CU model good for community, good for business: VSECU CEO’s op-ed

March 28, 2016

BURLINGTON, Vt. (3/28/16)--Businesses looking to thrive in today’s economic climate would be wise to consider the success of credit unions’ community-based, member-focused business model, advised a Vermont credit union CEO.

Robert Miller, CEO of Vermont State Employees CU (VSECU), penned an op-ed for the Burlington (Vt.) Free Press that suggested organizations consider their potential role in society and seek “the intersection between institutional value and public good.”

“At VSECU our members are our top priority. But our members are also Vermonters,” he wrote. “With that acknowledgment, we are taking ownership of issues such as economic opportunity, environment, food, shelter and heat, and working to benefit members beyond traditional financial services.”

VSECU’s initiatives include a partnership with the state’s crowdfunding portal and the establishment of a co-working space for entrepreneurs, students and professionals.

Miller noted that an increase in societal value does not equal a decrease in the company’s bottom line. “Social and commercial interests no longer have to be at odds. Indeed, a commitment to social impact is smart business,” he said.

“Younger generations place high value on mission-driven businesses, and are increasingly spending their dollars and seeking employment with businesses that are seen as good corporate citizens,” Miller wrote. “Commitment to impact, purpose and people will quickly become necessary to thrive in this new economy.”