In Credit Unions We Trust

Our members, consumers, business partners, regulators and, yes, even banks rely on a strong and thriving credit union community. They provide financial stability, regulate for-profit pricing, provide jobs, launch businesses, build wealth, and more. It’s a great weight to bear, but credit unions are perfectly suited for the challenge.

As auto loan growth slows, demographics shift and the market changes with new fintech entrants and ridesharing programs, how can financial institutions respond in a way that is relevant, promotes growth, and bolsters the likelihood of future financial stability? Does the future of credit unions lie in a bifurcation of large and small? Taxation in exchange for broader authorities? How can tiny little ol’ credit unions collaboratively compete in the world of Apple and Amazon as it pertains to service, strategic data mining, and developing useful business insights? What role does modernizing board governance play?

These are the big questions, and ones that the Mitchell Stankovic & Associates’ Underground Community is willing to tackle. On Sunday, March 10, we gathered in Washington, DC, the hot seat of politics and extreme economic diversity, to address them during an Underground Collision. That’s why GDS Link proudly supports this program and its values. We commit time, money, and intellectual capital to the Underground effort because we believe in credit unions, their mission, and values. We are emotionally and financially invested in their future.

GDS Link firmly believes in expanding access to credit in a responsible manner to help consumers build wealth more efficiently, particularly those who have lower incomes, live in economically challenged communities, and are seeking help to better position themselves financially for the future. So, as auto loan growth slows, what avenues should credit unions and other community financial institutions explore? Refinancing cars at better rates could be a start. Exploring nonprime lending, digging into those credit union roots of truly knowing your borrowers’ character, capacity, capital, and conditions – not just a credit score – could be another option to consider.

None of that is new, but it can be supported and delivered in new ways. Is there a kernel of an idea niggling around the back of your head, an itch your brain just can’t scratch, asking why isn’t anyone doing X? If so, you’re the leaders we’re looking for to join the Underground in our quest for discussion, debate, and action!

We’ve all heard, car loans are slowing, the housing market is cooling some, millennials are wary of debt and already overwhelmed with student loans. What can we do to help? How do we dive into the heart of these issues and really find a helpful, personalized yet scalable, profitable solution for them? How can we make consumers’ lives easier?

Take that nugget of an idea and test the waters. Accept failure and learn from it – that’s the only truly way to be successful in the long haul. Don’t wait for perfection. Perfect kills pretty darn good! Fail forward faster! We love this blog from South Bay Credit Union CEO Jen Oliver in which she explains how her credit union’s strategy has innovation funds baked right in to take incremental steps toward success – or failure. South Bay CU is just over $100 million in assets, proving you don’t have to be large to generate large impact!

The point is if we try and fail, we learn something for the next time. If we try and succeed, we could be onto something really meaningful for the future of credit unions, consumers – everyone! But, if we don’t try anything at all, if we stay dug in with a ‘this is how we’ve always done it’ mindset, that is the only real failure.

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From loan originations and decisioning, to customer management and beyond, GDS Link helps thousands of clients manage risk while driving growth.