Meridian Credit Union: Taking on the Big Banks
Meridian Credit Union (Meridian) was a financial co-operative (i.e. credit union) in Ontario, Canada. In its effort to shift from being a niche to a mainstream market player in the financial-services sector, Meridian attempted to challenge the oligopoly of Canada's big banks. It tried to do this through a responsible, consumer-centric business strategy that aimed to address many of the problems with the financial sector in Canada and around the world. Owned by its customers, Meridian represented a marked counterpoint to the traditional shareholder-owned bank in Canada at a time of increased awareness about the conflict between consumer and shareholder objectives. In March 2018, Meridian's executive team was reflecting on the credit union's recent growth and the changes that had resulted. As they considered where Meridian should go next, they faced a series of questions: Should the credit union become more focused? Should it expand and diversify its service offerings? What were the risks of these strategies? What were the opportunities and threats of financial technology? Were there other growth options Meridian should consider in light of these trends? Mike Valente is affiliated with York University.