On April 5th, as most of you already know, I attended BarCampBank NE. While in the sessions I tried my best to do some live tweeting of my favorite quotes. I went back and read them and found that they contained some information that I missed in my original recap of the day. Taking a cue from Morriss Partee, Here are a few of them and what I took away from them.
During our first discussion session, David Inverarity posed the question, “shouldn’t we have a system so that our members get a say in where our donations go? It is their money after all.” This struck a chord (might I say an epic power chord) with me.
Where does all this donation money come from? Well, from the members of course. This money would usually be redistributed out to members in the form of dividends. Because we use it for donations, the members don’t technically get a return on it. It is money that would otherwise go back into their pockets, so why shouldn’t we consult them as to where we donate their money?
Later in the morning, Ron Shevlin offered some sage insight. It might even be my favorite quote from the whole day. As I mentioned previously in this post, Gene Blishen had just finished describing how Mt. Lehman Credit Union offers large tents to members for weddings or other gatherings. Ron chimed in saying, “Its not about the stories we tell members, its about the stories they tell themselves.”
What is it about your brand that keeps people coming back? What story do they tell themselves in their minds that makes them choose you over the bank down the street? Everybody has a reason for using the same brand over and over. We, as credit unions, talk about the importance of telling your brands story, but it is even more important to create stories that the members tell themselves.
Later in the evening, my final tweeted quote came from Morriss Partee during a great conversation concerning the merging of credit unions. He posed the question “will P2P lending move in to fill the void as the number of small credit unions and community banks decreases?”
There is a general push for credit unions (and banks too) to get larger and larger. Many credit unions are merging with smaller institutions and the small credit union seems to be somewhat of a dying breed.
There is a need for a feeling of community. It is the reason social networking has exploded the way it has. The same goes for P2P lending. People like to feel like they are part of a unique social circle and companies like Zopa and Prosper are catering to that through social lending.
As the number of small credit unions decreases due to mergers and other factors, P2P lenders may move in to pick up the people who seek a personal touch in their banking. How can a large credit union hold on to that personal service with so many members?