PROFIT: It’s a Beautiful, Credit Union Thing


By Laura Enock

The word “profit” alone is enough to make many credit union executives scramble to explain that credit unions are NOT for profit: they always put members before numbers. However, the reality in today’s world is that if you’re not focused on your credit union as a business, you cannot take survival for granted. After all, that’s why you read Credit Union Business, right?

Cathy Graham, VP of Marketing at Desert Schools Federal Credit Union had doubts about bringing profit into the marketing picture until the recession forced DSFCU to work smarter and become a leaner business. The credit union’s MCIF system had the capacity to track this kind of information, but it simply hadn’t been a priority. 2008’s financial crisis made it priority one.

Screen Shot 2013-07-10 at 10.59.26 AMIn July of 2011, Desert Schools completed a membership profitability analysis to determine which members were profitable, which were unprofitable, what factors lead to profitability, and what factors had no bearing on profitability. “I’ve worked for three credit unions in the past twenty two years,” Graham says, “and whenever something changes, both employees and members express concern that we may be turning into a bank.” However, Graham and her team knew that in order for the credit union to make pricing decisions that would benefit the entire cooperative, they had to understand where the true revenue was coming from.

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