I'm training for a mini Triathlon. It may sound cool, but the reality is that it is anything but cool. It's terrible. It hurts. And I'm constantly reminded I'm old.
The most challenging part seems almost ridiculous. I can't breathe out under water. I took a swimming lesson yesterday. My $30/30-minute lesson was summed up by the announcement that it's all in my head. She said my stroke and kicks are great.... until I swallow half the pool and begin to sink. I just need to breathe out. Oh, is that all?
Yesterday I did all three events back-to-back to see how I'd do. I swam. I biked. And as I was running the last mile on the treadmill something hit me about our members (yes, the cu is always on my mind). This is really hard, and what we're doing with trying to help individuals get back on their feet from bad credit is really hard. Yet our marketing all makes it seem like it's easy, it's fast, it's nearly guaranteed.
I realized I was positioning our credit union and its 'solutions' all wrong.
It isn't easy to get back on track with your finances after life happens and destroys your credit. It isn't easy to live on a budget. It isn't easy to save money. It's all hard and too many times we swallow too much debt, too much life, and we sink. I know this personally.
As we're embarking on a name change and creating our brand, I'm thinking more critically about what we DON'T want to be known for more than what we do. We aren't here for a quick fix. We need to be slower, more picky on who we help. We are looking to give a hand up, not a hand out. That takes time, practice, and hard work.
Our payday loan alternative is called Freakn' Fast because we wanted to be seen as quick and easy as a payday lender. And we wonder why it has a nearly negative ROA and we've had so many 'hit and runs' by new members with first payment defaults. We can't charge 400% so we can't afford a CO ratio of 200%.
I'm in such a hurry to give loans that I've lost sight of what we are actually trying to do.
We want to work with people who want to work hard. People who want real change so at the end of the day they can relax and breathe out.