Rethinking Credit Union Competition in a Digital Era

Who is your competition? Is it the credit union across town? The mega bank branch down the street? Is it SoFi, Ally, Western Union, Walmart or Amazon?

Today, the definition of competitor has evolved. The term no longer describes an organization that looks like yours.

“We used to compete based on the products and services we created ourselves,” David Rogers said at THINK17. “Today, all of that is changing.”

Rogers challenged the credit union thought leaders in attendance at THINK 17 to consider two different types of competition – symmetrical and asymmetrical. The example he used to illustrate his point was Toyota. A symmetrical competitor for Toyota might be Ford or Honda. All three companies have a competing value proposition and a similar business model.

Asymmetrical competitors, on the other hand, have the same or similar products and services, but they have a fresh take on how to deliver that value to the end-user. In Rogers’ words, they have a different way to “get the job done for that customer.”

Interestingly, Rogers noted that many of today’s most successful companies are competing with legacy players by operating a platform model. “The biggest companies that were started since the birth of the Internet, 8 out of 10 biggest companies have a platform business model at their core.”

As credit unions consider how to compete with asymmetrical competitors like Facebook, Venmo, PayPal and others, the platform model can be a source of inspiration. At its core, such a model is built on solving a problem. Consider Airbnb, started by three young guys who saw the potential in making a little extra rent money by renting out space at their place. As Rogers pointed out, they built a platform to bring together two different customers – people looking for a place to stay and people with extra space to lend.

Download our exclusive research report, created in conjunction with David Rodgers, to learn more about the competitive landscape credit unions are facing as we head further into the digital age.