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Creating Culture Within a Credit Union: Four Approaches

Fostering a high-performance culture is essential to credit union success in competitive markets. In distilling research presented at the first colloquium at Filene’s Center for Organizational Entrepreneurship, this report provides new insights on how cultivating organizational culture can help strengthen employee engagement and improve performance in sales growth, net income, and ROI.

Executive Summary 

Credit unions have succeeded as cooperatives, financial institutions, social organizations, and complex businesses. Despite that success, they face disruption on all sides—from banking competitors with deeper pockets and from digital upstarts with better programmers. In this new era of banking, credit unions must continue to increase the visibility of their offerings while seizing opportunities for innovation.

One of the ways credit unions can create market differentiation is by fostering a high- performance culture. In 2016 Filene established the Center for Organizational Entrepreneurship to routinely assess credit unions’ organizational culture and performance against new research. Using cases from within and outside financial services, the Center for Organizational Entrepreneurship explores strategies for sustained competitive advantage today so that credit unions can bake them into their business models for tomorrow.

The center held its first research colloquium, “Structure for Success,” at Harvard University. There, experts from academia and credit unions shared insights and case studies related to how purposeful decisions can impact an organization’s culture for the betterment of employees, consumers, and potential business partners.


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