Are Credit Unions Really Successful at Achieving Their Mission?

Bill Brooks, a certified financial planner with CU Prosper, wrote in the Credit Union Times questioning whether credit unions are achieving their mission. From the article:

Do credit unions have an objective system to assess how successful they are reaching out to people of modest means? Are credit unions just wearing white hats of virtue, but do they have no cattle? If Diogenes shined his lamp on your credit union, would he find an honest operation? … With more people on the fringe turning to usurious solutions to their financial needs, the answer seems to be no…

During the reviews of credit union progress we interpret statistics to our own advantage. The driving metric seems to be how many A/B member accounts have been opened. Limited time is given to questioning whether true member relationships are being developed. Lip service may be given to potential members of modest means. No decisive actions are taken because barriers to addressing the needs of potential members are just too high…Today, the transactions are electronic…

Those of modest means are being left behind…Why take on additional expense reaching out to people who don’t meet the numbers? It seems the elected strategy is to compete for more A/B business… Credit unions have become so sophisticated that they fail to serve the desired market.

About Brittany Kleinpaste

Brittany Kleinpaste
Brittany Kleinpaste is director of economic research at ABA, where she covers credit unions and ag banking, among other topics.
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