Credit Unions Are Not-for-Profit … BLAH BLAH BLAH!

I’ve been checking out the “About Us” sections of a few credit union web sites lately, and a common verbiage I’m finding is the stalwart “credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives” stuff, and little else. Why is that?

Don’t get me wrong, I understand that our structure is an important distinction. What I’m saying is … I know all about “we” – but who are you? What sets you apart?

If you think about that section of your web site, it’s your clearest and best opportunity to state what makes your credit union different to lurkers. And it’s the only message channel for this type of information that’s open 24/7.

You can live, breathe, roll around and revel in this credit union industry, and impress your industry friends with clever jargony phrases … but keep in mind that the structure stuff means absolutely nothing to someone who doesn’t know about credit unions. The verbiage might as well be Latin (why not use a dead language to communicate a meaningless message to the public?).

But how could such an essential message be meaningless, you ask? Simple – the worst credit union in the world in terms of return to the member is a not-for-profit cooperative. Just like yours.

Your brand, your service and your policies set you apart. So with that as a backdrop – what should the “About Us” section of credit union web sites say? Feel free to share your thoughts … and links to any red-hot-smokin’ About Us sections you’ve come across in not-for-profit, member-owned-cooperative-land.     

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4 Responses

  1. Thanks for the post Jeff. When I read this I had the strong urge to get me a soap box and a megaphone.

    I think CUs are too prepared to answer questions that no one is asking or no one cares about. Credit Unions should use the “About Us” section as a place to tell the world “this is the hill we are going to die on!” Be bold credit unions. You have compelling story that is worth telling.

  2. Jeff,
    I confess!!! I copied it from CUNA’s site!

    We just added a new member group many of whose employees are younger and in some cases have physical, mental, or educational handicaps. I expect that some will need a little extra attention that our small CU is well poised to be able to offer them. So in reaching out to them I started to re-write our “What’s a CU/About Us” phraseology. So far it’s just a flier that will be handed out, but thanks to your post it will certainly find it’s way to our about page.

    Why do we(CU website authors) feel like we have to communicate so much information on our sites? Maybe that’s just me?!?! http://www.piedmontcu.org

  3. You know I was thinking about this yesterday. I look at our “About Us” page and all it is is boring, dry and really lame. I can admit it. My about us section doesn’t, in my opinion, reflect who we are. We re fun, a little crazy but completely dedicated credit union marketing professionals.

    We are fun people to work with but you would never know it by our About Us page (or the rest of our site actually). I think we fooled ourselves into thinking that we needed to be “Corporate” and forgetting that the best thing about our clients is that they are creative type people who like to have a good time.

    ::Sigh:: back to the web design drawing board.

  4. @Dan – yours is pretty good IMHO – I like the history section (about the educator who helped to start the CU). Really good stuff.

    This free communications newsletter arrived in the mail just today … I think it hits on some of the issues that cause communicators and marketers struggle with – and why we need to really do a better job in these critical areas ….

    http://www.agoodmanonline.com/pdf/free_range_2007_11.pdf

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