It’s nearly football season, which gives me license to use whatever football metaphor I choose – at this stage of the pre-season they aren’t stale yet!
A football metaphor is also appropriate because of what you are likely to see when you’re watching a game on TV – commercials, and lots of them. Among them you’ve probably noticed ads from State Farm – but how many of you noticed a very important change in their positioning, one that has tremendous implications for credit unions?
If you look closely, the ads stress three things – Insurance, Mutual Funds and ‘State Farm Bank.’ We certainly count on State Farm to be selling insurance. But full-fledged banking solutions (mortgages, car loans, home equity loans) are not something most consumers expect from an insurance provider.
Remember when H&R Block made a strategic move into banking a few years ago to capture a larger share of client refund dollars? Now they offer checking and savings accounts, IRAs, CDs, lines of credits, and even their own debit and credit cards.
Just as this move from H&R Block threatened credit unions by providing competition, so too does this change in positioning from State Farm. Just like paying taxes, buying insurance is another thing that your members do each year. In fact, you bring insurance agents in town direct business by making insurance a prerequisite for receiving a car or home loan (and they thank you for it, believe me!). The entry of a firm like State Farm into the business brings scale and national brand equity to the table, which means that you’re now facing a well-funded and formidable competitor in the banking landscape that wants a larger share of your member dollars.