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I’m in St. Pete’s Beach, Florida attending and speaking at Ondine Irving’s Credit Card SchoolImage. I’m a big fan of Ondine, and spoke for her school last year where I sat in on one session. That’s when I realized it truly is a school – not a conference or a workshop. She assigns homework, she makes her students work with REAL data – not theory. And I know now, it’s kinda hard. 

Yesterday when we went around the room for introductions Ondine revealed that one attendee was basically “her” on the debit card side. She was building a consulting business to help credit unions navigate the increasingly complex world of the debit card. And I was thinking “Why would Ondine do that?” Why would she welcome her competition? And that’s when it hit me. Ms. Irving is a specialist – in CREDIT cards. She is the most knowledgeable person in the industry. She is not trying to be all things to all people. Later in the bar I asked her about it and she said “I don’t have the time to become the expert in debit.”

Notice how she said expert. Not just learn about them – become the expert. 

Is your credit union the expert in a product or service? Are you even above average at anything? If you could only offer ONE product – what would it be and why? 

That’s the biggest lesson I’ve learned this week. Go big or go home. 

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June 2012