America First CU & CU Give

I ran across America First CU today and they seem to know what’s going on. It is one of the better looking CU websites I’ve seen lately (although html and css don’t validate) and the navigation is super easy. They use flash excellently and their ads look amazing. (Check out their press release ads here.)

In addition to having a super site, they are participating with Filene and the CUGive project along with a local competitor here in Oregon, Selco Community CU. CUGive enables your credit union members to volunteer with local charities and other organizations by donating their time.

I love this idea from Filene because it gets to the heart of what credit unions should be about: helping members. Whether is the credit union itself or other members, CU’s exist to benefit all who belong. I applaud Filene, America First, and Selco for taking this wonderfully innovative approach to community service.

Club Med

So my fiancee, I mean wife, and I went to Club Med for our honeymoon last week and was it amazing. Club Med has a very clear vision of what they want their customer experience to be.

If you’ve been to any Club Med, one of the first things you’ll notice is their attention to their customer’s needs and their incredible employees. Their “Chief of Land Sports” not only is in charge of the obvious, but he was in their nightly shows singing, dancing, and acting. The cooking staff even has their own dance! Club Med employees appear to be incredibly friendly, outgoing, flexible, and very knowledgeable about their position. I kept asking myself how can Club Med attract such amazing employees?

Is it the locations? Maybe. We were in the Turks and Caicos islands in the Caribbean, so yeah, the weather was awesome. But Club Med employees move to the middle of nowhere and leave their family behind, and spend most of their time in the village as most don’t have cars.

Is it the pay? Rumor has it pay was only about $200 a week. It’s almost like joining the military, but without the monetary benefits.

Whatever they are doing, I found myself saying they should write a book about how they attract such talented, bi-lingual employees from all over the globe.

I think that a CU conference should rent an entire village out (yes, you can do that) just to study the customer experience that Club Med provides.

GonzoBanker and the BAI conference

Cruising through Terence Roche & Steve Williams article about the BAI conference this past week and came across this wonderful little nugget in their post:

The most interesting thing to watch will be if banks (insert CU’s here) can really let go. Are we really serious about letting the front line drive the place, or will our industry just slip back to aimlessly giving compliments to Starbucks and Steve Jobs?

Read the full GonzoBanker post here.

Everyone in the online community and in some of the conferences around the country have been talking about member-centric this and movement vs industry that. All I’m seeing is talk. CU’s like to think innovatively, but the execution seems pretty poor. I’m going to an little seminar shortly called “Expertise – The Innovation Killer”. I never would have thought expertise is bad, but in my personal experience, it is the “experts” that hold back the innovation in our industry.

How many experts to you have in your CU (or company)?