May 21 2008

Back to the Future


The idea of integrating sustainability into credit union’s core strategy has been swirling around Filene for years. It wasn’t until one of our Filene Fellow introduced me to Stuart Hart (Cornell University) and Monica Touesnard that I felt that Filene could dig deeper into this proposition. Listen to Hart and Touesnard perspectives on the project:



Professor Hart and his esteemed colleague, Monica Tousenard, set out to discover the trend toward sustainability can be leveraged by credit unions. Rather than competing directly with banks, Hart and Touesnard conclude it may make more sense for credits unions to go “back to the future” by using their unique historical and organizational characterics to offer a set of products and services that differentiate them. Additional insights include:

  • Credit unions should go “back to the future” by using their unique historical and organizational characteristics to offer products and services that differentiate them other financial services providers.
  • Initiatives could include green building and paperless services such as bill pay and online banking. Product stewardship strategies might include sustainability reporting initiatives and in-house sustainability consulting services.

Hart and Touesenard highlight the work of Assiniboine Credit Union, Vancity, Alternatives Federal Credit Union, Santa Cruz Community Credit Union, mecu, and many others.

Report Number 155