Driving Credit Union Growth Through Operational Efficiency
All businesses go through various stages in their existence--credit unions included. After you open your doors and have some time to get things running, you naturally start to expand. Over time, however, you hit your peak--and things noticeably begin to plateau.
At that point, most organizations see a contraction--just how much depends on the situation. Then, you hit a trough.
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The key thing to understand is that a plateau can actually happen at any point along the way. As you move from one phase to another, you'll find that the strategies you used to rely on may not work as well anymore. If you continue to leverage them anyway, it doesn't mean more growth--if you're lucky, it just doesn't mean an immediate contraction, either.
That's why improving operational efficiency is so important for credit unions. This is true for a number of reasons, all of which are worth taking a closer look at.
The Ins and Outs of Sustainable Growth
For any credit union to sustainably grow, a few core things must be true. First, you need to retain your existing, satisfied members. But you also always need a steady stream of new members coming in the door.
To do that, you need to serve new markets and members all the time. That means introducing new products and services, all while expanding your own team members. All of these things depend on a rock-solid foundation of operational efficiency upon which to build from.
For many, this will begin by taking a look at their back office operations. Every department should have a clear role to play and there needs to be a separation of duties so that people know what they're supposed to be doing, why it matters, and how it all fits into the bigger picture. You also need to take a look at ways to optimize and improve your own accounting and financial systems.
This is key because if you want to increase efficiency, you need to be able to track it over the long term. You need to know where you've started so that you can begin to see measurable improvements along the way.
It's All About Data
Another core element of all of this has to do with data-driven decision-making. That is to say, credit union leaders need to be making strategic choices based on more than just financial numbers.
Leverage the real data and feedback that you're getting from your members to look at a few basic elements. Don't just look at which of your services are the most profitable. Ask yourself WHY they are profitable. Try to see if they could be MORE profitable. Are you pricing things right? Are you putting too much time and energy into products and services that people legitimately aren't using?
The answers to questions like these can help provide actionable, analytical information that lets you see the bigger picture. Remember, it's not just about short-term gains. It's about long-term success.
In other words, the end goal is to drive sustainable growth for as long as possible. Increasing operational efficiency through techniques like those outlined above are how you get there.
Creating a Brighter Future Through Better Growth
At FLEX, we want to help you drive growth for your credit union every bit as much as you do--which is why we've recently authored a document that dives deep into that very topic. It's called "Enabling Growth Through Efficiency" and if you'd like to read more, click the button below to get started.