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Raise your hand if you woke up at 4am ET this morning? Or in my case 2am MT?

I was getting my hair cut yesterday and Lea, my lovely (and very young) hairdresser asked me if I planned to watch the royal wedding. I told her of course I would – I watched Diana’s wedding, and funeral, I wouldn’t miss this for the world. Lea’s response “How old ARE you?” Indeed.

30 years ago I was 19. I hate math. So why am I self-imposed-sleep-deprived today? Because I’m a girl that grew up with the Disney version of what life could be like. Sunshine, and puppies and happiness and Princes.

I have my own version. I live in the Land of Enchantment (300 days of sunshine a year) I have a Prince (Mark) that makes me laugh every single day. And yesterday I bought my puppy a sandbox to play in.

Here’s to happily ever after…..

The not new New Beetle was unveiled in New York City last week.  Yes, you read that correctly. A new VW Beetle was revealed with the sole purpose of proving that it was NOTHING like a VW Beetle.  Klaus Bischoff, VW Design Chief,  was tired of the Beetle’s flower power image and the fact that 61 percent of New Beetle purchasers in 2010 were women. Blech!

Take that bud vase off that dash. No flowers for you.

You can only order the not new New Beetle in Black (and eventually red and white) No more fun colors for you!

Gone are the circular headlights that looked so much like eyes with droopy lids women would dare to put eyelashes on them. No more fun for you!

I owned a 1973 Super Beetle named Howard, a 1979 VW Beetle Convertible named Marge and a 1999 VW New Beetle named Toonces. I am…..was the Beetle’s target audience. Apparently no more.

This is perhaps the weirdest business strategy I’ve ever heard of. Clearly a loyal audience was established, so let’s destroy it.

The not new New Beetle isn’t a horrible looking car, but all the charm and quirkiness we loved has been engineered out of it.

The only feasible reason for this strategy in my opinion? To make the VW Classic Beetle and the New Beetle (the old one) more valuable.

There is nothing cuter than a puppy. Or wait – a puppy talking! 


Every now and again in my travels I’ll see someone carrying an old Samsonite suitcase. A nice olive green one with buckles. It seems so weird to see a person struggling with the weight of their bag while all those around him/her effortlessly pulling theirs thanks to the amazing invention: wheels on luggage.

But why did this take so long to invent? And why did so many people buy the luggage trolly and still not see that it would be easier to just put the damn wheels ON the luggage?

My mantra this year is from Mr. James Dyson: “Solve the obvious problem that others seem to ignore.”

In the financial world I think we have lots of old olive green suitcases that we’re still lugging around.

# 1- At the top of our list: our hours. I can’t believe we still get away with 9 to 5, Monday thru Friday. And even more amazing – those hours force our members to run their banking errand on their lunch hour AND we close teller windows so our employees can run THEIR errands. Have all teller windows open at lunch = wheels on luggage.

#2 – The switch kit. I don’t know of any bigger pain in the butt than moving your checking account. The switch kits I’ve seen merely illustrate how difficult this is going to be. But I guess it can keep me busy while I wait 7 to 10 days for my debit card and PIN. The human switch kit = wheels on luggage. Do the switching for me.

#3 – Making a deposit. The hardest thing to do with my credit union is to give them money. If I take it to a shared branch location I can count on a hold. If I put it in the ATM, same thing. If I mail it – well – I’m relying on the US Postal Service to deposit my money. Remote Check Scan & Deposit = wheels on luggage.

#4 – The phone. Don’t make me wade through a bunch of marketing messages and “press one for member service.” There’s not a single piece of evidence out there to support this level of ignore – no one asked for it, no one likes it. Answer the phone = wheels on luggage.

Solve the obvious problem that others seem to ignore and you will have your differentiator.

You’re welcome.

It’s finally happening. Banks are giving up on Free Checking. After taxpayer bailouts and posting record profits, it’s not enough. Let’s see how much money we can get from consumers in the worst economy since the Depression.

Now is the time for credit unions to do nothing. Absolutely nothing – and you will be the hero. You will have your differentiator back.

Consider the airline industry. No one charged for bags. Then American airlines had to charge (so they say) and then one-by-one everyone followed. Everyone except Southwest Airlines. And the best part? Marketing decided to flaunt their decision to do nothing in a series of very successful ads.

So please, do nothing.

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April 2011