit union.

Focus on the frontline staff

They are often the most important and personal connection with your members. Wouldn’t it be worth a massive investment to make the frontline experience for members delightful and enchanting?


– To embrace risk within the credit union and board, fail forward.

– How do we create engagement with a new generation of customers?

– Try to find ways to cooperate with other people to be able to focus on your members’ needs.

– Find the key critical element that matters to your members and excel in that element. Great companies don’t excel at everything, they are good at 1-2 things.