There’s nothing like a good ol’ recession to make us question everything. It’s been said that people work together best, when there’s a crisis. That’s when we really pull together as a team.

Well, we’re in a crisis. So forgive me if I’m blunt, but these times give me no choice.

Here are the brutal facts:

  • Credit unions are literally dying of old age. I met a CU professional yesterday who told me the average age of their membership was 71. I replied “Are you sure that’s not the average age of your board?” Nope. The members. Then I asked the obvious, “What’s your loan-to-share ratio?” He just chuckled.
  • This year Generation Y will outnumber the Baby Boomers (the largest generation in US history). Boomers are beginning to die. The youngest Gen Yer is getting their driver’s license next year. The oldest will turn 36. There are 70 million of them. In two years they will all be old enough to enter into a legal contract (get a loan on their own).
  • Mathematically speaking credit unions did not need Generation X (the smallest generation in US history). Therefore we didn’t bother to market to them, or figure them out, or listen to them or even begin to understand what the next generation will demand. This is largely the cause of the 48 year old member age average, and why it still climbs.
  • Credit union members aged 25 to 42 have dropped by 17% in the past two decades. These are our prime borrowers.
  • The proliferation of community chartered credit unions (post HR 1151) did not result in increased market share for the industry. Rather, membership flatlined for the first time in history.
  • The majority of the sitting credit union CEOs are within 5 years of retirement. They can see the finish line. Consequently, many of them will put blinders on to avoid distraction. They are entering the lame duck phase, and are not likely to make any big changes.
  • Mergers will be used as big fat band-aids. But the wound will not heal. It will begin to fester.
  • Social media is not a fad. It’s a fundamental shift in the way we communicate. If you don’t get it, embrace it, and practice it – you’re toast.
  • The recession and NCUA assessments sanction inaction.
  • Shiny happy stock art people used in marketing will kill us. Cut it out!
  • You cannot calculate an ROI for every damn thing. It’s an excuse we hide behind so we don’t have to take a risk.
  • Brittany S. Pearce is a better performer than Britney Spears. (I’m a Gleek)
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