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Amazon vs. Borders: A Lesson For Credit Unions

By Paul Ablack

s-BORDERS-largeAmazon is featured as an “Analytic Competitor” in the book Competing On Analytics by Thomas H. Davenport and Jeanne G. Harris. At the time of its founding, Amazon was a new entrant in a very mature market. Within ten years it had become a market leader and witnessed the decline and eventual bankruptcy of the Borders Group, one of its most formidable competitors. But why is this story relevant to credit union leaders?

I am an enthusiastic supporter of the flourishing Credit Union movement. Since 2009, the industry has experienced an unprecedented growth in membership, net assets, ROA, and capital. From a business perspective these are noteworthy achievements, but I don’t see a true industry-wide leapfrog strategy in place capable of propelling credit unions into the next competitive tier. I think a lot can be learned from the recent history of Borders and Amazon when I look over the changing landscape of today’s credit unions.

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