‘It’s Not Me, It’s You’

Ending a relationship can be painful, even if it’s with a bank.

December 11, 2011
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It’s difficult to end a relationship. Breakups can be painful. People who avoid conflict often limp along in unhealthy relationships until they reach a certain pain threshold, and then they say, “Enough is enough, I’m moving on.”

And so it is with thousands of consumers and their banks. Many consumers knew they were in unhealthy relationships but they hadn’t reached that pain threshold until some megabanks decided to charge monthly debit card fees.

Consumers were outraged. Banks tried to shift the blame to Congress for reducing debit card fee income, but it didn’t work.

The consumer backlash caused banks to back down. The Facebook-fueled Bank Transfer Day got banks thinking they had awakened a sleeping giant. Because banks backed off their fee plans, many consumers chose to stay in those unhealthy relationships, which is sad.

But thousands of consumers decided enough was enough. They broke off their bank relationships—as painful as it was—and moved on.

Today, they’re healthier. They’re credit union members. The healing has started.

The buzz in the exhibit hall and break-out sessions at the Bank Administration Institute’s Retail Delivery Conference in October was all about how important it will be for credit unions to have seamless, online account-opening processes in place for this wave of new members.

The wave hit last month with Bank Transfer Day, but credit union marketing campaigns should be able to keep the momentum going well into 2012.

This month’s feature articles will help your credit union sustain that membership-growth momentum. Our cover story presents effective membership-growth strategies and tactics for overcoming consumers’ lack of awareness of credit unions (“Anyone fed up with banks?”).

Another article provides strategies for attracting younger members and strengthening your credit union’s prospects for future loan growth (“In search of Gen Y”).

STEVE RODGERS is editor of Credit Union Magazine.

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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 ( 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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