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BALTIMORE-The 5% decline in overall CU lending in the first quarter has one vendor predicting that more credit unions will focus on non-lending products to drive revenue.

"It's clear, other sources of revenue are going to be key," reminded Todd Schubert, business unit leader Creditor Resources Inc. Schubert said CRI is now looking at products such as term life. "Credit unions need something to increase their profitability."

Add-ons to lending products, like credit disability, debt protection, and mortgage life and disability will continue to be important, but the struggles with lending demand looking elsewhere. "We are directing R&D dollars toward things like an e-commerce based platform for life insurance sales, where members could purchase insurance via the credit union's website," Schubert explained. "We are also looking at some opportunities around long-term care with the aging population, and alternatives to lending-based insurance products."

CRI has placed many of these concepts in front of a CU advisory group to determine what its customers' needs will be. Schubert believes credit unions must ramp up cross-sale training to prepare for employees to sell new products. "With lending down, if employees are not making loans they need to occupy their time with some form of cross sales."

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