In the early weeks of the coronavirus (COVID-19) this spring, you shared stories of the myriad ways you’re keeping staff safe while serving members from a distance.
We listened through many forums—CUNA communities, Zoom calls and interviews, podcasts, and emails.
This issue expands on many of those conversations, bringing together your voices, early lessons, and expert analysis to guide you during this unprecedented time.
Some common themes:
• The economy. Social distancing, event cancellation, school closures, and “stay at home” orders—all of which are critical to controlling the crisis—have dramatically reduced routine economic activity.
They’ve also stressed members financially, physically, and mentally—and increased the complexity of operating a credit union and serving your most vulnerable members, says Mike Schenk, CUNA chief economist.
He says three factors matter most: access to liquidity, business lending, and capital.
• Empathy and leadership. The importance of leadership in a changing situation has become apparent.
“Everybody is scared, and that goes for members, staff, and board members,” says James Collins, president/CEO at O Bee Credit Union, Lacey, Wash.
Employees of Mercer County Community Credit Union, Hermitage, Pa., also expressed fear of contracting the virus and frontline stress, says CEO Sandi Carangi.
Understanding these struggles has been crucial for leaders.
• Credit unions’ mission. Australia Hoover, CEO of CDC Federal Credit Union, Atlanta, describes the path forward: Remaining a source of inspiration.
Credit unions “might need to be the model for economic reconstruction,” he says. “We’re in a tremendous position to make people’s lives better.”
While some of you are working at the office and others at home, we have numerous channels for you to stay in touch, beginning with the CUNA News site, where you can find all of the magazine’s stories online, and in your inbox each week.
ANN PETERSON is vice president/editor-in-chief for CUNA.
This article appeared in the summer issue of Credit Union Magazine. Interested in subscribing? Visit news.cuna.org/subscribe.