THE BLOG
04/10/2009 05:12 am ET | Updated May 25, 2011

Where Are the Credit Unions?

Banks are in trouble. They screwed up bad. Customers are pissed off.

But credit unions are community-owned, non-profits that are happy, healthy, and provide all the same services.

This is one of those rare moments in history when entire markets are shifting. If credit unions were doing a decent job of marketing, they could grab a massive percentage of the market from banks. Think iTunes vs. CD sales.

But I haven't been asked to switch. I haven't seen an ad. I haven't seen a news story comparing failing banks to thriving credit unions.

My advice to the credit unions: drop everything you are doing and start marketing. This is your moment. You will not have another opportunity like this in your lifetime.

Did you know this?

1. Voluntary Membership
Credit unions are voluntary, cooperative organizations, offering services to people willing to accept the responsibilities and benefits of membership, without gender, social, racial, political or religious discrimination.

2. Democratic Member Control
Cooperatives are democratic organizations owned and controlled by their members, one member one vote, with equal opportunity for participation in setting policies and making decisions.

3. Members' Economic Participation
Members are the owners. As such they contribute to, and democratically control, the capital of the cooperative. This benefits members in proportion to the transactions with the cooperative rather than on the capital invested.

4. Autonomy and Independence
Cooperatives are autonomous, self-help organizations controlled by their members. If the cooperative enters into agreements with other organizations or raises capital from external sources, it is done so based on terms that ensure democratic control by the member and maintains the cooperative autonomy.

More info.

Originally posted at Andy Sernovitz's Damn, I Wish I'd Thought of That.