Best & Worst Practices; Why 'Likes' Don't Matter

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If you're a reader of Credit Union Journal then it means you're still standing. And if you're still standing, it means you've developed and refined some Best Practices over the past few years, even if you haven't formally thought of them as such.

Maybe you've found a way to redeploy personnel so member service isn't compromised but costs are reduced. Perhaps you've found ways to squeeze a bit more return out of that investment portfolio. Perchance you've found a nice, effective loan niche. Or maybe you've developed a new technology or repurposed an old one, or have made a process improvement in New Accounts that has increased product penetration, or done any of a thousand other things, big and small, to improve your business.

Credit Union Journal is now calling for entries for our 2012 Best Practices Awards. As we have in years past we've made it as easy as we can to enter and share your innovations. The criteria could not be simpler:

The Best Practice must have been deployed since May 1, 2011; the entry should include 500 words or fewer providing background info/results; and the nomination should include as many tangible measures as practical. There are no formal categories or asset size divisions. No forms to fill out. Just drop myself ( or Managing Editor Lisa Freeman ( a note outlining the above.

Our goal is to further the CU community's growth by leveraging the cooperative spirit. Let's hear from you.


Marketing dollars can be one of the most frustrating line items in the budget for many CFOs and CEOs. It can be difficult to directly correlate dollars to results, as the old adage about knowing that only half of all advertising works, but not knowing which half. It seems to many non-marketers the credit union is promoting the same messages over and over and over. Why can't you just tell it once and move on to the next promotion?

Here's why: People don't pay attention. Even when they say they're paying attention, they're not paying attention. Need an example? On a recent flight to Wichita for a Kansas CU Association meeting, the flight attendant approached a row of fliers and asked for their attention, saying, "Are you aware you are sitting in an exit row, and are you ready and willing to comply with instructions and assist in the event of an emergency, including operating the emergency door?"

Each of the six people in the row looked up from their various PDAs and reading material, gave a verbal "yes" as they are required to, and indicated they stood ready, willing and able to assist. The problem? None of them was in the exit row. There was no emergency door in the row, not that one of them noticed. The flight attendant had lost her place and had addressed the wrong row.

If people can disregard something that vitally important, imagine what they're doing with your checking account promotions.


I sat through an informal discussion group on the ongoing evolution in technology recently in New York. Among the bits and bytes of observations shared:

• "Several years ago podcasts mattered. Today they don't matter. The white paper is next. It's going to be replaced by video. Video is the new branding."

• "The recession had almost no effect on adoption of new technology. We are now close to a 50% penetration with smartphones. Even the lowest income levels of youth are finding ways to get smartphones. What that means is they will be entering the management ranks and we need to speak to them in their lingua franca."

• Social networks have bypassed portals. The idea that appeals now is the 'trusted reference.'"

• Who 'likes' you on Facebook was big in 2010; now it's about 'who are these people?'"

Frank J. Diekmann can be reached at

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