By: Randy Swift, Senior Vice President Member Services
Recently, in my mailbox I found one of those slick, slippery-to-handle magazines with heavy stock paper on the cover. We all receive our fair share of them from time to time. The magazine, Bank News, is published by a very well-known and established trade group. I typically pass on investing my quality personal time in reading industry propaganda. But for whatever reason, possibly because I knew I had a doctor’s appointment coming up in the following week, this magazine found its way to my “must read” pile on the front seat of my car. When the time for my appointment arrived, I grabbed the magazine upon parking my vehicle and settled in for a lengthy wait in the waiting room. To my delight, the very first article in the magazine caught my eye, and I found myself engulfed in the author’s thoughtfully crafted message.
The article was titled “Credit Unions Report a Stellar Year.” As a professional working in the credit union industry, I could not wait to read more. The article covered a vast amount of information, but what really struck me was the level of success the entire industry enjoyed throughout 2015. To that end, the article summarized that credit unions’ membership growth in 2015 was at the highest level in the history of our industry, and the total number of new members who joined credit unions topped 3.8 million last year. This brought the collective credit union membership base up to 105.2 million across the United States. Further, total assets at federally insured credit unions grew to $1.2 trillion with approximately 6,200 different U.S.-based credit unions.
As I thought about the magnitude of these numbers, along with the accompanying information the author provided, several of these facts hit me like a ton of bricks. (Thankfully, I was already at the doctor’s office.) First, the credit union industry truly has our members’ best interests at heart. The very reason for our existence is to serve our field of membership. What has been the driver behind the membership growth rate achieved? Taking care of each member, one member at a time, with a focus on each new member’s personal needs. While I cannot speak for each credit union’s individual results, I can attest to the fact that, while the membership growth rate across all credit unions grew 3.7% in 2015, VyStar enjoyed a robust membership growth rate of 6.72%. The reason for this blog post is not to boast about the credit union industry’s growth rate—or even VyStar’s growth rate, for that matter. It is to spend time deeply contemplating the question, “Why is the credit union industry—and VyStar in particular—growing at such a robust rate?”
As I thought more and more about this subject, I kept coming back to the same answer: We engage each new member in a one-on-one manner, as if they are our owners … because they actually are! (Remember, credit unions are cooperatives owned by our members.) There is something to be said about serving a constituency where the very reason you were chartered was, and is, to focus on the financial service needs of your owners. At VyStar, our member-centric service delivery model is known as “VyStar Excellence.” VyStar Excellence pertains to a set of behaviors that all employees must adhere to when we assist our members. Are we perfect? No! Do we occasionally fall short of our own high expectations? Yes! Do we have room to improve our performance? An emphatic yes! Nonetheless, at the end of the day, VyStar and the rest of the credit unions across the U.S. are dedicated to meeting our members’ growing, complex financial service needs. Can you think of a better partner than your local credit union, where you are one of the owners?
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The content provided in this blog consists of the opinions and ideas of the author alone and should be used for information purposes only. VyStar Credit Union disclaims any liability for decisions you make based on the information provided.