In a recent podcast, Tim McAlpine of Currency Marketing posted a great interview with the enigmatic and infamous, CU Skeptic. I love the Skeptic, he always manages to get me thinking about things from a different angle.
During the interview, the topic of innovation was brought up. The Skeptic brought up the fact that some things that are hailed as innovative, like the bankerspank Bank Vs. CU videos and Filene's "save the change" style account, are a bit less progressive than we'd like to think. He also noted a significant disconnect between the innovations being talked about online and what he saw at his local CU.
A couple of great points the Skeptic made:
- True innovation is coming up with something brand new, not altering something that has already been done.
- Innovation is a product of looking to the community you serve and addressing a specific need in a new way.
- Credit Unions have the agility to see things on a local level and provide solutions that are relevant to their local demographic.
I've always thought that credit unions have a built-in advantage when it comes to innovation. We have the ability to know our members and what they want better than any national bank. It is a matter of embracing your membership, getting to know them, and being creative with your approach to the information they provide.
Look around your credit union. Look at what is going on in the environment within which you operate. Look for the positives, the negatives, the problems, and the solutions. Somewhere out there is an issue that can be best addressed by your credit union. Find that something, embrace it, and run with it.