I have a passion for credit unions: what we stand for, how we help people, and the difference we make in our communities. That passion is why I’m here after 35 years.
Here’s what bugs me, though. So many people still don’t know about credit unions and the difference we stand for. So I’m stepping onto my soapbox and encouraging you to find your story and sing it out.
It doesn’t matter what area of the credit union you work in, there are opportunities to share the credit union story. Consider these five groups:
1. Human resources and trainers. Are you filling the hearts of new hires with a true understanding of why we’re in business and how we’re really different? What are your organization’s roots? I’ve read so many great stories of our humble beginnings—stories that are just plain moving. Why not share them? Teach your people right from the beginning and keep it up at every encounter so they can live and share it.
2. Staff. As you engage with your members, talk with them about the credit union difference, not just about products. Make each interaction a meaningful experience for each member so they not only hear that you care, but they feel the difference and know you care.
3. Managers. Don’t miss an opportunity during every gathering with your team to share a story. Whether it’s a personal story, how a member’s life was changed, or how your community is a better place because of your credit union. Create a place—such as a section in the employee newsletter or a bulletin board in the breakroom—where your team can post heartwarming accounts about the credit union helping members.
4. Marketers. Tell stories, whether you’re talking about the members who bought their first home, paid medical expenses for a sick child, covered costs for grandma to travel across the country to meet her first grandchild, or avoided losing their home. And share stories about your team’s work in the community, such as feeding the homeless on Thanksgiving.
5. Executives. Be the example of “people helping people.” Spend time meeting your team and sharing your excitement for our industry and your credit union. Share your personal story of why you do what you do. Your passionate leadership will make the difference in the lives of your team and the members they serve.
By telling our story and sharing our enthusiasm, we can make our passion for credit unions contagious and irresistible to members and nonmenbers.
JAYNE HITMAN is business development manager for CUNA’s Creating Member Loyalty™ program. Contact her at firstname.lastname@example.org.
This article initally appeared in Credit Union Front Line newsletter, the monthly sales and service newsletter for branch staff and their managers. Subscribe now to the print edition or PDF version.