Ever paid a premium for those small, juicy farmers market strawberries, rather than the giant, pale strawberries you typically find in the grocery store? According to Ty Robbins, CIO of People’s Trust FCU, credit unions offer the financial equivalent of farmers market strawberries, with one crucial difference. He joins our podcast to share his passion for using cooperative principles and technology to bring the credit union of tomorrow to life today.
Key Insights and Takeaways
- Credit unions need to do a better job capitalizing on their unique status as the “farmer’s markets'” of the financial industry. People have shown that they are willing to go out of their way, and even pay a premium, to support co-ops, and credit unions actually save members money. Credit unions can enjoy a substantial advantage over traditional banks, as long as the advantage is capably articulated.
- Many credit unions, and financial services companies in general, are no longer financial services companies with some technology; rather, they have shifted into technology companies that happen to deliver financial services. If the credit union industry wants to stay relevant, it needs to embrace this shift.
- Scrap “that’s the way we’ve always done it” from your vocabulary. This well-worn phrase is the number one hindrance to technological progress and innovation, and it should set off alarm bells whenever you hear it. Anyone saying this is either knowingly or unknowingly protecting inefficiencies.
You can read the full transcription here:
Cameron: Hello, and welcome to another episode of the Remarkable Credit Union Podcast. We created our podcast to help credit union leaders and marketers think outside of the box about marketing, technology and community impact. Each episode we bring on guests from inside and outside of the industry for conversations about innovation. Our goal is to challenge your preconceptions about business as usual, and for that reason I’m especially excited for our guest today, because challenging preconception is what he seems to do.
Cameron: I’m excited to introduce Ty Robbins. Ty came originally from outside of the credit union industry. Among many others things, as I found on his LinkedIn page, was Director of Technical Infrastructure for a group called ACT Conferencing, and currently he’s the AVP/CIO at People’s Trust FCU. Ty has a couple of interesting things he does. One, he was a CUDE or a C-U-D-E, it’s actually how I met him at the training through the National Credit Union Foundation. And he’s also currently a member of the Credit Union Financial Exchange Architecture Committee, which is writing the standard for data transport for the entire industry.
Cameron: And on a personal note, Ty and his wife used to be volunteer EMTs. They have a son and a daughter, aged eight and ten. His daughter is one of the first female boy scouts in Texas and they have a menagerie of pets at home, only one of which Ty actually remembers agreeing to have in the house. Ty, thanks for joining us.
Ty Robbins: That’s right. It’s my pleasure. How are you doing Cameron?
Cameron: I’m doing great. So I’d love to start of us with… We’ll get to lots of stuff about credit unions, but I think you have a particularly interesting story. I remember a line you shared with me was that you spent 25 years of your career making other people wealthy. And then you would seek service opportunities outside of your job. And you’ve gone through quite a journey, and it seems like you look at that differently. So I’d love to hear kind of where you came from and how your focus has changed based on your experiences.
Ty Robbins: Well, it’s interesting and I don’t even think I mentioned this part to you, but I originally went to college with the notion of bridging the gap between two different industries. So I actually have a degree in Architecture and I have a degree in Civil Engineering, and I all but defended by Thesis for a Masters in Structural Engineering. And I always anticipated being the guy who got Architects and Engineers together because there’s typically a confrontational, if not almost, adversarial relationship that architects and engineers have. The joke has always been, architects design with sky hooks, meaning no reality based in physics. And the engineers have to bring them back down to earth, but always were too conservative. And so I was going to be the guy who helped them all work together better.
Ty Robbins: And so I started my career writing software standards that wound up probably in the floor of the building that you’re in right now. I worked for a very large lumber company and they make wooden products, they make wood floors. And if you have any of their products in your home, then my engineering from almost 30 years ago is in that software still. And so that was a perfect example of how I wanted to bridge the gap.
Ty Robbins: And so, that evolved into just straight technology, because civil engineers don’t actually make a whole lot of qualified living. They’re really taken for granted. And so I just focused on the technology of what I was doing, trying to bring technology to people in a meaningful way. And that’s always been my mission with technology is to make technology accessible, make technology approachable and help people understand. And I did that for 25 years, mostly in the telecommunications industry where, through my efforts, my designs, my architectures, I have, like you said, I helped other people amass wealth.
Ty Robbins: And in 2014, after my last major architectural technology project, that company, the one you mentioned, ACT, they were bought by a 600 pound gorilla in the conferencing space, and we were all invited to seek life elsewhere. And that was a shame.
Ty Robbins: But at that point I realized that I had spent so much of my life doing service outside of my career, that maybe it was time to find a career path that combined my technology expertise with service of some type. And I asked the internet and my recruiters, a vast array of recruiters, what were the opportunities that I should be looking for. And we considered global organization, NGOs, we considered not-for- profit, non-profit, educational institutions, you name it.
Ty Robbins: And a recruiter from Southern Colorado found me and said, “Have you ever heard of the credit union movement?” And at the time I was unaware that credit union equaled movement. I didn’t get it. My wife had had a pretty abysmal relationship with a credit union that she was a member of, and so I just honestly, and I don’t mean to offend any of our listeners, but I honestly thought of credit unions, at that time, as some kind of well ran substandard banking substitute.
Ty Robbins: And he sat me down and he told me what the movement really was about. And I tell you, I bought in all the way. And I went and joined a credit union in the Pacific Northwest, and really started to see a number of things about technology in the credit union space, that we can get into a little bit later. But ultimately, I found an opportunity for service and my continued desire to really live in the credit union movement in a meaningful way, is what led me to People’s Trust here in Houston, because we are just so well supported to walk the talk and live the values that the credit union movement espouses.
Cameron: All right. So that’s a perfect segue. I’d love to talk a little bit about your credit union. People’s Trust seems like an unusual credit union, perhaps compared to the norm. I remember when we first emailed, the first thing I noticed was that your URL was un-banking.org. And then when I looked at the site I notice you guys call yourself a financial co-op and not a credit union. And then when we got to know each other at DE training, it sounded like you guys have a really interesting strategy to differentiate from other financial institutions on values and target market. So I’d love to share a little bit of that with our audience.
Ty Robbins: Our history is that we were originally the Shell Employees Federal Credit Union servicing that community specifically, as a primary segment. And what’s interesting about oil companies, in general, with credit unions is they don’t even want to co-mingle against their white collar and blue collar communities. So most oil companies have two credit unions. One for the people who work in their physical plants and in their refineries, and another credit union for the people who work in research development, exploration, and the offices. And so it’s kind of an interesting dichotomy that you start with.
Ty Robbins: Well, as you know, the oil industry is boom and bust. And so rightly, the leaders then in about 2005 reorganized in their community charter with the NCUA and realized that the branding needed to be updated. And they really focused on how the people did trust them. And so the name comes from the fact that people do trust us. And, I mean at the time there was a history of a lot of bank scandal and so un-banking and people’s trust became kind of a combined message. You can come here, you can trust us.
Ty Robbins: And the reason we went with Co-op, versus putting credit union in our branding, is just directly to the co-operative principles that govern the entire credit union movement. One of the things that the credit union movement doesn’t do enough of, in my opinion, or maybe doesn’t do particularly well, is distinguish themselves from the banking industry as a whole. We offer all of the same services, but we don’t necessarily do a very good job of explaining why there’s a benefit to doing business with us versus a large bank. And those co-operative principles are at the heart of that.
Ty Robbins: And my soapbox, lately, has been kind of, “If you’re willing to go to the trouble to eat local and shop local and do business locally, you really need to bank locally.” And that’s what credit unions are. We are the farmer’s market equivalent of financial institutions. We offer all the same products. There really isn’t ever a premium for it. In fact most people save money by doing business with a credit union versus a bank, on fees, on interest rates, etc. And this is the part where most people who do business with a credit union miss understanding they’re part owners of the institution. Their membership gives them a vote in deciding what path this, or any credit union, should be on.
Ty Robbins: And so it’s really kind of sad that we under-represent ourselves as an industry. But those co-operative principles, and if you’re not familiar with the co-operative principles out there, I really encourage you to seek education. There are some principles and philosophies classes that are going on nationwide in your area. There’s the CUDE Program with the Foundation.
Ty Robbins: But those fundamental co-operative principles which are, democratic member control, voluntary membership, the participation economically of the members, autonomy, independence, being focused on the community and having a concern for community and the development issues in your community, co-operation among other co-operatives, and education, training and information. If you add all of that up it’s a nirvana of helping people understand what their money can do for them and for their neighbor. And we just miss that opportunity.
Ty Robbins: So that’s why we put co-op up there. Now, not entirely sure even we do a good job of explaining that when people are coming in to open a membership or get a checking account, but the reality is, is that’s what un-banking is all about. And that’s what co-op means to us. And at the end of the day, an organization that’s willing to put their principles up front like that, that’s the place I want to be, because that means my service takes a front and center position with the technology and my expertise. And that’s the point. That’s where my comfort zone is. That’s how I can be satisfied that what I’m doing is making the mark.
Cameron: Yeah. That’s a great perspective. I love your line that we’re like the farmer’s market of banks. I think one of the issues, actually is the term “credit union” is so common that people actually have kind of lost the understanding of what it means.
Ty Robbins: We were just having that conversation, Cameron, and just the word “union” implies some kind of exclusivity. You have to be a member of something before you can even entertain doing business there. And in so many cases, in fact most cases these days, that’s not the case. And so, as an industry we need to help people understand. And I’m a little bit more of that whole thinking, is to me… You’re in the Pacific Northwest right?
Ty Robbins: How many people where you live go out of their way to spend extra money on co-ops, whether it’s REI or the Farmer’s Market, Farmed Shared Co-op? Or how many people out there will buy a $10 canvas bag to prevent having to make the choice between paper and plastic, right? People are willing to pay a premium for what co-op implies. And we’re not even asking you in the credit union industry for a premium. In fact, we’re going to save you money.
Ty Robbins: I have the statistics. Doing business with People’s Trust in Houston saves you over $400 a year. Statistically proven. And I think the industry is right around, I think we’re a little bit ahead of the industry, but I think the industry is above $350. We actually save you money. So we’re not even asking for a premium to have all of those co-operative benefits that people are coming to expect.
Ty Robbins: And I guess the point I’m trying to make is if you’re willing to make decisions like that on something as incidental as where your corn comes from, or where you buy your next set of skis or a bike, or a kayak or anything like that, when you must be doing business with a credit union. You should be doing business with a credit union because every penny that you contribute to your own financial benefit, will also help somebody else. And it’s a shame if you’re not taking advantage of that.
Cameron: Amen. All right. That’s why I wanted you on the podcast. I always love your passion. Let me build on that. One thing you guys do that’s really interesting, that you told me about, at People’s Trust, is that your leadership team actually has a requirement to do the National Credit Union Foundation’s DE Training Program, and that’s really unusual. And my understanding is most credit unions you have one or two people in leadership, at all if they’re lucky, and so I’m curious, why do you guys require that and what are the benefits?
Ty Robbins: So this is actually an interesting one. I wanted to be a DE when I was starting in the industry, and the credit union I was at didn’t understand the program well enough to think there was any value to it. And that was a shame. A real shame, because they’re a bunch of enthusiastic people. And even through my continued relationship with some of them, I’m trying to get some of them get there, so that they can see the benefit.
Ty Robbins: But here at People’s Trust, if you’re in a leadership position, we want you to be a DE because it helps you keep your headspace, if you will, your mindset on the most important lens. It’s not enough to say, “Oh, we’re not-for-profit.” Because you can say that but you’re still going to make business based decisions based on business based rules. But what’s best for a credit union is to have the lens of those co-operative principles in the development issues in how you make the decisions.
Ty Robbins: And so when we sit in our ALCO Committee Assets and Liabilities and we discuss rates, the very first question for a set of leaders who’ve all been through DE is, “What’s the best thing to do for the member here?” And then the conversation starts from there. Not, what’s the best thing to do because the Fed did X, or because our competitors are doing Y, or none of that. What’s the best thing for us to be doing for our member right now?
Ty Robbins: And then, those other considerations do make it into the conversation, but being a DE makes sure that our lens is always focused on the member first. And that’s the benefit, and that benefits everybody. If you have the development issues or the co-operative principles in mind all of the time, then you’ve got a map right in front of you for how you should be filtering and discussing any issue that comes to the credit union, any issue at all.
Cameron: Yeah, it’s such a critical baseline I think. One of the things that was fascinating for me is also as I learned more about the credit union industry, and as you put it, the movement inside of it, because I don’t think the entire industry is a movement, but I think there’s a really amazing collection of people who are connected more deeply to the co-operative principles, is this notion that you end up looking like the folks that you compare yourselves to.
Cameron: And I think one of the biggest challenges of the NCUA, being the regulatory body and being an insurance fund, and just the prevalence of data in the banking industry overall, is that credit unions spend a lot of time comparing themselves to banks. And I think if you don’t have that sort of deep rooting and what it is that makes you different, because as you said, the products aren’t what make you different, right? Like most industries, it’s a commodity industry, so it’s hard to have something that’s unique or different from a product standpoint. And so it’s actually the values and the beliefs and the principles and really being able to make that tangible and real for your members.
Cameron: But that’s my soapbox. All right, so back to you. And you know, as we mentioned in the beginning, you started from outside of the credit union space, and I’d love to know, you’ve now been in a couple of credit unions, you’ve been to a bunch of events, what surprises you the most about, I think of “business as usual,” and what that looks like for credit unions compared to other places that you’ve worked.
Ty Robbins: Yeah, this is where I get away from the movement a little bit and talk more about my technology soapbox. And I’d have to say now that I have had the opportunity to consult with credit unions and now my network, five years in, is pretty extensive. And I know so many great people now. I’m finding that my early frustrations with the credit union industry from a technology standpoint, are actually replicated almost everywhere. And so I’m going to put it just, put it down flat and see how people react to it.
Ty Robbins: But the biggest fallacy of credit unions, especially with technology, but not just with the technology, is we don’t know what we don’t know. And it’s a double edged sword because we have so many amazing institutions that kind of grew organically, if you will, and the leadership, half the leadership can say, “I started as a teller,” or “I started as a member service representative,” or whatever the title is you use these days. But now you’re a VP of something. And some credit unions I’ve heard, rotate their VPs through all the roles for cross training purposes. And I think that’s fantastic.
Ty Robbins: But the reality is in so many ways, especially with technology, we don’t know what we don’t know and that allows our vendors an unreasonable amount of leverage over us. Case in point, and I’m not going to get into names. But I came to Houston here at People’s Trust and they had a managed service provider. They did a bill of services and it cost $7000 a month. When I actually priced those services in the open market, not with a known credit union vendor, those services were much, much cheaper. When I actually replaced those services with ACUSO, that I’m associated with and helping to develop, we had a four fold value differential for the money we spent. Meaning, we got four times the services for the same money we were spending with Vendor X, who had complacently become kind of a predator amongst credit union services.
Ty Robbins: And so, it really, you can apply that to managed services. You can apply that to many core systems and I know this doesn’t make me any friends amongst our vendors, but the reality is, is that a lot of the spending done on technology in the credit union space is predicated on the ignorance on the credit union leadership and staff, so that the business models of 20 years ago can persist.
Cameron: And do you think the solution to that is bringing more people in from outside of the industry, especially in IT?
Ty Robbins: I think that’s part of it. I think that’s part of what you can do. I think this is going to be a little bit of a hooray for us. But the reality is, is that standardization efforts like the Credit Union Financial Exchange, CUFX, those kinds of things when taken seriously by our vendors, our existing vendors, can go very far toward building a great degree of trust and rebuilding those relationships that are currently predicated on misinformation.
Ty Robbins: Again, not to name names, because I’m looking to create a rift, but there’s a core vendor out there who runs on a mainframe. Okay? That’s not terribly unreasonable. But you pay $200000 for the computer, when in fact it’s a rebranded off the shelf PC that costs $2000. And there’s no difference. But, because it’s now got a virtual mainframe running on it, you just paid $200000 for it. So I mean getting an order, no, that’s two orders of magnitude of money from a credit union for something that should cost $2000, but it’s completely unreasonable, and it’s based on ignorance.
Cameron: So what would you say are the best opportunities around that? You said some is bringing people in from outside of the industry. Some of it might be policies. Is there also an element of, because I’ve heard this as well that, is this an area where actually kind of a co-operative mindset works against you and credit unions aren’t willing, especially in the technology space, to ask the hard questions?
Ty Robbins: Well, that one’s actually a little bit tougher, because I’m not going to say that the co-operative mentality will work against you completely. We replaced the vendor I told you about for professional services here in Houston with ACUSO. They are all about our movement and they are all about co-operative principles, and they are also fair minded. So that’s where I found that benefit, and it came with a vendor who was committed to our co-operative principles and our development issues.
Ty Robbins: And so I would encourage anybody to find a vendor that’s already aligned with how we do, and why we do what we do, as a credit union industry. So I think there’s a possibility there. But I think bringing in people from outside the industry… I have a handful of friends that, we meet up at CUNA Tech and other events every year, and we all came from outside the industry about the same time, between three and seven years ago. And we’re all just kind of amazed at how slow things go in the industry and how hard it is to turn the ship.
Ty Robbins: What we really need to do I think, as an industry, is consider the following. Most leadership teams in credit unions right now regard credit unions as financial institutions that use technology. I think the most beneficial paradigm shift we can make as an industry is to admit that we are actually evolving into technology companies that deliver financial services. And I don’t want anybody to misunderstand. I’m not trying to get a blank check for all of my tech friends out there. That’s not the point. The point is that you’ve got to put, much like in my engineering days, you have to put the fundamental technologies, those foundational technologies first, and you need to make sure that they’re very stable, and that you’re getting fair value for fair spend, and then you can take things forward.
Ty Robbins: I think it’s not necessary that we all have to manage our own hardware. I think we should embrace, where it makes sense, and where it’s appropriate, Cloud technologies. I think we should embrace having our specialized technology staff in our credit unions focused on moving our needles forward, moving our cause forward versus just keeping the lights on.
Ty Robbins: I have actually an interesting analogy that came up the other day as we were discussing professional services with my Board here at People’s Trust. And it came down to the analogy of kind of size of scale. And so I have a relatively small team here. There’s five of us, myself included. And we have a whole bunch of specialized people on that staff. They’re dedicated to the core, they’re dedicated to the client application of the core, but may be dedicated specifically to the data that exists inside of our systems. And all of them spend more than half of their time dealing with regular IT mundane tickets.
Ty Robbins: And so, the analogy of a race car team is that we hired a bunch of drivers and then we asked them to be mechanics. And so the cars are not being driven. We’re just tinkering with the cars so that it keeps running. And that’s a waste of all of this talent that I have in the room. So we went out and got a third party and we finally got mechanics. And then using third party for the help desk and the mundane IT stuff actually saved us money. It was less than a comparable head count to get that service in place. And so now I’ve got mechanics and now I’ve got drivers.
Ty Robbins: And so I explained that to the Board, and they said, “Well why do you need a manager of that team for?” And I’m like, “Well he’s the pit chief. He’s the crew chief. He’s the one who’s changing the tires and telling the drivers how to improve their line and helping them get to the race.” And then they looked at me bluntly and said, “Well, what do we need you for then?” “Well, I’m the team manager. As your CIO, I’m the one picking the races, and in fact making sure that all of these specialized drivers are even in the right kind of car. Maybe this one needs to be in a truck for the Baja 1000 and this one needs to be in a Formula 1 car. And so that’s what I’m doing.” And then they turned around and they said, “Well who are we?” And I’m like, “It’s your name on the car. You’re the sponsor.” [crosstalk 00:25:29]
Cameron: This is a good Board you have. I like these questions they’re asking you.
Ty Robbins: Oh, it was a really good conversation. And it’s interesting because we were asking for money for those foundation technologies and the money, and the conversation started with, “Do you really need this? Do we really need to spend this money?” And the conversation ended with, “Are you sure you’ve asked for enough because now that we understand where you’re coming from, we want to make sure you’re well supplied.”
Ty Robbins: And so, my whole career is about how do people tell stories with one another and how do you tell stories for success when you’re working with me, or we’re collaborating together. And so the story that the Board and I told that night was one of mutual understanding and respect. And it went really far, and it was one of the biggest successes of my last year. And it was fun to have that exchange with them, and have them, have those light bulbs go off. I mean it’s great that they’re willing to write me a bigger check. I didn’t need one, but that’s where the mutual respect and trust comes from. So you’ve got to have people on your staff that you do trust to do the right thing. But then you also have to have the right kind of leadership and support behind them, so that when you go to the Board you’re able to tell those stories. And my leadership is absolutely the best. I can’t say enough about them.
Cameron: Oh, that’s fantastic. I think it’s a great example of storytelling. Because I think so often IT communication is anything but clear and anything that’s expressed in a way that non-technical people can wrap their hands around. I’d love to segue into one last question before we wrap up.
Cameron: We learned a lot about where credit unions came from, the origins of the movement, and DE training, as you said you became a convert, even when you were talking to a recruiter before you started working for a credit union. But I’d love to hear what do you think the relevance of the credit union movement looks like today and what do you think it will look like in the future?
Ty Robbins: To understand my answer, I’d have to go all the way back to some of those very first examples that you and I studied when we were at DE together. Talking about those very first credit unions where everybody put in five bucks and then they took turns using that capital for a positive outcome.
Ty Robbins: The reality is, is that still what credit unions can represent and I think that we need to tell our story better. I think the relevance couldn’t be higher, with all of the uncertainty in the world, whether you’re talking about… Well gosh I mean, I don’t even have to label it, and I certainly don’t want to get political, but the reality is with all the uncertainty in the world, I think credit unions become a very relevant component of civic responsibility. I really do.
Ty Robbins: I tell this to my kids. They get it. They understand what I do and why I do what I do. And they both, as soon as their piggy banks weigh a certain amount they get to come in and open an account. And so they’re doing their best to get those things up to weight so they can come in and open their very first account. And it will be with our credit union. And I imagine they’ll be lifelong credit union members.
Ty Robbins: The relevance is just that. If you want meaning in your financial life, then the credit union is the only place you should be doing business. And there’s nothing about the future that says that shouldn’t persist. There’s nothing about the credit union of tomorrow that would be less relevant. In fact, it would be more relevant. I mean if you go back a few years and you consider all of the people willing to protest the 1%, that probably most of them had bank accounts that were lining the pockets of the 1%.
Ty Robbins: I mean the irony of that was not lost of me then, and it’s certainly not lost of me now. And if you feel that way about large institutions that have the excessive fees or have the excessive sales practices that we’ve seen in recent years, then just find any credit union. It doesn’t have to be mine. It doesn’t have to be the ones that you’re ultimately familiar with. Find the one closest to you. Find the one that may be associated with your school or your place of business, or the place you shop.
Ty Robbins: There’s a credit union out there that will give you all of the same products, generally at better rates, with more enthusiastic service, and your money is going to help yourself and your neighbor. How in the world could the relevance of that ever, ever dwindle? To me it can only get stronger and I hope that people see that and see the value of it.
Cameron: That was a great way to say it. I have a friend who is a voting, a voter turnout specialist, basically, and he talks about it as the idea of using credit unions to teach democracy is one of the most exciting ideas-
Ty Robbins: Oh yeah.
Cameron: … that’s out there, right? And it’s not something that’s woven into the fabric. And I think just your general passion and clarity around what a credit union is, it’s remarkable. And I think it’s a testament to the power of, I think actually having conventional wisdom is just not that energized, often in the credit union space, but with a little bit of distance, people are able to get more clarity on what a great thing credit unions are doing, which I think is the first step to really being able to market and capitalize on those differentiators.
Cameron: I’d love to just one last question. Just do a final take, and I know you’ve got a wide range of experience and strong and passionate opinions about many things. Is there anything you’d like to leave our audience with, either to reiterate something you touched on previously, or an additional point you didn’t get to.
Ty Robbins: Well I would say a couple of things that I just would want to leave anybody with, credit union or not. The first one is, find every opportunity you can to improve your life and the lives of the people around you. And that’s the essence of co-operation. That’s the essence of all of the co-operative principles. So even if you’re not able to be in that space like I am, like Cameron is, then find an opportunity for yourself to make an improvement for yourself and for someone else. There’s no better feeling.
Ty Robbins: And what I would say to those of us in the movement and working for, with and around credit unions is, challenge yourself to an open mind. The biggest inhibitor of productivity is the phrase, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” And that basically encapsulates the challenges that I think most credit unions are facing when it comes to modernization, technology, or even improving the way we do things on the front line. So challenge yourself to never say, “That’s the way we’ve always done it.” And if you hear somebody say that, challenge them to get out of that mindset so that you can innovate something.
Cameron: The mind is like a parachute, it functions best when it’s open. All right. Thank you, my friend, it was great to have you on.
Ty Robbins: Yeah. Yeah, I love it. Anything I can ever do and for your audience as well. I mean I have no secrets and I share everything. So if there’s anything I can do for you, ask Cameron and he’ll get you in touch with me.
Cameron: All right, thank you. We appreciate it, Ty.
Ty Robbins: Yeah. Take care.
Cameron: All right. Another great episode. I always love chatting with Ty. He has not shortage of opinions and he always makes me think and think differently. A few of my key takeaways.
Cameron: I really just love this framing that Ty kept using, this notion of we’re the farmer’s market of banks. And it’s so simple and it’s some intuitive. And then you get to say that except unlike most local shopping, we’re actually a better deal. So you help yourself and you help your neighbor. What could be better than that?
Cameron: I think it’s really compelling to look at this idea of having an entire leadership team with extensive training in the nine co-operative principles. And I wonder what would it look like if every credit union in the country had that degree of depth of familiarity with the core guiding principles of what a credit union is and what it’s not.
Cameron: I’ve always loved Ty’s IT background because I think he’s absolutely right. This notion that credit unions kind of think of themselves as financial services companies that have some technology. But it’s just become so integral, and at this point we’re really turning into technology companies that deliver financial services. And so how do you manage that transition.
Cameron: When he talked about that double edged sword of organizations that have generally grown organically, and they’ve grown from within. There’s a lot of great things about that, but how can we make sure that doesn’t become myopia and we end up limiting ourselves just to doing things the same way every time.
Cameron: I also really like this sort of envisioning of what will credit unions look like in the future. And I think he really hit the nail on the head, that it’s really this critical component of civic responsibility. There’s some great research out there that shows how Americans’ participation in civic organizations has been plummeting ever since the middle of the last century. And I just think this notion that credit unions can be used to teach democracy is so exciting. And it really opens up, it re-frames what a credit union is today where they’re no longer generally closed institutions, but they serve the community. And so they become this resource for the entire community.
Cameron: And then lastly I loved Ty’s closing comments of sort of the single biggest trigger that perhaps we can do to make sure we don’t slide in to becoming obsolete, and that we’re building towards the future rather than running away from it. As he said, just challenging yourself to an open mind and so I love that trigger. When you hear that phrase, “That’s how we’ve always done it,” that, that’s our opportunity to say, “Wait a minute. Let’s not say that.” And anytime someone else says that, let’s use that as a sign that we need to dig deeper.
Cameron: All right. Thanks for joining us today. Join us next time for a conversation with one of the most exciting start-up credit unions in the country, Civic Federal Credit Union. And until then I wish you all the best of luck in making your credit union remarkable.