Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 3 months ago

224) #ExponentialInsights : Slamming the Brakes on Credit Union Entropy


Over the last decade, we’ve seen a disturbing case of credit union entropy.

Nearly 8,000 credit unions operated in the U.S. in 2010. Today, that number has been cut almost by half.

Are credit unions becoming an endangered species in the financial space?

Ancin Cooley, Principal at Synergy Credit Union Consulting, Inc., told us why he thinks credit unions have been on the decline and what they can do to halt their inevitable extinction.

Join us as we discuss:

  • Why credit unions are missing an opportunity to boost brand equity (8:50)
  • Fueling the visionary-integrator relationship (25:38)
  • How leaders can leverage communication at scale (30:09)

Check out these resources we mentioned during the podcast:

- Ancin Cooley

- Credit Unions.Training

- Synergy Credit Union Consulting, Inc.

- Synergy Bank Consulting, Inc.

You can find this interview and many more by subscribing to Banking on Digital Growth on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or here.

Listening on a desktop & can’t see the links? Just search for Banking on Digital Growth in your favorite podcast player.

Governance isn't about I got, I'm gonna get you, I'm gonna let you go. I don't want to make people miss hear me. Governance is making sure that if you're doing well and exceeding peer we're gonna run you your cash. You're listening to banking on digital growth with James Robert Lay, a podcast that empowers financial brand marketing, sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growth potential by generating ten times more loans and deposits. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series, where James Robert Lay interviews the industry's top marketing, sales and FINTECH leaders, sharing practical wisdom to exponentially elevate you and your team. Let's get into the show. Greetings in Hello, I am James Robert Lay and welcome to episode to four of the banking on little growth podcast. Today's episode is part of the exponential insight series and I'm excited to welcome Anson coolly to the show. Anson is the founder and principle of Synergy Credit Union consulting, as well as a speaker and expert contributor to a host of financial publications, and we recently shared the main stage at the see you leadership convention in Las Vegas. I greatly appreciated the perspective he shared about the future of financial brands, as well as his take on creating content as a leader. Welcome to the show, Anson, it is good to share time with you today. Buddy. Good to be here. Thank you for having me. Absolutely before we get into we gotta court a copy of conversation on our plates. I love it. I love it. What's good for you right now? Personally professionally? It's always your pick. To get started on a positive note. Um, I'm feeling blessed. I got a four beautiful children and beautiful wife. The weather is actually beautiful here in Sunday Chicago. UH, Sunny Chicago. Right it's about seventy six reads. I'm on the back end of visiting my mom and Dad in New Orleans, Louisiana, just left the Louisiana Credit Union League conference, and so I'm feeling refreshed and ready to uh jump into the third and fourth quarter. I'm feeling refreshed too, as as I messaged you right before, I said just give me a few minutes. I said my four kids, they all went back to school today and so my wife and I had a coffee date, uh, to, you know, celebrate that it's been a good summer, but it's time for a new season and I think in each season we find moments to celebrate when we moved from one season to the next. So I like where you're at. And when we connected earlier this summer, it was at the see you leadership convention in Vegas and we were sharing the big stage together and you opened up with with some thoughts that really just they energized me, they fired me up and I think it was the story that you told. It was a story where you ventially, you came back. It was answered Coolie, the third right. Yes, it was my uh, my grandson. Yeah, so you came back from the future to give a warning to financial brands in the present moment, and I think the timing is right for this. I just saw an article shared by Jim Marous. It was some thinking that Jeffrey Pelcher had shared about the ever growing the client of financial brands and it really echoed what you were talking about. Let's start here, like what's the warning like? Like come back, if you will, from the future. Tell us what's what what you what you foresee? Essentially, so the concept and you know, we had the two minutes and I wanted to see how I can be dramatic in that moment and I guess the subject or the setup was I was pretending to be my grandson, who is the third owner of Synders and Credit Union consulting, and he's coming back from the future, in a future where...

...there's only forty credit unions remaining and uh, I think it was in some way some of a hundred years from now and I posed it to the audience. You know, do you think that's unrealistic? And at the current rate in which we're losing credit unions? Right now we're losing to forced merger about thirty per quarter, and you can get that information from the N C U's website. I mean in two thousand and ten, I believe we had about eight thousand credit unions. Eight now we only have about credit unions remaining and that trajectory is not sustainable if you want this movement to exist in the way in which it was intended when it originated, meaning people helping people in a very uh, you know, smaller communities and being able to serve the NEAT unique needs of communities and different ZIP codes. Okay, and so the premise was that they had ran some simulations and they said if we came back to this moment in time in two thousand twenty two, we could maybe slow down the erosion of the numbers. And the warning was essentially around brand equity. If we could improve our brand equity, if we could improve our enterprise risk management and if we could drastically improve governance and credit unions, those three things would have pushed off the decline and we would have had a lot more credit unions remaining in the future. Yeah, and and that really is just like I said, it echoes so much what the headline of this financial brand perspective is. Half of all banks in the US will disappear in the next twenty years. So two we'll see about two thousand banks, and that's all banks. You know that's credit unions, but the projection is very similar to this as well. I want to come back to your point about brand equity. What's your take on that? Why? Why? Why do we need to start paying attention to this now? And this is one where we might we might just be first opportunity for us to UH lace up. All right, from a debate standpoint, there are companies, you know, and we might call them fin techs or whatever. I distinguished fintechs. There are companies that are fin techs that create new and unique technology that allows institutions like banks and credit unions to do things smarter, faster better. And then there are fin techs, in my opinion, in name only, that are just better capitalized and have better marketing departments, but they're not actually adding any real new value from a technology a cool workflow standpoint to give them an edge. And so and what would be? What would that look like? If I I can do one or two things. I can run an amazing campaign that lets my members know that we have a solar panel loan. Okay, and if I run that campaign letting them know, they would come to me first for the loan. Or I can partner with the Fintech who is now at the top of the funnel through their marketing and their payments into Google ads, and then they bring me a portion of that solar panel loan. To me, that's not the most advantageous fintech relationship because you could have did that yourself, because you're funding a marketing department and you could have created you're giving up. They didn't come to you for the solar panel loan. They went to the what Fintech or that other group first, and now you're just providing the funding and...

...not squeezing your mark. You're servicing it and you're creating and you're not getting the same margin. So credit unions giving up brand equity by not telling their stories in a manner that creates emotional connections to their brand that makes that potential member want to make them their primary financial institution. If you have their checking account, you are their primary financial institution. And if we have that, it creates other opportunities for cross sale, cross shelling, and so that's what I mean by, in my opinion, in terms of credit unions having more of a brand equity problem than uh in my opinion, and economies of scale problems. I would agree with you on that and that's one of the reasons I'm so excited about a new book that's coming out, one that I think you might be interested in. It's by Alison Netzer and Liz high. They'RE gonna be coming on the PODCAST in a couple of weeks. It's called think like a brand, not a bank, because I would agree with you it's the fin techs, and maybe even have a little bit deeper into that. It's the NEO banks who have done a tremendous job of positioning within the market place Um, a lot of the same things that credit unions offer, even down to the point of quote unquote membership. But it's it's the neo bank that has established and made the deposits into the consumer's mind, emotional deposits that when they have a need or they have a problem, they're thinking neo or Fintech. Were Credit Union. We do the same exact thing. What has gotten us to this point? In your perspective, you spent a lot of time with leaders in credit unions and these organizations. How do we get here? How did they get here? CREDIT UNIONS VERSUS BANKS? Credit Unions started off in set groups, and so the notion that you need to market. If you if you were the police officer credit even they knew where to come. You didn't have to worry about Johnny or Mike or Mary on the street because you had this this group that knew if they came to you they would receive favorable Um um terms and you know if you're post office credit union. Think about it. If I'm a lender at a post office credit union, I know when you get paid, I know where you get paid and I know where to I know where to find you. That's like, for I use this example of my presentations, that's pond fishing. I can perch fish in a pond because I know most of them are lined up between two and five under that shade tree all the time. But once a credit union makes your transition from pond, lagoon or lake fishing and go into the wide ocean, from being an individual Seg to a community charter, now I don't know where you I know where you work, but you may not have that job because now that company may go out of business, that company may have layoffs, whereas post office may not have as many layoffs. The US government, the different governmental entities that make up the largest of our credit unions do not, in my opinion, circum to some of the ups and downs of the economy that other institutions have to deal with, and so what they never learned how to do, in my opinion, is how to look at to do what fin techs are doing, to kind of bring it full circle. It's customer segmentation and how to speak directly to unique buy your personage. There's two new fin techs. I forget. One's called like daylight and I think Michael Render uh killer, Mike has a new Um bank down in Atlanta that they're working on. This is these are whole companies where I feel the mission is...

...about segmentation and seeing people. So if I feel seen on your ads, if I feel seen on when you mail something to me, and daylight being uh, and I don't want to butcher this, but uh, it's a it's a APP that caters to the LB g t q community, and I might have butchered that, but that's who they cater to. What stopping the credit union down the street from running a campaign by saying we see you too, come nothing stopped them. But what they said is, you know what, you're unwilling to service them, so I'm gonna Create a whole business around a segment you refuse to see. So that's a strategic decision that those companies and those credit unions and community banks have made that create concentration risk, reduce brand equity and reduce market share. These are consequences that you have for ignoring Um full segments of people. You know, that's a great example. With daylight and I've been talking more and more about the idea of niche. It's almost back to your point of seg select employee groups. What is old as new again. Um Seth Golden really predicted this back in two thousand, I think it was like ten eleven, when he wrote a very easy to read book called we are all weird, and it was the decentralization, if you will, brought on by the Internet, to where we can search out these, you know, niche likes and uh, you know, find people who think like us and have the same purpose and belief structures, and I think it's the differentiation that that we celebrate. We can celebrate the differences that we have and to take that even further, aspiration, aspiration DOT COM, a brand that is all around providing financial services for those who want to, uh, you know, uh prevent climate change. Even looking at their positioning on the website, you can change climate change. So there's a whole narrative, there's a whole story that goes really, really deep, and it's not just alone. It's not just a credit card. It's not just a checking or spending account. BANK MD UM OUT OF SAN ANTONIO, Texas Community Bank, Launch Bank MDEED, niche market. What's gonna hold financial brands on their leadership teams back from Really Making the transformations needed? Two focus on creating value for these maybe niche audiences, these niche communities, or just, you know, increase the brand equity. And where does brand equity lie? We could look at that as an asset, but that the challenge there. It's an intangible asset because the brand equity is in the mind of an individual. Going back to coming from the future to one other component to that was governance, meaning, Um, if I don't have accountability or if I'M gonna get the same paycheck and same bonus for not delivering you exponential or better results, why do I have to seek out new and innovative ways to grow? So give an example, and this is which in some ways makes me cautiously optimistic, about credit unions. There's a credit union up in the northeast right now. They before and after the pandemic. Um, you, they did not have long growth. Income was flat, went down during the pandemic. Here on the other side of the pandemic. They're not doing well either. They're almost a billion dollars, but they're attached to a government say, and so things float along right. They pay their bills, but it's not progressing. You try... point this out to someone and you're the pariah because everything is floating along, unless with credit unions. The only thing that changes credit unions is a visionary leader that has self accountability and pride about what they want to do and how they want to push forward. The institution or top down pressure from their boards, and often the boards, the volunteers love them, don't have either the requisite knowledge, skills and ability or time to create the top down pressure that makes a CEO and a senior management team say hey, if we don't pick this up, improve income, create growth, innovate, we're gonna be out of here. No, there's no, there's in a lot of instances there's no consequences. The group that I'm mentioning. They are lowered than below peer loan growth, below net income, but high in salary and bonuses. That's not sustainable for the industry. It'll get that group through to their retirement. But how do we how do we sustain our credit unions when not everyone is a government. Say, if that was happening at a community credit union, smaller they're gonna have a forced merger placed on them. And so governance isn't about I got I'm gonna get you, I'm gonna let you go. I don't want to make people miss hear me. Governance is making sure that if you're doing well and exceeding peer we're gonna run you your cash. Digital growth is a journey from good to great, but sometimes this journey can feel confusing, frustrating and overwhelming. The good news is you don't have to take this journey alone, because now you can join a community of growth minded marketing and sales leaders from financial brands and fin techs who are all learning, collaborating and growing together. VISIT DIGITAL GROWTH DOT com slash insider to learn more about how you can join the digital growth insider community to maximize your future digital growth potential. Now back to the show, because I want to keep you, because I saw you, because you're delivering value back to the members who I'm accountable to as a board member. I'm not accountable to you, John, I know I like you, I know Nancy, I love your kids. But I having a larger accountability to these members who selected me to be what to lead them as a director. I have to set my relationship aside with you and say, Hey, why? Why? You say you're mentioning that we've been not doing well because of the pandemic. I get that, but in that Peer Group there were four hundred other credit unions. Why are we bottom twenty? It for centile won't. Weren't those other credit unions in the same pandemic as you? What's the problem? And so people struggle with having everything. Is a human humanistic in some ways, and a lot of times humans struggle with accountability and therefore they struggle with governance structures. If you're really you're you're tapping into the whole next book, which is banking on change, because it's the it's any type of transformation. There was an HBR article that was recently published on this that Audrey, who's our operations lead here, shared with me. Any type of transformation is emotional. It's we're emotive beings and I think I want to get your take on this just personally. Um, you've seen a tremendous amount of change in your career in the industry and you've looked at it from a lot of different angles. How do you personally deal with all of the exponential changes going on at the present moment so that you...

...personally don't get trapped in the Cave of complacency? And I think that's where a lot of US get trapped. We become complacent because we've been, quote unquote, successful. But the past is no longer a predictor of the future, particularly when there's exponential change happening at an exponential rate. What's your take on this for yourself personally, I guess. So I started my firm eleven years ago, uh, after working for a C P, a firm, and I landed my largest client. It was a large institution and it made up seventy of my revenue. Leadership changed all of a sudden they left. It's a guerrilla client. Yeah, I did that, and so what I realized is is that you can never rest on your laurels and that you the best way to be ready for change is anti paid it and flow with it, they say. What do they say? Be like water Um and just kind of move with it and and embrace it and just be flexible, be meanable, like just kind of constantly sharpening your saw so that when it comes you're ready for it. So it's just about not whining about it, being flexible and welcoming the positive side of whatever that change is gonna because, excepting the game, the game is the game and, Um, they're gonna be new entrances into the market, new technologies, new firms, new competition, and just accepted as the game that you're in, the thing that you signed up for. Yeah, I think that's a great mindset. It's just love the game and love playing the game. And I think you know, Entrepreneur Myself, twenty years ago I started this thing. I was a sophomore in college, so I was probably young and dumb enough to not know what I didn't know and experience a tremendous amount of failure along the way, a lot of heartache, but it's every single one of those lessons I'm able to take forward with me to be even better than what I was before as a leader. Um, and I think, I think what you said to I want to come back to is the idea of a visionary, visionary leadership to be able to see what others are not able to see. Number one, to bring the future into the present moment and then number two, provide inspiration, provides some hope, provides some optimism and a path forward. And there's a difference between, I think, visionary leadership and then just we'll call it management, because management is to make sure that things are running correctly in the present moment. We have to have both sides of the coin. A visionary leader needs a strong manager and a strong manager needs a visionary leader. This has written about Gino whickman Um in his EOS, the entrepreneurial operating system, and uh, there's another book too with Mark Winners, called rocket fuel. Every visionary needs an integrator, every integrator needs a visionary. Where might there be an opportunity to inspire more of these dynamic rocket fuel like relationships? It might not necessarily be entrepreneurial, but maybe it's entrepreneurial right. Entrepreneur is definitely the way to do it. One of the things that I'm working on right now um with a credit union and we're trying to create a talent pipeline and they recognize that. You know, with remote work, there's they're losing people either because there's certain areas that they're unwilling to do remote work for, or just people that they're even if they're in areas that they're open to do remote work. So I just wants to take another opportunity. I can stay here in my snuggy and work for a company in California and just you're you're fine. I just want to do something different. How do you backfill that? And... one of the things that we're doing recreating a type A talent pipeline, like how do you get a person from a call center to a B s a analysts, from a teller to a commercial lender? Internally, and in doing that, it's this and that I mentioned to the the HR professional that I'm working with. We're starting a business within your credit union. I need you to accept that, because I think I could see her. How is this gonna work? ARE THEY gonna buy into it? I don't know. I have the structure, but I know that what we have to do not just deliver this we have. We don't just have to deliver the process, the output. Guess what else we need to do? We're gonna have to what sell it. That's what makes us entrepreneurial, ability to develop, design the product, but also sell it, which in other words, get to buy in from the stakeholders who are gonna have to be the owners of Um this process. So innovation gets tossed around, around, you know, around around a lot. It's really Um. When I think about a visionary Um. If I was to say it another way, it's a humble observer of the now. Okay, a humble observer of the now, meaning most of the time when people are visioning their observing a problem with it with some humility. Men, I don't understand this. Why is it this way? What if we did it another way and then they step in? My opinion, when people would they miss about visionaries is that most visionaries are standing on someone else's shoulders. That's why I say a humble observer. What where we're at now? But they do have a vision of how they can add to it in some uh, meaningful way. So a humble observer of the of the now, who has a vision for how they like to add to it to make it even better. It's not to say what we've done up to this point is bad, but I like the word to make it not better, to make it even better, because that pays homage and respect to what we did to get to this point and I like your point. It's like, you know, visionaries standing on someone else's shoulder once again to see what others aren't able to see. But back to your point, it's the here and the now. It's the pattern matching. It's pattern matching common people problems, causing common people pain and then having the mind of a curious kindergartener to ask why, through obviously very very respectful ways, and and then, to your point, inspire, sell, influence others to begin to see what they see and then you get some ground swell to this. I'M gonna go off the path here, like I said, a corner copy of conversation, because I think a key trait to communicate a visionary perspective is to be a confident communicator. Um, and there are tremendous new ways to leverage communication as a leader, whether that be the leader of an organization or, like you said, a commercial lender. That commercial lender can then be a visionary leader to their prospective accounts, their prospective members Um. And you're doing a tremendous job of this as a and there's this whole creator economy now that's been bubbling up and people are having conversations about your you said this before we hit record. Content. Content is so key to communicating clarity. Content is to help people see what they can't see. Content is key to communicating confidence. But you said something here, because I think back us up of how you got to this point as a leveraging digital technologies, video podcasts, that I don't see many...

...leaders and lenders using at this point in their day to day activities. I see a tremendous opportunity. They're not there yet. So let's roll back. How you got to this point and how has this allowed you to leverage communication at scale? As an entrepreneur, I realized that I couldn't be everywhere at once and I needed to find other revenue streams. And then, also as a small business, I also realized that I did not have the budget at that time to do a lot of uh, you know I did. I took a bit out, maybe like seven years ago, group in Chicago to shoot a three minute commercial. They came back six thousand dollars. I was like no, I can't do that, not for one. You know what I mean. Maybe you give me a pack of like ten, maybe, but that you know, of three. I couldn't do it, and so I went to Youtube University, and I think that so you say I had a problem, and I think where some people, somebody listening not I accept the fact I have a if I'm gonna push through, and I think one of the things that in my own impostor syndrome that I worked through is speaking about what what you're gifted at. When I realized that I had a wall, I said, you know what, I'm gonna teach myself how to do this. And so, all right, worked on Youtube, bought the equipment and over seven years leading up into the pandemic, I was trying to perfect this, like trying to get this so you can see the different iterations of how the video production has improved and what I think that if I grew, I'm I'm forty one, my eighties baby, and so when you, when I, when other people, sometimes look at video, you think about it like that's what stars do, that's what people who have money, they create productions. No, I think video, digital creation will be as ubiquitous as pen and paper. My children and my kids I'm making them learn adobe premiere pro and things of that nature the same way I'm making them learn how to read and write the because it's a tool of expression going forward digitally period. It's not this thing segmented to this adept group. No, you just start realize that it's gonna be a long journey, you're gonna screw up, you're gonna look silly, sound silly sometimes, but you move forward and I think if organizations just embark on the journey of digital creation and putting themselves out there and not trying to tie behind. Well, I'm snooty, you know. I'm CEO of there's no you know, I have a credit union CEO. I'm telling the right now. What I want you to do is just get on every day and talk about what you like to eat in the town and just be yourself. She's a beautiful personality and most people are gonna say, Oh, you're hooted, and people are gonna Start Walking up to you in the grocery store and say, Hey, I love I eat at that same place on Roger's avenue, and then then it's gonna turn into a conversation or hey, can who are you checking with? I don't know, I just check what you bank down the street or what? Oh, how about you come I can help you. It creates opportunities to feel seen and for people to connect with you in your uniqueness. That's what digital content does for you. It allows for you to connect with people who are for you and who isn't for you. They can stay away, you know, and so I just it's it's it's starting, it's being humble, it's being open to failure but also realizing and on the other end of it, it's beneficial for your your organization, and it does not have to have this Um high quality veneer for your message to be received by your your potential in consumer, for the for the dear listener, I'm gonna Recommend to see a leader doing this. Keith Costello, Keith Castello, sixty five years old, uh CEO of the new locality bank out of Miami, Florida market, and he literally he gets...

...his phone, he's walking to work, he flips it on, he records, I mean, he broke the whole, you know, rate increased thing almost in real time, and he has about, I don't know, people that follow him on Linkedin. And if you think about this, you're like, Oh, I don't want to be an influencer and I think once again we're the same, literally the same age. I turned forty one into the month, and so we have seen things. We know what the world was like before digital but we've also we did it, grow up in it per se, but the Internet was there. Man. Uh. There was a good morning today show segment where the anchors were talking about the at symbol of the email. What's the at symbol? And I was, I don't know, ninety four, I was like seventh grade. Remember logging on to the Internet back then and it was probably, yeah, it was probably sixth grade even, because I would go up to my dad to work with him because they had the internet, like I connect with people in these chat rooms and we talked about baseball cards and things like that. So it was like ninety three, maybe even wow, and I just remember like how much this was gonna change things. I couldn't article. It was seventh and seventh grade, but July, I think it was July, what came out? There was a day that bezos founded Amazon, and people at the time would have said, oh, man, you're crazy. No one's gonna buy anything online, no one's gonna buy books, no one's gonna buy shoes or clothes or any of this stuff like it. But then in what happened? We know what happened. Nineteen ninety five, may eight. It was the day that wells Fargo launched online banking. No one's gonna Bank online. It's not safe, it's not secure, and I think it's the same thing right here, as a lead or as a lender even to have the courage to build, the courage to commit to use these new communication tools. And I'm so grateful. I'm so thankful for you as a father, really empowering and encouraging your children to learn these tools, because that's all they are. It's like what Guttenberg did with the printing press. This is the same type of thing and we're living in real time. It is and now it's it comes down to local community, because if you're in a local community, there's no better way to communicate with with your members and your account holders and become more personal, to become more real, not hide behind the the C suite, be out with the people. Right Um, when I last week at the Louisiana Credit Union League's Convention, I gave out some marketing awards and they showed some of the videos that some marketing departments to create it, and one of them where they would just walk. They just videotape themselves walking up to the local gas pump and pain of people's gas, just and and but you could, you could literally see the motion. Really Gases expense, of course. And who do you who do you bank with? And most of the time people don't know why, like they don't have a connection really to who they're you meaning, meaning, I can. You know, I can make that real easy for you. I could. You know, you I care. We do this. We help the local boys and Girls Club, meaning you could your money if you bank with us, change your mortgage to us. I know you're busy, but just by doing business with us you enable us to stay alive, stay stay functional. But then also we take some of what you do, you give us and we help the community. So you can just go do what you're doing. But all you need to do is just come in next Tuesday. Take about an hour and maybe not as fast as rocket mortgage, maybe not as fast as well far ago, but there's gotta you know we're getting there. But if you just give me an hour, hour and a half of your time, I can switch that out. And you can feel good about who you're banking with. That's it. That's all I'm really...

...saying. People need to be willing to do and to the extent that somebody's Um on the other end of this line, just I'm not doing that, okay, cool. That person can have and be grumpy to the extent that there's not top down pressure making them do it something else. And if there was top down pressure, if they felt hey, you know, our strategic objectives said for the last two years, we need to improve checking account growth, we need to improve members outside of our indirect lending channels, then you would be looking around for how you can do it. Short of that pressure, Short of governance, uh, rewarding people who do do it well, we're gonna be in the S we're gonna be in the boat that we're in right now. And I'm seeing on the Community Bank side, just in the community bank side, there's more, in my opinion, more incentives. That's where you see that juxtaposition between community banks and credit unions, meaning if I have a management team and my money, my GRANDPA's inheritance, is in that bank and you over there not innovating, not doing your job, if I have the largest share, I'm gonna walk up in that boardroom and be like Yo, you gotta go. That's the difference. That's some of the differences between community banks and credit unions. With credit unions, that ownership structure is is cooperative, it's shared between thousands of people and but it's consolidated into a few who do not have direct monetary ownership of the organization, and so they create a different Um accountability, whereas again, Community Bank, Hey, Yo, my stock price don't win down. Whose fault is that? You know what I mean? And so that that's that's I um, because I used to be I know I mean, I used to be a bank examiner, you know what I mean. So I regulated UH, community banks all up and down the southeast, and so I have, I think, a unique perspective on the differences between community banks and credit unions. I like the idea of accountability and ants and man, this has been such a fantastic conversation, a Cornucopia, if you will. We've covered a gumbo exactly. You're just coming back from from New Orleans, from Louisiana, with a Gumbo of conversation, a Gumbo of goodness. As we wrap up here because we've covered so much. I like the idea of accountability and I always want to I want to help hold the listener accountable as best that we possibly can and just set them off with one small action that leads to positive transformation. And I say small because every, you know, journey of a thousand miles starts with a simple step forward. What's the what's the one thing that you would recommend that they do next? Journal, I, Journal. I have, I don't know, twenty of these scattered throughout my office. Um, I go through maybe like three a year. And Journal, Journal, trying, you know, be just write something down how you feel and where you're at, where you want to be, so that how you you know what things you want to improve on. Write it down and then reflect on it every now and then and and so that you can go back. I can go back to two thousand and fourteen and say, Hey, I said, I did say I was going to start a youtube channel and I did it. You know what I mean. You can go back and you reflect the one small action. You don't have to be this kind of book. It doesn't have to be written. I prefer it being written. Uh, it does a couple of things. It encourages you, but then also selfishly, you're leaving bread crumbs for your children, whoever comes after you to kind of know who you...

...are and what you were doing at that point in time in your life. I think that journaling has um done, done a lot for me, because there are moments when you get lost in the dark and you can find your way back because you remember you we had, you've had better moments. You know, there's so much stoic wisdom and and banking on change. I have an entire chapter that I've written about digital stoicism. And you look at some of the greatest thinkers and leaders. Um Marcus Aurelius right with his book meditations. Um He, there it is. You've got the book. You're holding the book up right now. Meditations. I mean the man most one of the most powerful men of his time in the entire world was dealing with the same exact things that we're struggling with two. So I'm I'm right there with you. Thank you so much answering for the conversation. If someone wants to continue the conversation with you, how can they best reach out, connect and say hello? You find me on Linkedin. Also, our youtube channel is credit unions dot training. Please make sure you subscribe it. Like you can find my name on Anson Cool A, N C I, N C O o l e Y on Youtube. Our website is ww dot S Y N C UC DOT COM. That's your credit union website, and our banking website is ww DOT S Y N B C, Synergy Bank consulting DOT COM. We provide strategic planning, board training, enterprise risk management, process development, as well as loan review. And so if you need any help with those services or just want to chat, give me how. Connect with Anson, learn with Anson, grow with Anson Anson. Thank you again, sir, for joining me for another episode of banking on digital growth. Thank you, thanks for having me as always, and until next time, be well, do good and make your bed. Thank you for listening to another episode of banking on digital growth with James Robert Lay. To get even more practical and proven insights, along with coaching and guidance, visit digital growth dot com slash insider to join a community of growth minded marketing and sales leaders from financial brands and fin techs. Until next time, be well and do good.

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