How Will You Make This Year Better Than Last Year?

This article was originally posted on CU Water Cooler.

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This time of year always makes people reflect on the past and think about the future. Many make resolutions and commit to one or more personal goals, projects or to reforming a bad habit over the coming year. But what about your credit union? Should it resolve to do anything differently in 2013?

Here are some popular personal resolutions with a credit union spin.

Should your credit union lose weight?

For a person to lose weight, you simply need to take in fewer calories than you use. But for a credit union, the answer might not be so simple. What calories can a credit union cut? Is there a branch that needs to be closed? A product or service that needs to be discontinued? Are there job positions that need to be eliminated? What about members that aren’t a good fit? We all know the popular mantra, “If you’re not growing you’re dying,” but sometimes the best course of action is to slim down instead of bulking up.

Should your credit union get a better education?

When the economy seized in 2008, so did credit union training budgets. Conference travel and professional development were slashed in an effort to trim expenses. Perhaps 2013 is the year to reinvest in your people. And you don’t always have to get on a plane to learn these days. In addition to internal training programs, credit union leagues, national associations and independent professional development organizations have all had to re-imagine their training offerings in these “tough economic times.” Check into group memberships, webinars, local meet-ups, inexpensive conferences and online groups. Help your people subscribe to popular financial and technology blogs and to industry publications. There are lots of ways to help your credit union staff grow and become smarter and better at their jobs.

Should your credit union quit smoking and drink less alcohol?

Yes. Duh!

Should your credit union get fit?

For people, getting fit means increasing physical activity in an effort to provide long-term health benefits. But what would getting fit mean to a credit union? It might mean upgrading technology. Things like a website redesign, mobile apps, online account opening, remote deposit capture, a new core banking system and personal financial management tools to name a few. It could also mean a new name or a rebrand or a new retail branch design and strategy. It could mean developing a targeted marketing program or investing in financial literacy outreach. There are lots of ways for a credit union to become more fit, but just like for a person, it’s best to concentrate on one or two things and do them really well. You need to start walking before you can run a marathon! 

What else?

What else could your credit union resolve to do this year? Here are other “people resolutions” to inspire your thinking: eat healthy food, get a better job, manage debt, manage stress, recycle, save money, take a trip and volunteer to help others. 

What are your credit union resolutions? Let me know in the comments.

Tim