CU 2.0: A Guide for Credit Unions Competing in the Digital Age

In recent decades, credit unions have seen unprecedented threats, due in large part to an eighty-year-old business model and an inability to adapt quickly to a digital economy. But Kirk Drake has devised a powerful plan to revitalize these noble institutions, making them more competitive, more creative, more connected with their membership, and more in tune with the times. A serial entrepreneur focused on credit-union technology, Drake has written a must-read manual for every CU board member, CEO, and management team in America. The first and only book of its kind, CU 2.0 offers essential strategies for leveraging the latest technologies to facilitate organizational growth and foster more even competition with the banking industry. With the tools provided here, the CU of tomorrow will be better equipped to empower its employees, while giving its members the superior financial service they want and need.

It’s time to be innovative and bold, to challenge long-standing inefficiencies and move away from the “old school” methods of doing business. CU 2.0 provides the skills, the savvy, and the fresh ideas necessary to finally transport the credit union out of the twentieth century and into the twenty-first.

Users Comments:

  • Hi, this is John-Ashley Paul, CEO of Cubus Solutions, Inc. I am honored to be a member of the customer advisory board of Ongoing Operations. I met Kirk a year ago and was drawn to his vision (DREAM, no pun intended!) for the credit union industry. He brings together his track record of success at Ongoing Operations, his passion for the credit union movement, and his vision for the future of the industry in this, dare I say, magnum opus. I just completed reading the book and it’s past midnight here in India.
    A must read for any credit union manager who wants to make credit unions better, stronger, and ready to own the future.
  • Every credit union CEO should buy this book and make it mandatory reading for their senior management team. It’s a “how to” get out of the rut of sameness and risk-aversion. Kirk gives wonderful examples and spot on analogies of companies outside the credit union space that help your mind apply the learning. I had several “ah hah” moments reading this. For example, credit unions are like a full-service sit down restaurant with valet parking. Food trucks feed people good food without the burden of the heavy infrastructure (brick and mortar) and could literally move where the business is. Brilliant!
  • Kirk Drake does a great job of explaining the challenge posed to credit unions in the current world. The fact is that since 2008, the financial services meltdown, credit unions have only held serve on market share, as measured by deposits. In a market that shares many values with credit unions – democratically-controlled, cooperatively-owned and providing profits back to members – the industry has not taken advantage of its collective opportunity.
    Kirk then lays out a series of strategies to address these in the new world. As someone who spent more than 20 years working in the credit union industry, his ideas are practical and aspirational. Credit union CEOs and boards would do well to take a chapter to review and discuss at each board meeting. In a world where the Amazon and iPhone experience are now table stakes, credit unions have both opportunities and challenges on the horizon. CU 2.0 accurate lays out the challenges and provides solutions to creating a generation of credit union success.
  • CU 2.0 is written by someone who displays a deep grasp of how credit unions actually work and the challenges they face, as well as a broad understanding of the forces reshaping consumer expectations of service providers from Apple, Amazon, and Uber to big banks and other financial services providers. The playing field of our economy is being rewired to be driven by data like never before. Digitally native firms in all industries use this to their great advantage, while others, including most credit unions, are in search of partnerships to forge that give them the scale and technology previously unavailable. CU 2.0 provides many illustrative examples of how ambitious and progressive credit unions are doing this.
  • CU 2.0 provides an important wake-up call for credit unions who are changing to slowly in our fast-changing digital economy. Drake’s provides compelling reasons why credit unions need to embrace new ways of doing business so they stay relevant – particularly as other financial institutions innovate. If any credit union were to implement just a fraction of the great ideas that Drake shares, they would see impressive growth thanks to increased member loyalty, referrals, employee satisfaction, and operational improvement. This is well-written work that all credit union leaders should read multiple times since it provides a clear blueprint for success.
  • Kirk Drake’s book was an awesome read! In today’s market, you must constantly read books, articles, and anything else to keep up with technology and competition. After reading any book, you hope to gain two or three nuggets that you can go back to your shop and apply immediately. After reading Drake’s CU 2.0, I have at least 8 solid ideas that I’m in the process of implementing in my credit union. The credit union movement needs more content like this! Great job Kirk!
  • It is apparent that many of us who work in, for, or volunteer our time with credit unions struggle with a common lexicon. There are frequent barriers in board meetings when discussing the technological landscape and the proposals from the business people and technologists who make products that “might” make a difference to our operations, efficiency, reputation, and member service. Likewise, for those who build products, this book will help you better understand how the credit union is an entirely different animal than a for-profit financial institution.
    CU 2.0 should be required reading for those who service credit unions. It provides a thoughtful and relevant primmer for those who have dedicated themselves to the concept of members helping members. Kirk Drake tackles disruptive trends with clear examples and what we must do to remain not only relevant but successful. Jesse Boyer, in his forward, tees up the problem comparing our long-time members who may struggle with technology and our Millennials, who “might know a lot about technology and the applications on their phone, but they understand little about banking and making financial decisions.” Kirk shows us how to create “data-driven, repeatable experiences that educate, differentiate, excite, and advocate for our members” in a manner that honors our charters and heritage.
    CU 2.0 introduces our boards and management “to the right infrastructure tools and helps us stay abreast of advances in established and emergent technologies.” As so many other good business books do, Kirk Drake lays it out in a manner that is easy to understand and implement though use of his unique “D-R-E-A-M” strategy. The organization of the book lends itself equally to topic research and application or a more intentional and comprehensive read as each credit union works to be their member’s primary financial institution. I expect that this will become the go-to handbook for credit union boards as well as for those who dearly want to see the credit union movement forge successfully into the future leveraging the advantages that differentiate credit unions from other financial institutions.

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