The Credit Union Social Media Disconnect

Do I really care about the latest marketing campaign that XYZ Credit Union is doing? “Have you seen the video on YouTube by GenY Star? It would make the perfect national marketing campaign,” bleets many of the social media sheep in the credit union industry.

Do you know why most credit union CEO’s don’t blog and aren’t on Twitter? Because nothing important happens in the credit union blogosphere. Yeah, we all get to network, see what each other are doing, and maybe catch a pearl of wisdom here and there. But the bottom line is the important stuff, the game changing stuff, is never really talked about online. Changes to the member business lending cap. That’s a game changer. A partnership developed between FSCC, CUSC, PSCU, Fidelity, etc that enables all credit unions to become shared branches automatically. That’s a game changer.

I’ll bet we could fill an airplane with all the people in the credit union social media space. Literally. What would happen if that plane went down? Nothing. That’s right, nothing.  Now imagine filling that plane with the CEO’s of the credit union leagues, trade associations, CUSO’s, and credit unions. We would have a catastrophe. Innovation would be ground to a halt. The real partnerships and collaborations that were happening, albeit on a small scale, would cease.

Tim McAlpine recent wrote on the CUES blog about using social media to advanced your career. And he is 100% right. Social media can help to get your name out there. But we in the social media blogosphere need a greater goal than getting 500 twitter followers or blog subscribers. Trey Reeme and I recently had a conversation about this issue of social media being disconnected from the important things in the industry. Daily life at a credit union isn’t glamorous and fun. It is trying to find a way to help a teller do a process 1 minute faster. It is about finding a better checking product to match up with the maturity of your credit card portfolio. It is about patterning with neighborhood credit unions to form a multi-owned business CUSO to get around an individual credit union’s business lending cap because a.) business loans are profitable and b.) members need them.

If a flood was coming to the credit union industry, would you be invited onto Noah’s Ark to weather the storm? Right now, I wouldn’t be. And I’m not going to stop fighting for the credit union industry until I am.

Starting small with collaboration

In a perfect world CUNA, NAFCU, NACUSO, CUES, WOCCU, and the rest of the credit union alphabet soup would be lovey dovey, get along great, find ways to work together, etc, etc.  Maybe we’d even get a national campaign out of it.  Milk can do it.  Pork can do it.  Even pistachios have joined the club recently.  Regardlesss, I digress.

Most talk I hear about and around CU collaboration these days seems to be these organizations getting together with committees or advisory boards.  And that’s about where it ends.  Death by committee.  The same reason a national campaign will most likely never take off.  Too many minds and opinions.  So rather than be destined to languishing in committees, why can’t credit unions start small with some type of functional collaboration?

If you had to pick a small, functional area for half-a-dozen credit unions to partner with, what would it be?  Something simple like website hosting, but full featured?  Phone system stuff?  ACH origination?  What is something small that credit unions could experiment with together?

What to do with

I’ve been sitting on the domain for a while now and the offer to help CU’s spin up a blog for free proved to be less than popular.  I’ve got the domain now and I’m willing to do whatever with it.

I can’t remember where I heard it, but a user-generated site that lists all of the credit unions that blog would be cool.  That way the busy executive can skip having to look around and follow everyone.  Something like Yahoo Pipes would work but somehow let everyone add sites on to the list.

Maybe donate it to CUES or Callahan or somebody and let them run the list?


Trying to get caught up after the CUES Experience

Like Brent mentioned at OSCU a few days I ago, I’ve been putting off writing another entry in my blog until I can make it perfect and in the mean time it’s been like 3 weeks since I posted.  Way to long.

The CUES Experience rocked.  It was the youngest credit union conference I have been to yet.  It was very refreshing to see so many new credit union people and young professionals excited about credit unions.

Kuhlmann from ING gave it to the credit unions.  He rocked.  If a bank can be so focused on their story that they fire customers, why can’t CU’s.  It makes me sad that so many CU’s are going after growth for the sake of growth with community charters and are trying to be everything to everyone.  Stick with your story, but find new ways to make it work!  Your story rocks!  Use it.

It’s no Keynote, but…

I put together my first presentation for CUES earlier this week and posted the preview to it on the fi-linx blog.  My goal was to have zero bullet points.  Deposit Reclassification is a very boring, detailed topic that is not very interested to anyone but a CFO so I tried to make it half-way entertaining.  Needless to say, if you ever wanted to know what I really do, take a look at the presentation.  The download has all of the notes for each slide as well.  It is designed for me to walk the audience through the concept so it may make more sense with the notes.

I intently studied some of Tim’s awesome presentations with Keynote and I was very impressed.  Keynote rocks, but I’ll leave the crapple* to the apple “fan boys”.   And Denise.

*crapple – combintation of crack apple or crap apple, depending on your point of view.