2013Q3 – CU Data Visualization Extravaganza! ROAA

Okay. Perhaps extravaganza is more hype than this deserves. We believe that Reconn Consulting must bring sound data reconnaissance and analysis, topped off by direction, to the industry. This post will give you (1) a sense of where you fit in against peers, which is an okay reason in our book to continue reading and (2) a sense of what, why, and when you should do something about your current position, which is a reason to be in leadership in the industry.

This post considers ROAA.


A little on histograms will go a long way in considering four out of the five dashboards discussed herein. Histograms show the distribution of a population over a given metric. The classic use of histograms, which many of us would prefer to forget, is the showcasing of test scores. Yeah, that’s what we thought.

In our reconnaissance and analysis, we’ve used data from SNL Financial to show the distribution of the number of institutions as well as the percentage of total that each “bin” of the distribution represents. This is akin to the concept of percentiles. Are you still with us? Good. Further, in most instances we have taken out the extremes to simplify the reporting. In each of the presentations, we shall provide the data visualization first so that you can interpret without our sublime yet subtle dissection. You knew that was coming, didn’t you?

ROAA (%)

01 - ROAA - Histogram Dashboard

Let’s talk about the good and then the bad. Overall, over 75.6% (100% – 24.4%) of credit unions are making money. The bad: the rest are not. Pick your poison – the economy, lack of scale, location, sponsor group woes, planning and execution trials, the dreaded assessment, and the list goes on. It’s time to face facts, however. With our nonprofit clients, there is a saying in the world of board development – give, get, or get out. It’s harsh. But, it’s spot on with what needs to be done in that particular space with existing and new board members. In the credit union space, we submit it is merge, grow (geometrically), or fold.

If we can help with how you look at your data, please contact us. And by all means, if you need help with what to do after you have looked at the data, then please give us a call today or drop us a line by clicking here. Ask for Beth. She likes to chat, certainly, but she loves to listen.