According to the Financial Post, Virgin is planning to bring its beloved mega brand to the Canadian banking space in the not-too-distant future. Virgin has been operating in the cellphone business in Canada for a few years now. Richard Branson, the billionaire founder and chairman of Virgin Group Ltd., says:
"All the problems and frustrations that people find in the mobile phone industry, they find in the banking industry here. The banking industry is ripe for a strong competitor here."
What does this mean?
- Virgin is one of the world's most popular brands and has an uncanny ability to transcend categories.
- Virgin offer a range of banking services including peer-to-peer loans in the U.S. and personal banking services including credit cards and mortgages in the U.K., South Africa and Australia. They will bring these services to Canada.
Virgin will employ its amazing marketing machine to disrupt the conservative Canadian retail banking space.
What can your credit union do?
Every new player in the space is going to dilute market share, but honestly, I think Virgin will mostly hurt the big banks by drawing attention to their weaknesses. This may actually create additional opportunities for credit unions to differentiate themselves in the wake of this increased attention.
For credit unions, now is the time to:
- Stop acting like just another bank.
- Live and breathe a highly differentiated brand.
- Create game-changing products and services.
- Deepen member relationships.
This is the same stuff that I've been preaching for the past decade. Now might be a good time to get started.