The humble words “I am fortunate” pepper Andy Johnson’s conversation when he describes his 10-year journey from interning and then leading the marketing outreach team at Members 1st Federal Credit Union in Mechanicsburg, Pa., to his current position as senior program manager at the National Credit Union Foundation.
For the past three years, he has heavily contributed to Foundation programs, including the Enhanced Financial Counseling Certification Program. The program educates and certifies credit union employees as financial counselors “so they can help members find their financially healthy place.” It has certified roughly 3,000 credit union professionals, including 600 this year.
Johnson makes a difference. He’s guided 1,500 to 2,000 people through the program.
He also works with reality fairs and other financial literacy/financial health programs. The Foundation is partnering with the RMJ Foundation to offer high school juniors and seniors a financial literacy app for iPhones.
“Kids get how to make money, but they don’t understand how to spend, save, or budget,” he says.
Johnson works with credit union people to change their mindset about their own finances. Many start or adapt family budgets as a result. “That education resonates not only with the people in the program, but also with their family, friends, and co-workers. They can better reach out to members, the underserved, and the young to help prepare their future,” he says.
Credit unions must “see each member as unique. Everyone has a story, maybe an internal battle. We must reach out no matter where a person is in life and serve that member,” he says. “Seventy-six percent of society lives from paycheck to paycheck.”
Johnson advises other young professionals to “strive to be the best, educate yourself, and grow. We are the future generation for moving credit unions forward. Find mentors and learn from them.”
He passes along this advice from mentor George Nahodil, president/CEO at Members 1st Federal: “Do the right thing. Treat people well. Be nice. In our world today, that’s especially important. Be happy and work hard.”