Credit unions are going through an identity crisis. No, our employees aren’t blowing their retirement savings on hairpieces, plastic surgery, and fancy sports cars. This crisis has more to do with us maturing as a segment of the financial services industry. We still like to think that we are your grandfather’s credit union. I mean, we still exist with only one purpose – service to our member-owners (read: you). We still operate according to the guidance and wishes of our volunteer Board of Directors, who are elected by our member-owners (read: you). We still operate under tight budgets so that we can provide the highest account returns, the most favorable loan terms, and the fewest/lowest fees possible. We are still Members Credit Union.
My, how we have grown, though…
Your grandfather’s credit union probably offered a share (savings) account of some sort, a secured loan, and some variation of a signature loan. Certainly, this cannot be construed as full-service banking, but during a great part of last century credit unions did savings accounts and small loans better than anyone. Therein lies part of the problem. When you do something so well for so many years, the public ends up knowing you just for that.
Imagine if John Deere developed the best performing bicycle ever. Bicycles and tractors are both pieces of machinery. Both have wheels. Both have steering mechanisms. Both could even be painted green. Would John Deere be able to sell these bicycles? Maybe. Maybe not. The simple fact is John Deere is known as a tractor and farm machinery manufacturer. Even if their engineers were perfectly qualified to design and build bicycles, they would have a tough time convincing consumers like you of that (although, a John Deere green bike may be pretty neat)!
My point is simply this: Members Credit Union still offers the best savings accounts, vehicle loans, and personal loans you can find. Period. What we need to do a better job of, though, is letting you know about the vast portfolio of personal finance solutions we have developed that can truly see you through every step of your life. From share certificates to mortgage loans, investment services to free checking accounts, online bill pay to online account access, retirement accounts to trust services – Members Credit Union offers all the products and services of a goliath bank, with the member-centric mission and structure of a credit union.
So help us with this identity crisis. Help spread the word that it certainly is possible to combine the family feel of your grandfather’s credit union with the multitudes of modern personal finance conveniences that now grace our growing product and service offerings. In the meantime, try to look the other way if you see a grown man riding a green bike while listening to an iPod. It’s just a spell!