Dykstra: CUs Must Find Ways to Remain Relevant

Target generation Y, she advises, and embrace mobile banking.

September 25, 2013
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Diana Dykstra

The world is changing quickly, and credit unions must continuously look for ways to remain relevant to current and potential members, California & Nevada Credit Union League CEO Diana Dykstra told attendees of the combined conference of the CUNA Technology Council and the CUNA Operations, Sales & Service Council Tuesday in Hollywood, Calif.

“Sometimes we spend too much time focusing on the way things were and not enough time thinking about what's coming,” she says. “Baby boomers helped credit unions grow, but they're deleveraging now and they're not going to become net borrowers again. They’re done.

“Today’s net borrowers are age 18 to 34, but that age group is under-represented among credit union members. We have to do something about that.”

Dykstra urges credit unions to target generation Y, the 78 million-strong generation of young adults. “They represent your future borrowers, but 71% of Gen Y have no idea what a credit union is, and more than half of the unbanked belong to Gen Y. This generation represents a tremendous opportunity for credit unions, but a lot of younger consumers just don't want relationships with traditional financial institutions.”

She also cites the growing importance of mobile banking, which “represents the greatest opportunity for credit unions and the greatest threat. “You must offer your members seamless access across all delivery channels. Your members won't tolerate disjointed delivery channels.

“Branch traffic declined for the first time in 2012,” Dykstra continues. “About 80% of consumers now visit a branch only once per quarter. And their top three reasons for visiting a branch are problem-resolution, executing a process that’s too complex to execute online, and to physically sign a document.”

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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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