Talking About 'Banking?' You Shouldn't

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Former CUNA Chairman and Texas league CEO Dick Ensweiler has three other issues he feels need to be addressed:

Quit Saying 'Banking'

* Ensweiler expressed a special irritation at credit unions that use the verb "banking" in their materials. "When I hear bank or banking services I hear high fees and every transaction maximizes profits for the stockholders. It's not a generic term," he said. "Why does it happen? Because marketers are lazy. We are not 'better banking,' we are not 'smarter banking,' or 'The way banking ought to be.' That makes no sense to me. They say 'Dick, get over it. It's generic. It's easy.' We've got to tell consumers there is a huge difference, a distinguishing difference. When we are on Capitol Hill trying to emphasize the difference, and the representative slides back across the table a picture of a credit union billboard that says, 'Better than a bank,' the rep says you say you are no different."

Put Up or Shut Up

* Ensweiler said too few credit unions provide comment letters to NCUA on proposed regulations. For instance, he noted, "I don't believe credit unions were happy with that indirect lending regulation, but if you're not commenting, you are going to be subjected to more of the same."

Being Direct About Indirect

* Indirect loans may boost the loan portfolio, but it does little for building a relationship with that member. "I believe if we are going to get our message across we have a real challenge in indirect," said Ensweiler. "When you make indirect loans that relationship is not formed with the member. People who join credit unions that way know very little about the credit union they are doing business with."

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