Us and them

first_imgMore and more often these days, I find myself reflecting on the lyrics of Pink Floyd’s “Us and Them.”“Down and out, it can’t be helped but there’s a lot of it about; with, without, and who’ll deny that’s what the fighting’s all about; get out of the way, it’s a busy day and I’ve got things on my mind; for want of the price of tea and a slice, the old man died.”We find ourselves in a painful political cycle hell bent on pitting us against one another. And as if this political maelstrom isn’t challenging enough, I frequently find myself having to explain the pitfalls of “Us and Them” thinking to credit union folks. Personally, it’s frustrating, because I view credit unions as the original source of financial inclusion. After all, it was credit unions that championed providing access to affordable credit to the little guy.The topic usually surfaces during strategic planning conversations, and it’s usually with credit unions that are growth- (and identity-) challenged, and trying to find a target market where they can compete and win. Many credit unions define “us” as the people with good credit, good incomes – well-established prime consumers. Past strategies to compete with the best services and rates in very competitive markets have not been as successful as hoped. It’s usually at that point in the conversation that I bring up opportunities for serving emerging and underserved markets, like credit-challenged, lower-income, and Hispanic consumers. Then follow the “Us and Them” questions: “Do we really want to serve ‘those people?’ Why would we want to serve ‘them?’”Stephen Covey said, “seek first to understand, then to be understood”Covey has it right. It’s amazing how quickly barriers come down when well-intentioned people take a few minutes to first understand. When they do, they realize that not all credit-challenged consumers are deadbeats, and not all low-income people are waiting for a free handout. Many good credit union people are shocked when I share the average incomes or credit scores of the communities they currently serve. Nationally, more than half of all consumer credit scores are considered subprime, and 51 percent of all consumers make less than $30,000 annually. It’s time for a wake-up call: there are now more of “them” than of “us.” Now is the time for more “we.” After all, isn’t that why not-for-profit financial cooperatives were chartered? It’s a time for less judgement, and more innovation to figure out how we can more fully leverage our charters. It’s been my experience that “financial inclusion” nets greater results and is more rewarding than “convenient, friendly service and great rates.”My understanding of the complex issues surrounding modern-day poverty began in 2004, when my credit union brought in consultant Sandy Maynard to discuss poverty and income class-issues. She helped us break down walls, creating empathy and understanding among the staff. Hearing her words and personal experiences influenced me greatly. It was from that moment on that my credit union career focus shifted to one of greater financial inclusion. Sandy’s training and mentorship helped me understand why income classes make very different financial decisions. Having a better understanding of each group’s life experiences and values helped me identify areas of opportunity to reach out and serve more people. It’s been among the most rewarding work of my career, and it’s helped many of my credit union clients, many of whom are now among the fastest-growing and most profitable credit unions in the country. “We” is better. If your team could use more understanding, I highly recommend Sandy’s poverty workshop and group facilitation. It’s the perfect place to begin your understanding of the serious and complex economic issues currently facing our nation.Why it mattersPurpose – Real people’s lives improve when we begin to understand, and then we boldly act. When we extend credit to someone who is overlooked and underserved, accompanied by some type of development (training, coaching, education), they make their payments on time, and their credit score improves. When their credit score improves, they can get a better job, get better rates, pay less in insurance premiums, build assets, and buy a home. This is a much stronger brand-value proposition than better rates and fees. Is there a better explanation for our not-for-profit cooperative financial model? Our movement is founded on our acting to teach and lend to people the banks wouldn’t serve. Our model wasn’t built around having the lowest rate in town. I wonder when that mindset changed? Access to credit (and thrift) was our chartering cry. It’s in our roots, and it should still be in our DNA. It’s all about social purpose. “We” is better!Profitability and growth – The market is flooded with financial service providers who want over-served prime borrowers. That’s why so many credit unions are having a difficult time growing and thriving. So called “prime” consumers can go wherever they want to – and they do. It’s usually to the organization that has the greatest scale to leverage convenience, technology, and rate. Small and medium credit unions lack the scale to consistently and effectively compete in this type of market. To survive, they have to find a space or market where they can compete and win. Marketing 101 will tell you that you want to be number one, or at worst number two in your market. Being number 20 gets you nowhere. Today, there are hundreds of credit unions that have figured out how to profitably serve underserved markets, reaching lower-income, credit-challenged, and immigrant communities. No charity offered here. Remember, “not for profit, not for charity, but for service.” My perspective on service is more about access than being friendly and perky. The cool thing about these credit unions is that they are extremely relevant in their communities; they are thriving. Why? The communities and the people they serve need them.Preserving our charters – I believe the best path to greater legislative advocacy and victories is through financial inclusion. We’ll win more with “we,” meaning we should more closely align ourselves with the people others don’t want to serve and focus less of drawing a line between “us” and “them.”If you’re the least bit worried about the long-term growth and/or relevance of your charter – I recommend you take a closer look at any underserved or overlooked communities within your marketplace. If your organization has an “Us” and “Them” mentality – I highly recommend you first “seek to understand” and invite someone like Sandy to visit your team to share some insights and challenge your assumptions in this area.  If you are truly committed to becoming more “We” focused, but are unsure how to be more inclusive and maintain profitability – send me an email and I would be happy to share with you best practices and references to assist you in this process. 81SHARESShareShareSharePrintMailGooglePinterestDiggRedditStumbleuponDeliciousBufferTumblr,Scott Butterfield Scott is the Principal of Your Credit Union Partner, PLLC.Your Credit Union Partner (YCUP) is a trusted advisor to the leaders of more than 100 credit unions located throughout … Web: Detailslast_img read more

"Us and them"

ATP World Tour Finals 2016: Murray Cools Knighthood Talk

first_imgAndy Murray has insisted he was too young for a knighthood after finishing the year as world No 1.The 29-year-old defeated rival Novak Djokovic at the ATP World Tour Finals at the O2 Arena on Sunday to cap off the finest year of his career to date. It was a fitting finale to a brilliant season which saw him win a second Wimbledon crown, become the first man to win successive Olympic gold medals and end the year with 24 victories on the bounce, which was enough for him to overhaul Djokovic at the summit of the game.Murray already has an OBE to his name, awarded after his maiden Wimbledon title in 2013, but there have been calls for a knighthood in the New Year’s Honours list – something the Scot thinks he may be too young for.“It’s the highest honour you can get in this country,” Murray said. “But I don’t know, I feel like too young for something like that.“I don’t think about that stuff much, really. When I win any award or am presented with anything it is nice because it is recognition for what you have given your life to, up to now anyway.“However, I’m still young and there are still a lot of things that can go wrong, I could still mess up and make mistakes – do stuff. I’m just trying to keep doing what I am doing, working hard, and achieving things.”Murray toppled Djokovic from the top of the rankings a fortnight ago and he had to outperform the Serb in London to keep his No 1 ranking through the winter months.He did so in style with victories over the players ranked No 7 (Marin Cilic), No 5 (Kei Nishikori), No 3 (Stan Wawrinka), No 4 (Milos Raonic) and No 2 (Djokovic).Murray was the long-time world No 4 behind Djokovic, Roger Federer and Rafael Nadal, but after a spectacular run of five titles this autumn, he is enjoying being the man to beat for the first time in his career.“When I was always fourth in the world, I never liked losing, but it didn’t have the same kind of impact because I wasn’t No 1 and it wasn’t like I was holding on to something,” he said. “Fourth place in the world is still great but it isn’t No 1.“Maybe now, especially the last few months when I have had that goal and have been trying to get there, I want to stay there. I feel motivated to keep going.“I’ve enjoyed the last five or six months the most I have in my entire career. That is probably because I have won a lot, so I want to keep going.” Share this:FacebookRedditTwitterPrintPinterestEmailWhatsAppSkypeLinkedInTumblrPocketTelegramlast_img read more

"ATP World Tour Finals 2016: Murray Cools Knighthood Talk"

Big Match Preview: Hearts v Kotoko – stats, team news & more

first_img–UPDATE: Kotoko attacked by robbers on Sunday morning. Click to read–Hearts have played league games on August 2 four times. And the Phobians have not lost any of the four. Meanwhile, Kotoko also played four games on the same date. But they have won two and lost two.That sets the tone for Sunday’s game.Usually, clashes between between both sides have often determined winners of a competition, but the script is different as both teams battle to escape the drop.The stakes are equally high as all the finals played between both teams as a negative result for either side could potentially spell their doom. HOW THEY GOT HEREBoth teams began the season full of promise with the hope of clinching the Premier League. Kotoko were coming in on the back of a league and cup triumph. The mastermind behind the double, Didi Dramani was still in the helm of affairs and had added quality signings such as Obed Owusu, Jackson Owusu and Kojo Poku to their ranks.Hearts of Oak on the other had re-signed experienced coach Herbert Addo who had just performed a miracle escape with minnows Inter-Allies. The Phobians had also bolstered their ranks with exciting youngsters such as Kwame Kizito, Richard Yamoah and Isaac Oduro. Herbert’s second reign as Hearts was expected to be equally glorious as his first as he won the league and went unbeaten with the team in his two seasons.Hearts were particularly impressive in pre-season playing some delectable football during the Top 4 competition.UNFORTUNATELY…The scripts did not go as planned as both teams suffered from inconsistency. Kotoko started the season with two victories out of seven with Didi Dramani paying for this with his job as he paved way for ex-Hearts coach David Duncan while Hearts of Oak registered only six wins under Herbert Addo in 21 games to see him replaced by goalkeeper’s trainer Eddie Ansah. read more

"Big Match Preview: Hearts v Kotoko – stats, team news & more"