Two more: Filene interview, Vancity update

Thing 1. Maxed Out writer/director/producer on credit unions

On the Filene site, George just posted a rockin interview with Maxed Out writer, director, and producer James Scurlock. James starts,

As I’ve traveled the country with Maxed Out, one of the most common questions I hear is, Is a credit union a better choice than a traditional bank?

As a writer, I’m not qualified to give financial advice, but I always have to agree that, in theory, a credit union offers a lot of advantages.

.... If this industry can do a better job of telling Americans what a credit union is and why it’s different from their bank, my guess is that millions will happily make the switch.

I really want to see the movie, and George recommends the book. Anyone seen or read either yet?

Thing 2. I don’t want this comment to get lost in the mix!

Take a look at William’s brilliant response in the comment thread of our recent Vancity post (emphasis added):

I must say that as an employee of the recipient of Darren’s criticism, I also believe he has every right to use his blog as a forum for his opinion. We live in a consumer culture and retail experiences are a huge source of excitement and frustration. It’s been a wake up call for us, one we wish hadn’t happened for the reasons it did.

In the end, for me, it’s not a discussion of whether Darren should use his blog for the purposes he does, that seems self-evident. The thing for me is that he does and we either get on board or get left behind. I only wish we’d publicly joined the conversation the other times he blogged about us instead of letting everyone else shape a conversation about us without our input.

All you have to do is Google ‘Vancity customer service’ to see the power of the medium. One blogger can influence a lot of people, and to me blogs represent third party unsolicited criticism or detractions. For community and business reasons, we’d prefer the former.

Thanks all for the great discussion. Wm


William is exactly right that Darren “has every right to use his blog as a forum for his opinion”

But I can’t but wonder if William is overstating the influence one blogger has. (Nothing against Darren).

Here’s why I say that:

  1. Every body (and firm) makes mistakes. For many customers, what’s often the lasting impression is not the mistake, but how the firm handles the mistake (see the JetBlue fiasco for example).

  2. People’s loyalty (in my opinion) is shaped more by their personal experience than the experience of others. We look to our friends and family (and yes, trusted bloggers) for references, opinions, validation, etc. But if your own experience with a CU is very positive, then someone else’s problem may just be viewed as either an anomaly, or the rantings of a lunatic (I’m not accusing Darren of being a lunatic).

Having said all that, I still commend VanCity for making the effort to engage their members in a dialogue.

(But for their sake, they still need to be sure they’re delivering operational excellence).

Well put.

I agree with Ron’s points above. The reaction to the mistake is the most important component. Engaging in conversation be it via the blog, chat, phone, or in person is only useful in gettng the facts to the resolve the problem. In the end, the most important action is did they resolve it and are they looking to make sure it doesn’t happen again. I think if people value Darren’s opinion, then the only way thier opinion of VanCity would change from his opinion is if he posts a different view. As Ron states though, how many people will really value Darren’s opinion if there are competing posts from others who think VanCity is great.

Kinda of like the reviews on Amazon, you don’t just look at one review but all the reviews. And you certainly never take the publishers review as useful.

Maybe the overriding message here is that we need to encourage our members to blog about their service, good and bad and let the general public form their own opinion.

To me this is a two tiered discussion:

1> How we resolve Darren’s situation. I’ll leave that to his branch and account managers and him.

2> How Vancity responds to bloggers in our community.

This is what gets me excited. It’s been a great discussion at our head office about this, and maybe I’m letting that spill over into my posts here too much.

We are a community-driven organization, and bloggers are part of our community. That we are meeting these members where they live is a great evolution for us, and I’m happy to be in the middle of that change

Thanks, Wm

Trey and Gang, your most recent post with James Scurlock of Maxed Out reminded me of something I saw this morning.

Here in Bellingham, WA we have a thriving independent movie theatre, showing for 2 days in April is, In Debt We Trust. Have any of you heard of this one? If not check out the website

“Today, in some churches, there are debt liquidation revivals in which parishioners chip in to free each other from growing credit card debts that are driving American families to bankruptcy and desperation.” - why not walk down to your local Credit Union?

I’ve taken a little look into it this morning but this seems like something great Credit Unions could piggy back on - WE DON’T PROMOTE PREDATORY LENDING AND WE WANT TO HELP YOU GET OUT OF THE DEBT TRAP.

I don’t have a solution to get the word out, I just know you guys have a great voice in the industry and wanted to make you guys aware of this if you hadn’t heard of it.

Interesting enough I was at the Northwest Regional Conference on Reaching the Unbanked in Seattle on Tuesday and the debt trap was a hot topic. The comments from some of the banks that I heard was we are willing to help if we can find a product that allows us to make a profit.

I was taken aback by how many times the bankers offered up the word profit in reaching the unbanked, I’m glad to say I am in Credit Union Land. I’ll stop my rant now, Have a good one guys!