Advancing Communities, the latest CUNA-league initiative designed to collect and share stories of the credit union difference, has me excited.
There’s a lot about credit unions that makes me passionate about what we do. Advancing Communities is a can’t-miss opportunity to demonstrate and share our passion of helping the members and communities we serve with those who need to know the greatness of the credit union movement.
It’s a chance to educate people about cooperative financial institutions and to portray how and why cooperative ownership allows people to take control of the value and service they receive from their financial institution.
At Listerhill Credit Union in Muscle Shoals, Ala., Advancing Communities has challenged us to look within ourselves for evidence and stories of how we fulfill our mission to improve lives in our community. It shapes our attitude toward members and sharpens our focus on why we do the work we do.
It reminds us to treat every person who walks through the door as an owner we’re accountable to, and to always serve them with a focus on improving their financial situation. In each encounter we must create a positive story for them to tell of how we bettered their financial lives.
Advancing Communities also helps us understand we must be diligent and deliberate in detailing credit unions’ unique identity and role in financial services, fully understanding that doing so takes time and attention.
Do your current and potential members know how credit unions differ in our cooperative approach to financial services and our philosophy? We can’t assume they do.
Instead, we must measure and articulate the credit union difference. It’s something worth sharing and shouldn’t remain a well-kept secret.
Advancing Communities is our opportunity to be transparent about the incredible good we’re doing. It allows us to demonstrate, without question, that the members, businesses, and communities we serve are better off because of a credit union’s presence.
The Advancing Communities website collects and displays those stories to show the best of what we do every day.
Credit unions are exemplary models of good public policy, and it’s lawmakers’ job to enact good public policy. We’re accountable to our members’ best interests, and we put people before profit.
We encourage people’s financial responsibility—and even provide value for nonmembers as a competitive influence for better rates, fees, and terms in the financial marketplace. We’re exemplary of how things should be done and how they should work.
Every conversation you have with a policymaker is an opportunity to share that and to explain not only what you do but how and, most importantly, why you do it.
We can legitimately describe how financial institutions should conduct their business and how we act in members’ best interests and in that of the public at large.
I’m always conscious of the legacy we’ll leave for the credit union movement and for our members.
Advancing Communities transcends mere financial impact and has the potential to unite the credit union community by working together for the greater good of our movement.
It lets us articulate who we are, how we differ, why we do what we do, and the legacy we’ve left in the communities we serve.
Don’t miss that opportunity.
BRAD GREEN is CUNA Board chair and president/CEO of Listerhill Credit Union. Contact him at 256-383-9204 or at email@example.com.