Focusing On The Fundamentals Will Help CUs Stay Competitive

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CINCINNATI-Credit unions don't need to do anything special when it comes to planning for 2012, according to one executive, as long as they keep their focus on what has made credit unions unique and engendered member loyalty.

"Focusing on the fundamentals will help credit unions continue to be hyper-competitive in the marketplace" during 2012, said Royal Cole, president of financial institution services at Vantiv, the payment processor formerly known as Fifth Third Processing Solutions. "That's going to drive their competitive position in the marketplace," he continued, adding that consumers will make their decisions "based on service and value. If you focus on that, you will be well served."

Cole added that re-examining a CU's card portfolio to ensure the right product mix should be part of 2012 planning in order to ensure the CU remains ahead of its market.

"At the end of the day, I think most credit unions fall into the [under $10-billion] interchange category, particularly around debit, and maximizing their interchange possibilities in card portfolios, having the right credit and pre-paid offerings and bringing that all together gives the respective credit union a powerful portfolio with which to offer the right choices to members."

He added that members notice when a credit union offers product choice and control, "and I think that's something consumers value."

Cole stressed performing due diligence around all card programs, and said CUs should continue to keep an eye out for all opportunities to increase revenue, decrease expenses, "and ultimately find the right solutions for your financial institution that help monitor and mitigate losses."

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