What does “people helping people” mean today?
It’s an important question because it gets to the heart of credit unions’ purpose, Samantha Paxson, chief marketing officer for CO-OP Financial Services, said Tuesday during the opening session of the company’s THINK 16 conference in San Diego.
Increasingly, companies that meld business goals with a social mission are the ones that succeed.
“Purpose should be baked into everything we do—it’s why we exist,” she said. “Purpose is a profitable way of doing business. It’s the engine that makes us go.”
Paxson introduced a short documentary that highlighted the success of companies with strong social missions, including:
“Social good has to be baked into the business mission,” Paxson said.
Despite improvements in the economy in the wake of the Great Recession, many people are still facing “transition and churn,” she added.
“Credit unions have an important role in helping people with this period,” Paxson said. “Our mission is more relevant than ever. ‘People helping people’ is our point of differentiation.”
Despite the constraints of regulation, credit unions can still make a difference in members’ lives in innovative ways.
“Delivering on our purpose requires innovation,” she said. “Purpose plus innovation equals opportunity. We need to stop finding reasons for saying ‘no’ and find reasons to say ‘yes.’ We need to combine purpose and innovation to make our movement stand apart.”