What Credit Unions Can Learn From Rory McIlroy

August 11, 2014 at 8:08 am 2 comments

untitledFor those of you who think that golf is about as exciting as going to knitting class with your grandmother, you obviously didn’t watch the final round of the PGA Championship in Valhalla, Kentucky yesterday.  In a scene worthy of Bill Murray in Caddyshack, the tournament wasn’t decided until 25 year old Rory McIlroy from Northern Ireland two-putted against the backdrop of a wrath-of-God sky that made seeing the ball impossible.  In fact, the announcers all suggested that the smart play was for McIlroy to finish the game this morning.  But when you’re 25, two putting in the dark to beat out a generational icon by the name of Phil Mickelson is no big deal.

So what does this have to do with credit unions?  Plenty.  As anyone who reads this blog knows, I’m in the change or die school when it comes to the future of the credit union movement.  Technology and demographics are fundamentally changing the way financial services are provided and the way consumers approach financial institutions, including credit unions.  You can take false comfort in the fact that credit unions now have approximately 100 million members, that your relatively old membership base isn’t clamoring for the newest technology and that succession planning isn’t all that important since it’s all but impossible to attract volunteers to serve on credit union boards anyway.

The problem with this thinking is that by the time your credit union realizes how misguided it is, it will be too late.  The example I keep thinking about is Kodak.  It can be forgiven for not recognizing that the smart phone was going to put it out of business, but ten years from now those credit unions that don’t recognize that Apple and Amazon are going to change the way financial services are provided will be guilty of a fundamental lack of foresight.

Which brings us back to Rory.  With his fourth major and more to come, Rory is already one of the all time greats of the game worthy of being mentioned with Jack Nicklaus and Tiger Woods.  But remember, this past April his golf game was so bad, he was actually beaten in one round at the Masters by an amateur whose job it was to round out the field.  In fact, it looked as if a generational shift away from Tiger and Phil might not come after all.  This morning, such speculation is foolish. 

I hope that your credit union is changing to meet changing times before it is too late.

Incidentally, here is a great article from the Harvard Business Review about the impact that the pace of change is having on corporate decision making.

FDIC Provides NYS Snapshot 

On Friday, the FDIC released a state-by-state snapshot of banking activity.  The report provides a useful baseline for comparison for credit unions in the tri-state area.

Entry filed under: General. Tags: , , , .

The Virtual Spy Next Door When It Comes To Enforcement, NYS Is The New Sheriff In Town

2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Mark Arnold (@jmarkarnold)  |  August 11, 2014 at 12:37 pm


    Great post–thanks for sharing! Here is another lesson credit unions can learn from Rory: don’t listen to the “old” guys and tradition. Rory was not intimidated by the course or the competition (mostly who were older than he was). Too many times credit unions fall into the trap of doing the same thing because we are tied to our old traditions (and dare I say it, old boards). As you’ve noted, it’s time credit unions change or die. That change will involve doing new and different things.


  • 2. David  |  August 11, 2014 at 7:16 pm

    I never knew that golf and credit unions could be connected. Nice article.


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Authored By:

Henry Meier, Esq., General Counsel, New York Credit Union Association.

The views Henry expresses are Henry’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the views of the Association.

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