The Eleven Best Credit Union Books for Management

A couple of years ago, I ran into a good friend of mine in the credit union industry. He asked what I had been up to, and I mentioned I had written a book for credit unions, Credit Union 2.0. We discussed the book and I offered to send him a copy.

He responded, “Don’t bother. I don’t read books.”

I laughed and said, “Oh good. In that case, the book isn’t for you.”

Taken aback, he asked “why not?”

I said, “Well, I wrote the book for people who read books, and you don’t read books. Clearly, you aren’t my audience.”

So, if you don’t read books, and especially not credit union books, then this article won’t be so useful. And, if you are a credit union leader who likes learning, then you may be a good fit for our Credit Union–Fintech Mastermind group.


The Best Books for the Credit Union Industry

Do you like to read business books? Do you work at a credit union? Are you trying to figure out how to help your credit union dominate your market? Does your credit union need to connect with members more effectively? Do you feel like credit unions should collaborate more?

If you have these questions, then you must check out these books.

As a speaker on bank and credit union technology and trends, I regularly get questions from people about my favorite books that have influenced my credit union and entrepreneurial careers. Some of these are timeless, and some of these are timely. I hope you enjoy.


1.    Financial: Helping Financial Services Executives Prepare for an Artificial World

AI is going to change everything in the financial industry. Everything from automated customer support, credit decisioning and underwriting, to fraud detection is already common. Big banks already use AI to increase efficiency and get ahead. Credit unions and community banks must do the same if they want any chance at competing in 10 years.

The book starts with a broad look at general AI with historical context. Then, it provides modern financial use cases for AI. The final third of the book is dedicated to providing actionable, step-by-step ways for credit unions and community banks to begin their own AI journey.

The book was just released. You can get your copy here.

Early review by James Robert Lay: “Kirk provides clarity into some of the greatest opportunities available for financial brands to capture in the most complex time in human history: The Age of AI. Through my work as a digital anthropologist for financial brands, I continue to find time and time again people fear the unknown. This is just human nature. And that’s one of the best things about Financial as Kirk makes AI approachable for us all to move beyond our fears and into the future with confidence. Get the book. Read it. Apply it. Grow your financial brand.”


2.    Credit Union 2.0

Well, I wrote this one too, and at one time, it was the best selling book on credit unions. It was the only book on credit unions…. Now there are several others that we will cover below.

Credit Union 2.0 was originally a technology book designed to show credit unions the competitive challenges on the horizon. It suggested small technological changes to be more competitive. It also addressed how to unite management teams, boards, and CEOs around forward progress by helping them to better understand the impacts of fintechs on our industry.

Two years later, I have accepted that I wrote a marketing book with technology highlights. The book provides many case studies and ideas for improving your credit union’s brand, service, and experience. It is a great guide for digital transformation. Go ready it, and good luck!


3.    Credit Union Collaborations: Lessons Learned

I met Guy Messick when I was in my mid-twenties and working on starting my first credit union service organization (CUSO). I hadn’t realized I was an entrepreneur yet and was still working at a credit union. Speaking with him gave me some of valuable knowledge about how to move forward with my ambitious project.

This book is an easy read, and it highlights some of the unique challenges to collaboration and the great successes that can come from putting aside individual needs for the good of the industry. It is a must read for anyone working on industry groups, collaborations, or with CUSOs!


4.    CUSOs: How Credit Unions and Entrepreneurs Can Get Started (And Win!) with Credit Union Service Organizations

Brian Lauer is Guy Messick’s business partner, and he provides a great book for fintechs, insiders, or outsiders looking to partner with credit unions. It covers the legal structure, the business structure, and the unique language and belief system that credit unions employ.

If you are thinking of partnering, raising capital, or spinning off a business from a credit union, this book will be a crash course in how to begin—and what you will need to consider along the way.


5.    Big Data / Big Climb

Anne Legg recently came out with this incredible book about how to improve their members’ lives through data. Her extended metaphor about climbing Mt. Kilimanjaro is fitting—after all, taming a mountain of data to leverage meaningful, actionable analytics is no small feat!

This book is a guide for credit unions about how to approach, understand, plan for, execute, and optimize data analytics programs and strategies. If data analytics is on your roadmap—and it should be—then this book is a must-read.


6.    Banking on Digital Growth: The Strategic Marketing Manifesto to Transform Financial Brands

James Robert Lay should need no introduction in the credit union sphere. His approach to credit union marketing and digital strategy has helped more than 500 banks and credit unions grow their membership, expand their portfolios, and become more profitable.

Banking on Digital Growth introduces ideas to help credit unions excel in a post-COVID-19 world. By understanding consumer behavior, member needs, and new digital marketing strategies, your credit union can learn about and apply proven principles to your credit union.


7.    The Hero and the Outlaw: Building Extraordinary Brands

I have to admit, when I first saw someone reading this book, I was intimidated. It is long and looks very academic. But on the inside, it’s a compelling read.

The book uncovers the meaning of “brand” in its truest sense and provides a fantastic framework for connecting the dots between brands, mythology, and storytelling. If you are looking at creating a new brand, revising your existing brand, or want to understand how your brand resonates with your members, then read this. It will help you understand the subconscious ways people think about your credit union.


8.    Double Double: How to Double Your Revenue and Profit in 3 Years or Less

I don’t reread a lot of books or watch the same speaker multiple times. Cameron Herold is the exception. I have read this book multiple times and watched him on stage nearly half a dozen more. Every time, I learn something new and actionable.

Double Double provides great stories, insights, and ideas that every business needs, all told from the Chief Operating Officer perspective. His knowledge will enable you to build great teams, strong cultures, and run the credit union or fintech to scale and grow effectively.


9.    Never Lose a Customer Again: Turn Any Sale into Lifelong Loyalty in 100 Days

If you haven’t seen Joey Coleman speak, I highly recommend it. His speeches are a work of art. His content is pretty solid, too!

I would never have believed it, but I have seen it firsthand in credit unions: 40% of new members leave the credit union in the first 100 days. It turns out this is true in a ton of businesses too. It is the classic buyer’s remorse problem.

This book shows how to combat that churn. Joey lays out a framework to analyze, improve, and optimize your member’s first 100 days to deliver amazing experiences that will move your members up the value chain faster while building loyalty.


10.    They Ask You Answer: A Revolutionary Approach to Inbound Sales, Content Marketing, and Today’s Digital Consumer

Marcus Sheridan is not your average pool guy. His story and methodology for using education and inbound content to connect with consumers is amazing, and it works very effectively. I have used the methodology repeatedly at over 30 businesses, and I’ve seen measurable results every time.

What’s more, I am constantly amazed at how resistant most organizations are to the approach that They Ask You Answer is founded on. Instead of advertising, strive to educate and inform with honesty, integrity, and full disclosure to repeatedly connect and help consumers make better decisions without a salesperson. I highly recommend this for any credit union executive.


11.   Influence: The Psychology of Persuasion

This book has been around forever, but it is still relevant and impactful. Understanding the psychology and power of influence is key to anyone’s career. Robert Cialdini outlines six universal principals that we can all apply to help us understand the power of influence in marketing, sales, project management, or any other business discipline.

This isn’t a page turner, but it is well worth the effort.


Final Thoughts

All of these credit union books come at the industry’s issues from a different perspective. After all, not all of them are written for our industry! Still, all provide valuable insight about how to move our credit unions forward with marketing, technology, and strategy.

So, what have you been reading lately? Besides this blog, of course. (Also, if you subscribe, we’ll keep the great content coming!)

If you’re interested in leadership training opportunities, check out our Credit Union–Fintech Mastermind group.

Or see the links below for more great credit union content.

Credit Union Marketing in the Digital Age

What Credit Union Marketing Automation Is and Why It Matters

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