Dec 16 2013

Collaboration in Practice: 11 Credit Union Case Studies


Collaboration is one of the first solutions offered by roomfuls of credit union CEOs and leaders: “If we would just collaborate, we could...” Insert your own answer: gain market share, drive down expenses, become consumers’ favored financial institution. The list is long, and each goal comes with a grain of truth. We can do these things, but it’s more fun to envision the payoff than to plan for the many intermediate steps collaboration requires. This report exists to map out those intermediate steps.

In preparation, Filene interviewed leaders from 11 separate credit union collaboration efforts. In addition to their case studies, we synthesized their experiences into a checklist that both long-time collaborators and first-time cooperators can use. In the end, effective collaboration is hard. It requires participants to work outside their comfort zones and almost always involves compromise. It takes time. And, frankly, it doesn’t always work. But here are a few of this reports takeaways for successfully achieving credit union collaboration:

  • Think broadly. Accept that credit unions aren't each others' greatest threats and that collaboration won't always save you money.
  • Choose the right partners. Find a shared problem and get the right people in the room.
  • Overcome objections. Get a CEO mandate and be flexible.
  • Get beyond the plateau. Stay committed and don't fear failure.

Filene thanks our generous supporters for making this important research possible.

Ben Rogers
Managing Director, Research
Report Number 314