I am a reformed banker and was doing commercial lending for a community bank in southeast Wisconsin. An old middle school friend was the financial analyst at Guardian Credit Union in Oak Creek, Wis., and he said they were looking for a new commercial loan officer.
A few weeks earlier, the bank’s loan committee turned down a business loan when we could have easily lowered the customer’s interest rate and cleaned up some other outstanding debt. After that, I knew I needed to get out.
When the opportunity presented itself at Guardian Credit Union, I took it. Within a few weeks, I was in charge of the entire business lending department.
Our philosophy is “people helping people.” I have always tried to make this world a better place for my friends, family, and community. Volunteering and helping others were ingrained in me at a young age, as I saw my father volunteer on many nonprofit boards.
Eventually, I joined a board and started volunteering whenever I could. When I found out credit unions are here to help members with their finances and improve their quality of life, you had me at “people helping people.”
I have received a lot of great advice over the years, but the best is from my mentor, Bill Kennedy, chief financial officer at Securityplus Federal Credit Union in Baltimore. We are a part of the African American Credit Union Coalition's Mentorship Program.
One lesson Bill instilled in me is that I am the CEO of the Mark Volz personal service corporation, and I must have an entrepreneurial mindset and own my journey. The second is, "see what no one else sees.”
We must see the world anew each day and look at things from a new perspective. This has helped me with my professional journey.
The best career advice I have for other young professionals is “never be too proud to ask for help.” As Antonio Neves shares, “No one great got there alone.”
We want to think we have all the answers and we can do it ourselves, but we don’t and we can't unless we want to get burned out. Many credit union leaders can share knowledge with us, so ask and listen.
They also want us to succeed because we will keep credit unions alive for the next 20 years and beyond.
MARK VOLZ is relationship development manager at Corporate Central Credit Union in Muskego, Wis.