2020 has become the year in which it’s popular to have the discussions you wished you never had to have
A few people reached out to me based on being contacted by promoters of this topic (mergers)/conference/consulting approach. They were less than excited about the whole deal. But based on the year we are having as American citizens this might be the most modest of insults to one’s senses. I will not bore you with a long list of topics that we are all researching, staring at in disbelief, or counseling our friends and family about in this political, pandemic, and overall just chaotic-charged-debate season. You all have your top 10, or should I say bottom 10 headline grabbing crap to think about.
As to this one, consolidation is a fact of our business environment today. From CUs to CU vendors, to trade, and hopefully eventually regulators – options are declining, ideas are merging, and new competitive challenges and opportunities are emerging. 2021 and 2022 will be much of the same, and unfortunately the general business community will join us as all business segments reinvent themselves in a changing, devolving, and fearful confirmation of the “pandemic-charged” way to do things.
Government no longer has to spend the time to create laws, evolve regulation, or even consider the enforcements of mandates. Government now just assumes mandates are enough to move the majority of the herd out of the way. Sure, at the edge their will be dissenters and fringe resistance. But on balance the herd will fall into line and accept what appears to be the movement of the many. So why wouldn’t credit unions be subject to the same “go with the flow” mirage presented here?
I wonder. I worry. And finally, I plan.
I plan for first my allies that will emerge from this stronger, more confident, and more committed than ever before to foster strong cooperatives that are good planners, effective merger managers, and see how to integrate in the cooperative movement post all of the coming consolidation across our economy. These allies will live with their cooperative participants and push forward to prosper in the next era of our country and industry. They will lead, and they will be resolved to the fact that cooperatives will drive through based on the will of their owners to do the same. They will connect with a set of ownership-personalities that see more in their cooperatives than simply a banking channel, a kiosk, a website, a phone center, etc. These owners will see an organization, a community, and their personal solution worth BUILDING.
Do not fear the word MERGER. You have a MAJOR MERGER project ahead of you and so does every one of these credit unions that will survive. Get BUSY and MERGE people around the Power of Ownership in your efforts. MERGE your members, merge your owners, merge your teams, and merge the conviction not to give up or lean into the downside of credit union mergers as a business solution to wind things down. Look up to the merger project to accelerate things up.
Integrate for independence. We can do more together, while all along independent in charter, independent in the focus on our communities, and independent with a sense of creativity that is sometimes lost through merging as convenience, instead of merging with a purpose. See the opportunity in all CHAOS today and TURN the table on all of the marketers of downside themes, destructive platforms, and doomsday revolts. There is a flip side to every coin — make sure the positive side is up and in the light at the end of every day.
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