News : DCUC Insights

Building Value Through Quality

Tuesday, January 22, 2019  
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Anthony Hernandez, DCUC President & CEO

America’s credit unions are well-known for offering their members a better value for their hard-earned paychecks and savings under their stewardship. Other benefits include interest rates on savings, certificates of deposit, and some checking accounts that exceed those offered by other types of financial institutions. The largest benefit is that interest rates on loans and credit are lower than the competition.

Defense Credit Unions feature all these benefits and offer unique customer service for their members with special programs and incentives. These include specialized support for deployed members in combat zones and their families back home. Additionally, there are several programs to help ease the many transitions between installations and career lifecycle changes. As a result, the high-level of trust in our Defense Credit Unions fuels the growth in membership and net assets.

This long-earned confidence cannot be taken for granted. Apart from legislative and regulatory interference, most potential threats to our members’ trust in us appear to be self-inflicted.

Recently, I read an article followed by many comments on social media about a trusted military financial institution that experienced a major drop in consumer confidence. In addition to financial services, this military financial institution offered its customers several ancillary products at a bargain price. Things appeared to be going well until a series of disasters struck.

Consequently, when customers really needed support from these products and services, their experiences did not meet their expectations. Of course, it is easy to say, "You always get what you pay for;” however, this is not a winning strategy. In fact, this military financial institution will now have to spend valuable resources to win back these customers.

I believe Defense Credit Unions can bridge the gap between experiences and expectations by continuing to focus on Quality products and services in addition to all the favorable advantages of credit union membership. If price gets people in the door, then I believe it is quality that will retain the member—in most cases for life. This is how Defense Credit Unions build Value.

The primary difference between quality and value is that value often includes price; but quality is price-independent. American engineer W. Edwards Deming, stated: “Price has no meaning without a measure of the quality being purchased. Without adequate focus on quality, business drifts to the lowest bidder, low quality and high cost being the inevitable result.” Here is why Professor Deming’s quote is key: Quality is remembered long after the price tag is forgotten, while resentment after experiencing poor quality endures long after low pricing is forgotten! So, what value should we put on quality?

I want to thank our member credit unions for always striving to provide the best for our military members and their families. We could not continue to grow if we did not earn and re-earn our trust. Likewise, your Defense Credit Union Council will continue to place a high emphasis on Quality as we start 2019!

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