Credit union executives should take great issue with Ken Bator's column in the Dec. 23 issue of The Credit Union Journal. In it, Mr. Bator advocates a shallow and dangerous course for the credit union movement. It is clear from his comments ("one of the best attributes of this and similar certification programs offered by professional organizations is the cost. These programs are generally thousands less than an MBA degree") that he values initials behind one's name more than knowledge, and the skills that such knowledge can bring.
Most marketing MBAs can intelligently plan the relationship of marketing to asset and liability management with the CFO, member-focused information technology with the CIO, personnel recruitment advantages of deferred compensation packages with the HR director, and strategic organizational dynamics with the CEO. These are essential marketing functions for which no sales, marketing or public relations certification can adequately prepare the credit union marketing executive to do.
While Mr. Bator advocates generic industry certifications, he fails to recognize those offered by the movement's organizations. At the least, credit union industry certifications are specific to the particular needs of the movement, are monitored by industry executives and are widely recognized in the credit union movement.
Not everyone can, nor should they, strive for the attainment of a mid-career MBA. Yes, many certifications are very worthwhile, but none provide the knowledge comparable to the MBA. To advocate that credit union executives substitute general industry certifications for the MBA is, simply, damaging to the movement's future. It serves to perpetuate the image of credit unions being the financially unsophisticated branch of the financial services industry.
Finally, he says "Don't try to compute the ROI. Leave that to the CFO." If one can't compute the projected return of any investment, one doesn't belong in marketing management, nor in credit union management, for that matter.
Ron Gossen, MBA, APR
(Accredited in Public Relations, Public Relations Society of America)
San Antonio, Texas