DES MOINES, Iowa (6/11/08)--The Iowa Credit Union Growth Commission will review industry trends and market research as it relates to credit union growth in five key areas. The commission was created by the Iowa Credit Union League board of directors in 2007 to offer recommendations for credit union growth strategies. At a time when credit union membership growth in Iowa is generally stagnant, credit union members are aging, competition is increasing, margins are shrinking, and new markets are emerging, the growth commission recognized the need to focus on strategic, innovative and collaborative ways to serve Iowans in the future, said the league. Comprising 23 Iowa credit union leaders, the commission spent more than six months reviewing research and discussing the future of the credit union movement. Their meetings, facilitated by John Lass, senior vice president, product development, CUNA Mutual Group, led to the identification of five key areas to help stimulate growth in Iowa. These concepts include:
* Back office support; * Human resources support; * Marketing support; * Mobile banking; and * Virtual banking.
The commission plans to complete research to assess the needs of the marketplace, specifically for the back-office support, human resources support, and marketing support areas by the end of the summer. With the market research in place, the league will conduct a financial analysis to determine the most viable solutions and will begin developing business plans and product launches only if needed. “The growth commission members dedicated many hours of their time and energy to this initiative,” said Patrick S. Jury, league CEO. “Because of their thoughtful opinions and desire to help the credit union movement, we have been able to identify key areas that will make the Iowa credit union movement stronger.” Chairing the commission are: Jean Hoeger, co-chair, Alliant CU, Dubuque; and Mark Heth, co-chair, Iowa Community CU, Waterloo. The league also developed a new position in 2007, the director of credit union growth. In that position, Jim Niederhauser is responsible for managing the commission efforts and aligning with Iowa credit unions to evaluate growth strategies for their future The Iowa Credit Union League also has created several subsidiary companies focused on helping credit unions grow. In 2005, the league established Community Business Lenders, a credit union service organization (CUSO) that provides credit unions with the resources and third-party support to offer member business loans to small business owners and individuals. In 2006, the league launched Coopera Consulting, an Iowa-based agency that helps credit unions reach out to emerging markets.