What if Pepsi could steal Coke's Secret formula: Thoughts on Perfect Substitutes

I recently finished "When to Rob a Bank" by the authors of Freakonomics.  One of their articles introduced me to the idea of 'perfect substitutes' or 'substitute good' and I saw some obvious lessons for the credit union system.  In this short powerpoint I reflect on how credit unions can differentiate themselves using the concept of perfect substitutes. 


Trends in Credit Union Mergers in Saskatchewan: A look back and forward (Research from CASC)

I had the opportunity to participate in the Canadian Association for the Study of Cooperatives (CASC) conference in Regina May 30-June 1.   This was my first time attending the CASC conference and an interesting introduction to the research being done in this field.  The participants were very welcoming and friendly - I felt quite at home.  This would be a great place to see more representation from cooperative practitioners, however.  It seems that this is a venue perfect for cross-pollination between academics and practitioners.  http://www.coopresearch.coop/casc-2018-conference/

My research was on the history of credit union mergers.  I have attached my PowerPoint presentation below (though in a PDF format).  While some of the context of these slides will be lost, feel free to take a look through and be in touch if you have any questions. 

My research looked at the numbers of autonomous credit unions in Saskatchewan and tracked the rise from the first credit union in Saskatchewan in 1937 to the high water mark of autonomous credit unions (301) in 1965 followed by the slow process of mergers - which became more rapid in the late 1990's and early 2000's.  This rate of amalgamation follows trends similar across Canada - in fact from 2000-2016 Saskatchewan experienced less mergers than Ontario and Alberta.  The research also calls out one very worrying trend - that Saskatchewan credit unions have a lower market share of the province than any point since 1972 (when credit unions were still in the process of gaining market share each year).  The history of mergers coupled with the trend of losing market share gives rise to three narratives about the Saskatchewan system (Big, bad bullies; small, selfish, stubborn; a changing province).  While I don't mean to empower any one of these narratives, I offer them to capture some of the sentiment in the credit union system and to offer some areas of investigation for begin to turn this market share problem around.  Finally, the research offers a few prospective futures - with an eye towards recapturing a sense of imagination about what the credit union story could be moving forward. 

In order not to bore, I won't write any further, but please take a look and do be in touch if you'd like to talk further.