Monday, February 12, 2024

SECU: Consider This - Chapter 12: Esse Quam Videri - Creating A Unicorn,500&ssl=1  ... Esse Quam Videri!

 Is the State Motto of North Carolina: "To be, rather than to seem."

Nice idea isn't it. But, most of us have learned through painful experience to judge people not by what they say, but by what they do. Lots of folks are good at "putting on an act", aren't they. Some are so good at it in fact, they often get elected...

✅ Same holds true for credit unions. Many are not what they seem to be any longer

We've discussed that members have difficulty distinguishing their credit union from a  [see Chapter 3]! True business experts, like Michael Porter [see Chapter 11], tell us that if a business is not in some way uniquely different, it will not succeed. If as a restauranteur, you set out to match McDonald's, you'll lose. McDonald's "can do McDonald's" better than anyone else - including you! This "difference=success axiom" appears to be increasingly prophetic in today's "Amazonian, eat-what-you-kill, winner-take-all" business world. 

Certainly seems to work that way in banking. Did you know that the 4 largest banks - JPMChase, Bank of America, Wells Fargo, and Citibank - alone control @ 50% of all banking deposits in the U.S.? 10,000 + banks, S&Ls, and credit unions in the U.S. and just 4 banks dominate the game of of finance. Either Chase or BofA are larger than all U.S. credit unions combined.

So, you're going to "out bank these banks", out fry McDonald's, "tug on Superman's cape, spit into the wind, pull the mask off the ole Lone Ranger"... really? If so, as a credit union leader, you certainly are - what shall we say - too selfie-assured? misplaced a few marbles? dealing with a few untightened screws? too full of yourself, or perhaps something else? Can't wait to see your "strategic plan"!

Hopeless situation, throw in the towel? Time to seek a merger partner, who doesn't skimp on ex-CEO severance packages? Not at all! Why not try building a unicorn? That would be different ... and difference=success!

Perhaps it is simply time to cut the crap with the selfies, Super Bowl ads, and self-aggrandizement... and go to work, earning those best-in-organization pay packages! Actually do something different for the member-owners. Before it is too late...

                        "TO BE, RATHER THAN TO SEEM"!

... there's a lot at stake for members and employees are in play; their families are counting on you... make a future for them, make a difference.  



  1. What makes a successful leader, a successful organization? Perhaps it’s a singular vision that is clearly communicated. A few examples…

    When Jim Blaine was CEO every decision was made with the members in mind. Was “it” going to be good for the members? You could suggest all measure of different (crazy) ideas but at the end of the day you’d better be able to defend your idea as having a positive impact on the members or you were going down in flames. It did not matter whether you were a regulator, a bank, another credit union or his own staff, if you got headed in the wrong direction he was very good at “refocussing” you. The members were always at the heart of what he did and you clearly knew that.

    When Mike Lord was CEO he also had a member focus but that manifested itself in his unwavering commitment to SECU being a safe and financially sound institution. There was never a moment’s doubt of the strength of the financials and the viability of the organization’s future.

    Contrast that with the train wreck that was Jim Hayes. Does anyone know what he stood for (besides himself)? I’ll give you a second…

    Well, at least he was clear about that. “All for One” and the One was Jimbo. Thanks Legacy Board.

    And now we have the Legacy 8 and Leigh Brady, off in all manner of directions and accomplishing little. Is there a clear strategy? What is her primary, laser sharp, singular focus? Members? Hard to see that (RBL). Employees? Ok, not going there. Financials? They have deteriorated significantly.

    It’s not about saying the right things (Strategic Plan anyone?) It’s about doing and there just ain’t any meat on that bone. Pure Directionless Leadership.

    Want to be a winner? A six year old ought to be able to understand your plan in one sentence and all decisions are based with that plan in mind.

    And how should leadership view staff? Happy employees make for happy members. Not a hard line to draw. Stay member focussed, if the members win everybody wins. That’s how Leadership should view staff, look after them and they look after members. It’s just hard to see that with the current regime.

    How about give the members MORE than they expect - surprise them! When you exceed expectations you earn fierce loyalty. That would seem like a good start for a strategy. Industry Standard is a death sentence by the way. No one’s goal should be mediocrity.

    Credit unions primary goal is to help people (using financial services as the tool to do so). People Helping People….get it?

    Empower every person in the organization to be a Unicorn!

    1. whoever you are, Please, run for the board this October. You are who we members need---not the Crazy Eights.

    2. Agree! THIS is who we need on the board. Member focused, all decisions made so that members benefit from an organization that CHOOSES to do it differently ( industry standard not in the vocabulary, ‘cause we do it better, much better! )

    3. This is PERFECTION! Thank you, thank you, THANK YOU!

    4. 🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌🙌

    5. Excellent comment.

  2. Nailed it……YES! This comment (6:45am) was truly a message from the heart from a person who walked the walk and most likely played a big part in SECU success, maybe a far back as Mr. Ed Greer. Suspect you had a very low employee#. Thanks for sharing your thoughts.

  3. That IT town hall today...

  4. Really need to spend less time focusing on compensation; this is where we have truly lost our way. It’s not about us, or how much we take home, it’s what we do for the members. Want to be paid more? Go elsewhere!

  5. Putting on an act. Boy there is a lot of that going on. Latest quote from the superiors “ conflict is a state of mind. If you’re not in that state of mind it doesn’t bother you”. Seriously how can this not bother you?

    1. nonsense! = Crazy Eights' state of mind!


  6. 4 more in '24 is CRITICAL!!!

  7. Only way they win in October is if EY rigs it for them. No way in hell they would win re election if it’s fair

  8. Think was pretty clear that EY was a straight shooter. I don’t think we should even allude to election rigging.