Long and winding road ends in leadership
A loan to purchase a computer led Luke Labbe to a credit union career.
Luke Labbe was focused on receiving a loan from University Student Credit Union in 1987 so he could purchase a cutting-edge Zenith computer.
Little did he know it would lead to a lengthy career in the credit union industry.
In that moment, he was unexpectedly bitten by the credit union bug and landed his first job in the industry shortly after. This year, he’s celebrating his 18th anniversary at $203 million asset PeoplesChoice Credit Union in Saco, Maine, where he serves as president.
Labbe cut his teeth on four other credit unions before landing at PeoplesChoice. His very first credit union gig was in marketing. He was then trained to be a teller, a lender, and tried his hand at accounting. He moved on to several positions, including loan officer, branch manager, and vice president before taking on his current role.
All those years of experience under his belt have paid off. In 2015, Labbe had an epiphany to create an initiative called Lightning Pay.
“It gives our members early access to their direct deposit,” he says. “We want to create a unique value proposition for our members. With most members living week-to-week, this service is well-received.”
He’s also been inspired to share his wealth of knowledge with community members. Labbe strongly believes in imparting the merits of financial literacy to everyone.
“With over 50% of the U.S. population living week-to-week, and schools pulling back on financial literacy education, there’s a huge need,” he says.
With Labbe’s help, PeoplesChoice joined other credit unions in its county to provide financial fitness fairs at high schools and prisons “to provide a real world example of all the money choices people must make with their income.”
“It’s an eye-opener,” he says. “A prisoner once said that he’ll no longer have to sell drugs or rob a bank to get by after attending this fair.”
When he’s not volunteering or helping the community, Labbe enjoys hitting his favorite ski hills and traveling with his wife, Ellen, and their three sons. He thinks of his credit union colleagues as family members, too.
“Having worked for five credit unions across the great state of Maine, this industry feels like family to me,” he says.