BY LARRY HAYES
Why does your credit union do what it does? The answer to this question holds the key clarifying your purpose. The how and what are no longer enough. Armed with the answer to this important question, your CU can begin to truly channel all its decisions, actions and communications.
CU Holding Company, LLC, created in 2003 by Mazuma Credit Union, was formed as a holding company with a mission of developing innovative CUSOs to effectively serve credit unions and CUSOs of all sizes as well as their members and clients. At the time we began, the economy was moving along and the housing market was really heating up. Within five years, the banking crisis changed the game for credit unions. The increasing scrutiny of operations, service providers, compliance and expense management for our industry required us to reevaluate our CUSOs. We looked deeper than just at how and what we were doing; we wanted to review the why we do what we do. Through this effort, we are able to truly clarify our purpose, which is “to be of service.”
For instance, Beyond Marketing, now BYM Agency, was the first CUSO developed under CU Holding. The agency’s original brand message was focused around revenue and return on investment (ROI). The rationale for this messaging was to remind our credit union clients that marketing and communicating with your members should consistently be a priority, but it is often the first budget line item to be reduced when income is a concern. To this day, we continue to estimate and report on marketing ROI for our clients, but it isn’t our lead brand message. BYM Agency shares the CU Holding purpose, but how it engages the industry and what it does to support it intentionally differs from other CUSOs. Our CUSOs believe in serving credit unions and CUSOs to improve the lives of their members and communities. Revenue and better outcomes for all are the result.
To us, the general credit union philosophy of “people helping people” is easily distilled into the primary purpose of effectively improving our community and the people who live there. Understanding this, we can begin to truly channel all decisions, actions and communications. We can develop financial products and services, etc., and we can deliver them in unique ways that satisfy the industry we serve. In the process, we can drive the decisions and directives of each job and department within our CUSOs.