25 January 2010

Jason Dias Throws Down the Guantlet

Some articles make you say "hmmmm." Some make you say "duh." Others make your eyes get big, your jaw drop, and your hands fidget. The following Op-Ed piece by Jason Dias did exactly that to me. Read it. Internalize it. React to it. I'm curious to hear your thoughts.

Full story.


Clay said...

Well, he's certainly got a point on CUNA, NCUA, and the corporates.

Ron Shevlin said...

I read the article you linked to not long after I read the article on The Financial Brand about a "national branding campaign for CUs".

My first reaction to the Dias article was "oh man, what a disconnect."

His article was proof to me that a national CU branding campaign is doomed before it can even be conceived or funded.

As for Mr. Dias' comments about smaller, forward-thinking CUs out there innovating, he may be right, but I think he's over-generalized. Plenty of smaller CUs aren't innovating, while plenty of large ones do.

The difference between the innovators and non-innovators lies in three attributes: 1) risk tolerance; 2) senior management commitment to change/innovation; and 3) business/IT coordination.

Being small doesn't guarantee those three attributes.

Denise Wymore said...

Let's face it, the credit union world, not unlike the banking world believes that bigger is better. Hell, the chief economist at CUNA a few years back was declaring a CU must be $500 million in assets or they will not survive. CUNA has always kowtowed to the mighty billion dollar babies. They have a special club just for them. Do they have one for the $50 million and under? Nope.

And now Too Big To Fail gave America a giant sh*t sundae to choke on.

I think what Jason is saying is this.... his credit union, on their own, is making a difference to young kids. While CUNA continues to plod along churning out the same old same old each year. And I love that he did the math for us all - Gen Y turns 30 this year! Credit union members are pushing 50.

We are literally dying of old age....old ideas......old ways of thinking........

Ondine Irving said...

I have known Jason for over eight years. He has spoken at my seminars and is a very dynamic individual, has very strong opinions and is not afraid to opening himself to criticism. I admire Jason for taking the leap in not holding back in stating what is often lacking in this industry - the lack of innovation and acceptance of mediocrity. I tend to agree with much of what he has said. It further demonstrates that individuals within this industry are having more impact than the conglomerates wrapped up in their own political ego building empires. And again, that would be a topic for another time. The national branding campaign....think I need to re-start my own blog for a commentary on that one! ;-)

Jeffry Pilcher said...

Ignoring my personal feelings about the subject, I truly believe that there will never be any kind of national campaign for credit unions. If I'm wrong, I'll gladly eat my words.

Matt, the Credit Union Warrior said...

My reaction is very similar to Ron's. It's easy to blame the establishment for all of the movement's ills. It's not as easy to do that as publicly as Jason did, but it's still easier than, say, actually doing something about it.

I admire Jason's guts in writing this piece, and agree with various portions of it. I just wish, like Ron eloquently pointed out, that he didn't outright dismiss innovation efforts by some very progressive large credit unions. Chetco sounds like they have their act together. But to move the needle for the entire movement, we need to make sure we are focusing on the right things. A white paper isn't preventing innovation. Financial literacy concerts, by themselves, will not save our system.

My take? It's more productive to encourage better behavior with practical suggestions, than smear others with gross generalizations. Credit unions need to do a better job of putting new ideas into action, there's no doubt about it. That said, credit unions aren't doing as bad of a job in terms of innovation as we tend to think. There are pockets of inaction (deep pockets, even), but there are also some brave credit unions who despise status quo. Let's focus on singing the praises of the latter group. The others will follow...or fade away.

Jason Dias said...

This is my last comment on the matter. I did not mean to imply that big CUs are not doing innovative things. Some always have. Therefore they are not in need of a renaissance. And it was an op/ed, not a news story. What you call a gross generalization, I call a touch of hyperbole. If I walk up to an overweight person and tell them they need to lose 20 pounds, that may be insulting. But if they listen, work hard, endure some pain and lose the weight, the trasnformation is positive. But it started with an insult. BTW, we rocked North Carolina our way this week. Ask anyone who was there. Contact the league. Eloquent Online is on the edge, won't you join us?

Jeffry Pilcher said...

This level of self-confidence -- with zero humility and no apologies -- isn't for everyone.

Hilary Reed said...

Matt, I wholeheartedly agree with what you stated in your comment. AND, I also agree with what Jeffrey said, "This level of self-confidence -- with zero humility and no apologies -- isn't for everyone."
You won't get very far in this business by insulting people, AND the industry they love. You know what they say...opinions are like....well, you get the point.