Clarifying Context of Remarks
During the recent National Directors Conference I presented a lot of data and analysis in a very short period of time and perhaps this made for a lack of clarity in your Aug. 27 report.
In quoting Mark Twain, "travel is fatal to bigotry, prejudice and ignorance" I introduced the idea that travel (in this case the need for CUs to reduce reliance on peer analysis and increase their knowledge of their competition's performance on key metrics) can lead to a better understanding of how banks are able to generate superior earnings and growth and, importantly how they're able to and the role regulations play in enabling/inhibiting performance.
The column reporting the session seems to imply that traveling in the traditional sense is the cure. Also, my comment was that the hoopla surrounding the Wings/Continental story got "silly," not that the event itself was silly.
Finally, the point on growth is subtle yet important. Part of the reason growth is so important (and the lack of CU growth so alarming), is that in a commodity based business such as consumer lending, the institution increases profit dollars only by innovation, fees or more volume (more customers). In order to fund the future needs of current members, CUs will need more members. Thus, growth is not a choice, growth is a must. Having conducted dozens of competitive analysis for CUs over the years, I can say the findings never fail to increase awareness and understanding which leads to more clarity on "how" to both add customers and increase earnings.
Peter Duffy, Sandler O'Neil, New York.