With a degree in biology from Southern University and A&M College in Baton Rouge, La., Timothy Morris wasn’t planning on a career in credit unions. But the scientific world’s loss is the credit union movement’s gain.
After graduating at the start of the Great Recession, he was struggling to find a job in his chosen field.
A good friend referred him to an open position at La Capitol Federal Credit Union in Baton Rouge, La. “The rest is history,” Morris says.
He started as a member service specialist, advanced to loan processor, and is currently a card services analyst at the $609 million asset credit union. Morris was attracted to credit unions because he thrives on human interaction.
“I enjoy building relationships with our members and improving their financial well-being,” he says.
He believes credit unions can offer work-life balance because they are ingrained in the communities they serve.
“Credit unions that are living the mantra of ‘people helping people’ offer a great career because you get the chance to help members by offering products and services tailored to their needs,” Morris says. “As credit union employees, we genuinely get to help people succeed financially.”
Morris is driven by his duty of care to his family. “My ‘why’ is my family,” he says.
Providing for his wife and two-year-old son motivates him to succeed.
He cites hard work and tenacity as keys to advancement. “My pastor once said that babies are born because they have outgrown their environment,” Morris says. “If you continue to grow and to move forward, no one can stop you from being successful.”
Morris notes that his participation in CUNA Management School has made a significant contribution to his professional development.
“I’ve grown tremendously and made so many connections with true, sincere credit union professionals from all over the nation,” he says. “Being with all of these people who are crazy and passionate about credit unions helped me better understand the movement.”
Morris is pursuing all available opportunities to fully understand credit union operations, including additional courses in strategic management and a certification in compliance.
“I enjoy learning about the inner workings of credit unions, and I have been blessed to work in several different areas that have broadened my perspective,” he says.
He seeks to eventually bring that perspective to bear as a credit union CEO. “I’m diligently preparing now for future opportunities in executive management.”
He welcomes the current conversation on diversity, equity and inclusion and hopes they do not become “meaningless buzzwords and acronyms.”
“It’s a problem that will not be solved without being intentional,” he says. “It’s time to add more seats to the table. I believe our boards of directors and executive teams should always reflect the makeup of the membership base we serve.”
Morris advises credit unions seeking to attract and retain young professionals to offer competitive compensation packages. “It may sound cliché, but doing what’s right pays.”