Napster Poses Lesson For CUs

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MIAMI - (05/01/06) – For credit unions, there's alesson in Napster, the online music file sharing network that waseither famous or infamous, depending on point of view. And thatlesson isn't that people want to download music for free and notpay record companies, according to Mark Meyer, director of theFIlene Research Institute's i3 Group. Meyer kicked off The CreditUnion Journal's Best Practices Conference here by noting that whatcredit unions can learn from Napster is that consumers don't wantSony Records or another company selling them a CD full of music.Instead, people want to burn their own CDs (or download them to ani-Pod), he noted. What did the music industry try to do? he asked.They tried to protect their business model. What about you? Are youstill trying to protect ROA because that's your business model.During his keynote remarks kicking off the Best Practices meeting,Meyer outlined numerous examples of financial institutions,including credit unions, that are doing innovative work. While muchof that is product-focused, he reminded that the credit unionnot-for-profit model should not be overlooked as a sales point.Credit unions say, 'Our members don’t care about being memberowned or democratically run or that we're not for profit.' Ohreally? It's one of your core differentiations and it's not easilyreplicated.

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