Even If You Could Go Back In Time, Who'd Believe You?
The scene: Your credit union's boardroom, circa 1993. Present are board members and the CEO.
The scenario: Thanks to the latest fee-driven service from your trade association, you've been whisked 10 years back in time in
Chairman Gus: OK, thanks, Wally, for all your committee's excellent work on the new golf shirts, and for all your work testing
You: (excited) Yes, thank you and thanks to all the board. We have an extraordinary opportunity-which I can't really explain right
Chairman Gus: I already have. I put 10,000 bucks in Encylopedia Britannica stock today. The world will always need
You: Yes, um, well... What I'm really talking about is getting more of our members online. We...
Vice Chairman Wally: Online! For crying out loud, we just budgeted for another branch to get our members out of line.
You: No, I mean online electronically. (Silence in the board room as you look around and realize you'll be seeing the same faces
Chairman Gus: You want us to electrocute every member waiting online?
Vice Chairman Wally: (Warming to the idea) You know, that just might work. But what about those pesky, micromanaging
You: Not electocution. Electronic! We'll serve members electronically. Ten years from now-I believe I can say with some
Vice Chairman Wally: (disbelieving) Are you trying to tell us you believe people are going to all have computers in their houses?
You: (Still seeking to get the board to take you seriously.) I believe we are seeing, and are going to see, significant improvements
Chairman Gus: (incredulous) Are you suggesting we keep our offices open 24 hours a day, seven days a week? Weren't you here
You: Excuse me, no. We won't need anyone here. The computers in people's houses will talk to our computers here, without any
Vice Chairman Wally: You may be on to something. I just read that Clinton health plan proposal today, and the only way we may
Chairman Gus: (frowning at you) And just how do you propose we talk to members when they have questions?
You: People will communicate with e-mail. We'll be their trusted advisor, because we won't be sending them any spam.
Chairman Gus: Spam! Why would we send anyone cans of Spam? Is this some type of bizzarre marketing promotion?
Vice Chairman Wally: You know my wife, Peggy, she can really make a mean Spam casserole. You'd never know it's Spam. It's...
You: OK, forget that for just a moment. What I'm trying to say is that commerce is moving toward cyberspace, and we can begin
Chairman Gus: Now we're not only open all the time, but operating branches in space? (Heretofore silent Treasurer Bud perks up
You: Cyberspace-it means the electronic environment all around us. People are going to surf (more strange looks from the board;
Vice Chairman Wally: Dottie Cohm! I used to be sweet on her.
Chairman Gus: Let me see if I can sum up what you're saying: You want us to tell our members to go away-and those that don't
Vice Chairman Wally: Is this going to take much longer? I told my grandson I'd be home in time to watch the Prince Fresh show
You: (defeated, reduced to blabbering.) Please, listen, the future is right there. Act now and we can sieze it!
Chairman Gus: OK, let's move to to the next item on the agenda. A bank in North Carolina has filed a lawsuit over field of
Frank J. Diekmann is editor of The Credit Union Journal. He can be reached at fdiekmann