PHOENIX (9/28/15)--Although credit unions' support of their communities is not tied to financial gain, attendees of the final general session of the CUNA Community Credit Union and Growth Conference heard Friday that kind of support can give credit unions a competitive advantage.
Jeff Rendel, president of Rising Above Enterprises, told attendees that he polled a number of credit union executives recently and asked them why it’s important for credit unions to become involved in their communities.
“The most often-cited response for why (they) are responsible for their communities was competitive advantage,” Rendel said. “It makes a business difference. … There is a competitive advantage to community development.”
Of course, credit unions understand that there is much more to it than that, and Rendel gave a wide-ranging keynote address about the ways community involvement can help both communities and credit unions.
He also delved into the question of what it exactly means to be a community development credit union.
Based on a different survey he administered, Rendel concluded that true community development credit unions are local heroes.
But being a hero to a community, he said, doesn’t mean leaping tall buildings. It means doing the little things on an ongoing basis, whether it be sponsoring charitable events, making loans to those in need--even if their credit is poor--or giving employees paid time to volunteer in the community.
“Looking for those small opportunities day after day makes a huge difference,” Rendel said. “How can you be a (local hero) today? This is what makes the biggest difference when it comes to community development and our financial success.”
The conference was held jointly in Phoenix with the annual meeting of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions.