In a previous post, we described some of the differences between credit unions and other financial institutions. Credit Unions were established on the premise of "People helping people" and unlike banks, are distinguished by the fact they are not-for-profit. The key philosophical difference is their view of people. At a credit union, its clientèle are member-owners unlike banks, where clients are customers.
Research shows that it takes approximately two-years to acculturate members and to convert them into active participants who seek out obtaining financial products and services from the credit union. The process of acculturation requires strategic planning whose goal targets members who have no previous history of participation in what the credit union offers that will allegedly improve their financial livelihoods.
This past December, President Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. told employees during the quarterly all-staff meeting conducted at the main branch in South Pasadena, California that it was imperative that there be a marked increase in new members by the end of December 2009. So desperate was his directive that he exclaimed, "We don't have long to live." He statement is a contradiction to his frequent claims that business is "great" and "growing." He exclamation is not only a contradiction of what he's been saying for several months, it was more than a little inappropriate and undignified.
So why is the President's strategic planning failing to reap the results he often asserts are being reaped? One problem may be that Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. doesn't comprehend the wants or needs of Priority One's many and diverse marketplaces. The cultural, economic and demographical differences of each region requires diverse strategies that succeed in reaching the communities served by the credit union. It's also evident that his 2007 elimination of the entire Marketing Department and its Marketing Director has served to exacerbate the credit union's inability to attract new business and members.
If President Wiggington had taken the time to conduct research, he would have discovered that the elderly sector in the United States holds the majority of this nation's wealth. Since being appointed President on January 1, 2007, he has never created programs or promotions specific to the group of members who are elderly.
He might also have discovered that to induced growth requires converting inactive members into active participants who become recipients of the credit union's products and services. Unfortunately, Charles R. Wiggington, Sr. relies on his emotions and on what he perceives to be true. The credit union's ongoing decline is attributable in great part to his inability to perform actual research that would provide understanding of the marketplaces served by Priority One Credit Union.
Don't expect Priority One's fortunes to change at anytime soon. Like an owl holding a squirrel, President Wiggington will continue to cleave to his fantastical belief system which is mired in all things imaginary. It is said that "Ignorance is bliss" but in reality, "Ignorance is just ignorance."