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Budget Season: What It Takes To Win Hearts, Minds, And Wallets


Through ups and downs, thick and thin, traditional and emerging schemes, one thing remains constant for credit unions: budgeting season. As we all know, October is the month credit unions start to strategically plan and budget for the coming year and beyond. The season typically begins with big ideas for growth and improving customer relationships, but sadly ends with a tight budget that reflects must-do tasks driven by government regulations.

The good news is that this is the year that model can change. In this post, we’re going to dive into the overall concept of budget season and why winning the hearts, minds, and wallets of customers should play a role in your own organization’s upcoming strategy. In subsequent posts, we’ll dive deeper into other approaches a credit union can use to invest in learning and change within the organization.

Break Through the Budget Season Archetype

In our experience, there are two things that work against credit unions moving beyond the standard approach:

  • There is no strategy in place for innovation.
  • They lack a budget for such innovation.

Credit unions can break through the budget season status quo by committing to at least one outside the box project. That project doesn’t necessarily need to be expensive, complicated or time consuming, either. Especially if you take advantage of partnering and outsourcing resources.

Developing a Credit Union Budget Strategy

Kirk Kordeleski, Senior Managing Partner at Best Innovation Group, believes that to effectively introduce innovative ideas that will help them stand out from the competition, a credit union budget strategy must “do a lot more than keep the lights on.” Here are three ideas you might consider:

  • Invest in learning and change within the organization. When was the last time you made significant changes in how things were done? The capacity to learn at the top and within the organization may be “the seed you need to plant now to realize the trees later.”
  • Build a new product or service that not only helps you capture a larger market share, but also rewards members for good banking behaviors.
  • Form a strategic partnership that helps you reach your organization goals. For example, partnering with Setit Credit can help you increase interchange revenue and reduce fraud and interchange erosion threats.

While any credit union budget strategy must in great part focus on compliance, sales, and efficiency, new strategic investments will help you lay the course for balancing traditional budgeting strategies with new technology spending.

You can hear more of Kirk’s thoughts on how credit unions can navigate change and innovation – and hopefully take away some meaningful things to consider in your upcoming budget season – in this recent episode of the BIGCast Network podcast.

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