When Geoff Bullock and his wife adopted their first daughter, they had to sell their home to pay for the mounting costs.
“Adoption is incredibly expensive,” Bullock says. “I’ve seen others who were really stretched.”
Bullock, engagement officer at $1.3 billion asset Firefly Credit Union, knew there had to be a better way. The Burnsville, Minn.-based credit union now offers members an unsecured line of credit to use for adoption expenses.
And because the adoption process can take a long time, the line of credit allows members to save on interest expense over the life of the loan. So far, 15 members have used the line of credit to adopt.
A firm believer in the principle of “cooperation among cooperatives,” Bullock has shared the line-of-credit template with other credit unions so they, too, can ease the financial burden for adoptive parents.
Bullock believes credit unions are financial institutions with a heart, and Firefly’s adoption loan is just one example of that.
“It’s easy to stray into the numbers and data—you can’t escape the numbers,” he says. “But compassion and caring set credit unions apart from other financial institutions.”
Bullock values the collaboration found among credit unions. “I love the atmosphere at a credit union event,” he says. “The energy in the room, the unified culture. It’s a feeling I can’t describe.”
Prior to joining Firefly in 2016, Bullock worked at a nonprofit financial counseling agency that partnered with credit unions, including Firefly.
Now, he shares financial education tips every Monday morning on a radio program targeted at millennials, many of whom need a lot of help with money management.
“The response to the show has been overwhelmingly positive,” he says.
He also recently introduced podcasts on personal finance topics.
Bullock enjoys creating partnerships and relationships with businesses, other credit unions, and the media.
“I learned the importance of relationships at my first job,” he says. “I was a waiter at Olive Garden and I was terrible at it. I was the guy who would get your order wrong. But even so, people wanted to connect and turn it into a positive experience.”