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It’s Easter

April 8, 2007

Now the rest of the household is coming down with this flu. Time to go to work to stay healthy.

Doug True wrote a very interesting article for the Washington Credit Union League called “Applying the Gas Station Philosophy to Lending”. No it isn’t about a giant gas price hike and how you will be able to afford it. He talks about lending being a commodity which it is. Lots of borrowers, many more lenders it seems. So how will credit unions differentiate?

It is simple but in today’s world radical. You treat people the way you would want to be treated.

For example your car breaks down and the mechanic says it is going to cost an arm and a leg to fix. You can’t afford to buy a new one but someone at work has his father’s car for sale. You call them up, get to see the card and need the money yesterday. You phone up your credit union who answer the phone in person. Now there is a difference – no mechanical talking voice. They transfer you to the loans officer who listens to your story. You have had a previous loan with them. She says if you come in by the end of the day to finish the paper work you can take a cheque to the guy tonight. Make sure you bring the serial number, make and model of the car in order that the credit union can do the registration check. You get down to the credit union, get the cheque, pay the guy that night, get it insured and the next morning are driving to work in your new ‘used’ car.

Not an unusual story. Simple in what was done but difficult to deliver because a key element is making sure the human interaction is the focal point. That the relationship created is one of trust from the onset. That this is the way you would like to be treated in a similar circumstance.

Is that differentiation or just doing best what credit unions have always been doing.? We can never forget that or we loose who we are. And if that happens we become a ‘bank’.

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