People’s Trust Federal Credit Union in Houston has revitalized an employee program to make community involvement an everyday part of working at the credit union.
Through the “People’s Trust Promise,” employees have pledged to take 2,500 actions in 2017 to boost their involvement in advocacy, community, wellness, and education initiatives.
Employees’ collaborative promise consists of strengthening the credit union’s “Happy Un-Banking” mission by dedicating more time to community outreach and support, increasing their own health and well-being, and continuing their education to better serve members.
“Prior to the promise, we were already doing a great job supporting the communities we serve and advocating for credit unions,” says Jessica Smith, vice president of marketing and education at the $547 million asset credit union. “This actually integrates principles and philosophies of the credit union into our jobs.”
Smith engineered the effort to re-energize the program after completing the National Credit Union Foundation’s Credit Union Development Education (DE) Program. The week-long DE Program provides training in cooperative principles, credit union philosophy, and international development.
DE graduates are encouraged to commit to an effort that reflects credit unions’ people-helping-people philosophy. “This was a way for us to demonstrate how unique the credit union business model is,” Smith says.
Among the plan’s greatest benefits is that it has inspired employees to volunteer for more group activities. In March, for example, credit union employees volunteered at the Houston Community ToolBank, a nonprofit that puts high-quality tools into the hands of volunteers who are serving the community.
In June, employees volunteered at Target Hunger, an organization that serves Houston’s inner-city neighborhoods. More than 20 employees volunteered at one of Target Hunger’s community gardens.
Members also can advance the credit union’s value proposition. For example, People’s Trust Federal is active in CUNA’s Member Activation Program (MAP). The program arms credit unions with tools such as customizable templates to educate members about credit union issues, and enlists members to call on lawmakers to support the industry’s priorities (cuna.org/map).
In 2017, MAP messages overwhelmingly are focusing on educating and activating credit union members about regulatory burden as part of the Campaign for Common-Sense Regulation. The campaign is the CUNA/league system’s effort to work with Congress to reduce excessive credit union regulations.
“We’ve been active in MAP since its inception,” says Angela McCathran, People’s Trust Federal’s president/CEO. “It’s easy to implement, and it’s effective at informing our members and asking them to take action by advocating for credit unions.”