Yesterday, Sarah Snell-Cooke, Editor-In-Chief/Publisher of CU Times wrote an editorial titled Sometimes the best thing a credit union can do is give up ‘Credit Union’. This was brought to my attention in an excellent discussion topic started on EverythingCU.com.
Ms. Snell-Cooke’s editorial concludes with, “Get the consumers in the door first, and then explain to them about credit unions. The name on the door doesn’t matter – it’s what is on the inside that counts.”
Here’s the problem with this statement. As Snell-Cooke concedes, most of the general public have no idea what a credit union is. In addition to that, most staff working in a credit union don’t know what a credit union is. So CU staff are even LESS likely to educate people walking in as to what it is when the words are not even over the door.
Here is an imaginary conversation for credit unions who have dropped the words ‘credit union’ from their name:
Customer/member: “Hi I’d like to open a checking account. Do you have those here?”
Staff: “Why yes, certainly, I can open that for you. While we do the paperwork, can I tell you about what a credit union is?”
Customer/member: “Onion soup? I thought you guys were GTE Financial. Why would you tell me about onion soup?”
When the name is not over the door, mentioned nowhere, then starting a conversation about what it means to be a part of a credit union is as relevant to this new member as having a conversation about onion soup, which is what he thought he heard the staffer say.
Therefore I can not see the logical connection between dropping the words ‘credit union’ from an F.I.’s name as being a route to educating more people about what a credit union is.