Six Insights That Might Keep You Up at Night

CUNA's E-Scan report is full of insights, revelations, and snarly comments.

November 19, 2010
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I really like to read CUNA's Credit Union Environmental Scan Report (E-Scan), especially on those nights when I’ve substituted apple juice with high-octane coffee, and ingested 15 cups of it.

It’s not that the information isn’t useful. Quite the contrary, it’s so full of information that, around page 23 of this 104-page behemoth, your brain will explode.

Don’t tell me I didn’t warn you.

I know what you’re thinking: “You mean explode, just like the last time I read the National Cred­it Union Administration board’s explanation of the corporate bailout?”

James Collins
James Collins is Credit Union Magazine's humor columnis.

Exactly. In any event, I read the tome and managed to glean a few revelations that stuck with me:

1. My dream of becoming the world’s best shrub planter is still alive. Yep, the growth of landscaping jobs exceeds even that of computer programmers. And, from experience, they perform a more essential function.

In fact, there are plenty of jobs and careers expected to have strong growth over the next few years—all of which are outside our current targeted demographic. This leaves us in a quandary—ignore the trends or change our demographic.

2. Consumers are dumb. Okay, that’s not exactly what the report says. I was paraphrasing. Actually, it says you wouldn’t believe the junk consumers will put up with from their existing banks—high fees, hid­den charges, variable rates, and more.

None of it is quite enough to force them elsewhere. It’s like the boiled frog analogy. If you place them in boiling water, they’ll immediately jump out. But if you place them in cold water and then slowly turn up the heat, you’ll have frog soup in no time.

3. Your credit union will have a social media site. Tired of the debate over whether it should have one? Let’s put it this way. While it might not be created by your personnel, and it might be created by some fanatical upset member, the truth is you will have that site (imagine “blogspot.ihatexyzcu.com”).

4. Financial institutions overbuilt. Even after the failure of some 73 banks in 2010 alone (as of May), including the likes of Washington Mutual, we still face lackluster demand. I might not be a rocket scientist, but if you slash supply, and demand still drops, that’s not a good balance.

5. Politics stinks. It doesn’t matter who did what or who’s in charge. The only question on people’s minds: “How can we never have this happen again?”

This leaves all of us—banks, credit unions, and thrifts alike—in an increasingly regulated environment.

Five insights gleaned from 104 pages doesn’t sound like much (unless it’s a senior thesis), but it’s a start. Many other ideas, suggestions, and snarly comments appear in the E-Scan. It’s well worth the read.

And the restful nights are free.

JAMES COLLINS is CEO at O Bee CU, Tumwater, Wash. Contact him at 360-943-0740.

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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