The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

Competition Keeps Everyone Honest

On November 8th, 2010, posted in: Uncategorized by

Baseball’s “free agency” period is upon us.  It’s that time of year when a handful of really rich baseball players evaluate how much richer they could be if they switched teams.  And who can blame them?  Owners are at risk of losing their star players if they don’t make their fickle all-star’s world a better place.  Beware.  Right now the grass may look greener elsewhere.  It’s part of the equation, and both the owners and the players have a choice.  Choice is a good thing.   

Simply put, the players want more money, more free stuff, and more notoriety.  To summarize this laundry list:  they want more value.  According to most, they’d play for nothing.  But that’s a fib.  They want more value.  And if they don’t get it from their current team, they’ll show their “diva” side and “poof” they’re gone.  Oh well, stuff happens.  Allow me to reiterate, choice is no problem for me.

What about St. Louis Community Credit Union members?  They’re free agents all the time and they are always seeking more value.  They have no contract with us.  If we screw up, they exercise their right to move to the next team.  If our rates are not competitive, then we lose our key players.  If our service doesn’t make our members feel special, then we run the risk of losing good members to the other guy.  There are no guarantees.  The consumer’s freedom of choice makes us perform at the highest possible level.  We like the pressure.

Without being too brazen, we have every confidence in the world that we can field a team of professionals who have the tools to bring value to our members and community.  We’d put the Credit Union’s team and tools up against the behemoth banks, the competing credit unions and Lord knows if you’re a payday lender or a check casher, we’re going to blow you out of the water.  We’re the benefactors of our competitions’ free agents looking elsewhere.  Choice and competition keeps everybody honest.

As a result, in a world that willingly embraces consumer free agency, one of our greatest “business disruptions” is new legislation that may have the unintended consequence of limiting choice.  Impossible, you say?  Nope, weirder things have happened.   Through some legislation that hasn’t always been well vetted, things may occur that burden credit unions to the degree that they are no longer attractive as a competitive alternative.  Sort of like being courted to play for the Cubs – the value is just not there. 

Why this discussion now?  Well, did you see what happened this past Tuesday?  We will have new legislators bringing new ideas that could result in somebody getting a hare-brained idea to do something damaging to credit unions.  It happens.  There are no current threats; however there is always a chance that one could bubble up pretty quickly.  

Tell your congressmen and senators that you love your credit union.  Keep credit unions as a viable consumer option.  As a “free agent” you want choices. The more the merrier.

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