“The U. S. credit union industry is shrinking “big time”! From 23,687 credit unions in 1970 to 9,100 as of June 2005.” Mike Wagner writes a great blog, Own Your Brand, that I have emailed to me everyday. He takes a look at some great issues from a marketing perspective as head of The White Rabbit Group in West Des Moines, IA.
“In contrast, the payday lending industry has grown rapidly over the last several years. Explosive growth would be a better term. While credit unions are sliding south, payday lending offices are reproducing like rabbits. From 2000 to 2003 the industry quadrupled in size – and they haven’t slowed.”
A 2003 report from the Center for Responsible Lending stated that “the payday lending industry…was virtually non-existent ten years ago.” An updated 2005 report showed over 22,000 payday loan shops, making loans to borrowers who average more than five payday loans per year at interest rates in the hundreds of percent PER YEAR! It is estimated that five million payday borrowers are caught in this debt trap each year.
I was intrigued by Wagner’s message of why the credit unions have shrunk while payday loan lenders have multiplied dramatically. “The credit union brand is like a buried treasure: It’s there. It hasn’t moved. It’s still valuable, relevant and much needed. Someone needs to dig it up, polish it up and live it again.”
What are you doing to make sure that your town’s brand doesn’t go the way of the credit unions? You’ve got to be constantly reinventing yourselves and keeping your message front and center.