According to a recent “Stress in America” survey by the American Physiological Association, the top source of stress for Americans, unsurprisingly, is inflation. The survey revealed that 87 percent of respondents said that the rise in prices of everyday items due to inflation is their top stressor, with financial stress registering at the highest recorded level since 2015.
As the consumer price index continues to reveal that inflation will not be going away any time soon, hitting its highest level since 1981 earlier this year, American consumers have become increasingly wary of the future. And rightfully so. The Summary of Economic Projections this past summer revealed that the Federal Reserve will likely raise the target rate by another 175 basis points to 3.4 percent by the end of 2022. So, how can credit unions prepare for the everchanging economic climate? For American businesses and consumers, it is important and necessary to stay educated and prepared for the possible outcomes of inflation, rate hikes, projections, and recession, and what it means for Main Street small businesses and American families.
Here at NAFCU, it is the very core of our mission to help keep you and your members informed and prepared for any changes in circumstance. Now more than ever it is critical credit unions remain nimble amid this rapidly changing economic environment.
Some ways credit unions can navigate these uncertainties include research and investment in the right technologies early and evolving with them, as simplified tech helps streamline daily processes for staff and allows more focus on members. In addition, credit unions should remain on the offensive end by restructuring costs early, increasing financial discipline, and remaining proactive with business opportunities.
Because you are so well-connected with families and small businesses in your local communities, you know what will serve your members best. You have a unique ability to educate your members and share relevant, critical resources, whether it’s guidance from the National Credit Union Administration or how to adhere to changes in policies and regulations as the economy shifts. We stand ready to support your needs as you make those decisions, answer policy and compliance questions, and equip you with the right tools to ensure your credit union remains financially fit as the economy fluctuates.
Credit unions have always weathered tough storms side by side with their members. NAFCU will weather those storms along with you, remaining a strong backbone to help you in times of distress. NAFCU’s award-winning regulatory and legislative affairs teams stand ready to help you though tough policy decisions in Washington, and our astute research team provides regular analyses of the state of the economy and what credit unions and members should be prepared to manage.
As consumers turn to their financial institutions for guidance and leadership during these times, credit unions continue to remain the most accessible and safest option for banking, especially as big banks are closing their doors and turning their backs in underserved areas—where guidance and leadership is needed most.
I’m extremely proud and lucky to be able to represent you: leading financial institutions that prioritize their members—not their investors or bottom lines—in times when they need it most. NAFCU remains steadfast in doing whatever is necessary to support credit unions and their 131 million members across the United States.