By Carla Kimel @carlasimoto
“Impact today. Influence tomorrow,” was the slogan for this year’s NC Credit Union League (NCCUL) Annual Meeting in Pinehurst. I found this slogan to be appropriate, especially since I was fortunate enough to be part of the Future Leaders Forum where I learned from credit union executives and expert advisors who have already made an impact on the credit union industry. Now that I’m back from this enlightening experience I’d like to share the top ten things I learned, and who I learned it from, with the CUaware community.
10. I learned how tailoring loan and credit building programs to fit my member’s unique needs can impact the entire community in a positive way. During the lunch panel on credit union social responsibility, I learned how Latino Community CU helped their members with the Dreamer Loan, a loan that financed the cost of the $465 Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals (DACA) application. I also learned how State Employees CU provided a 15-year no interest loan to the Hoke County School System that allowed Hoke County to build affordable housing for their teachers. Without this zero interest loan, Hoke County’s Schools would continue to lose teachers who were forced to move due to the lack of affordable housing. SOURCE: Erika Bell, Vice President, Strategy and Services at Latino Community Credit Union and Mark Twisdale, Executive Director of State Employees CU Foundation.
9. There’s always time to learn something new. Those of us who spend 15 minutes or more commuting to work everyday will spend more time inside of a car than a college student will spend in class over the time span of four years. So, turn that commute into a “traveling university” (or commutiversity –see what I did there?), download your audio lesson and let your car stereo be your teacher. Maybe you won’t have enough time to become fluent in Chinese, but the point is that if you manage your time wisely you will find time to learn something new. SOURCE: Taylor Wells, Communications Director for On the Mark Strategies.
8. Kindness is an important trait of a successful credit union professional! Decide on your career path, treat people kindly, and be helpful while you work towards your goal. You never know who you’ll need to call on for help as you climb the ladder of success. SOURCE: Genice DeCorte, CEO at Greensboro Health Care Credit Union.
7. It is not as important to love your career as it is to do your job exceptionally well. When people excel at something, they love doing it. Source: Michael Spink, Innovation Strategist at Local Government FCU.
6. Social Responsibility is all about relationships. Teaching financial literacy, providing mortgage assistance and offering loans that help improve credit are programs that build trust among members. Identify the needs of your members and potential members by getting involved in your community, and if you can meet those needs at your credit union you’re creating a stronger bond between the community and your credit union. SOURCE: Leigh Brady, EVP-Organizational Development at State Employees CU.
5. Story telling is powerful. As credit union employees we should constantly educate members and other credit union employees about the benefits of belonging to and working for a credit union. That’s why creating opportunities to tell our credit union’s story to the communities we serve through volunteer, social and educational events are an integral part of marketing. SOURCE: Patrick Livingston, Director - Strategic Projects at Coastal FCU and Brandon McAdams, Business Transformation Director at Coastal FCU. Both are co-founders of CUaware.
4. Moving from a service culture to a sales culture doesn’t mean you lose service. Credit unions only have nine to twelve percent of the loan market. Educating your members about the benefits of borrowing from a credit union vs. a bank is providing top-notch service. SOURCE: Rick Menton CCUE, CLE, President of Menton Consulting, Inc., Tulsa, OK.
3. Credit unions need to think exponentially about technology. Credit unions tend to take the linear approach to planning while technology grows in an exponential fashion. A plan that grows in a straight line will never catch up to the exponential growth curve of technology or be ready to meet consumer demand. SOURCE: Brent Dixon, founder of the Habdash, founder of the Cooperative Trust and advisor to the Filene Research Institute.
2. Financial education is the key to creating a loyal member. Teach your members how to become successful homeowners, borrowers and money managers. They will remember that you are different than the other financial institutions because you gave them a chance. SOURCE: Tim Vogler, President and CEO of United Labor Credit Union, Kansas City, MO
1. Credit unions are fighting for economic freedom. If that isn’t something worth getting up for in the morning, then why are we here? Credit unions are fighting for economic freedom by providing affordable lending options, offering high value and low cost financial services, and lobbying to end abusive consumer practices like pay day lending and sub-prime lending. Without credit unions, where would the average person go for a loan? Personally, this wasn’t a new lesson to me, but a good reminder of the reason and motivation behind working for a credit union. SOURCE: Martin Eakes, the co-founder and CEO of Self-Help CU, the Center for Community Self-Help, and the Center for Responsible Lending.
This top ten list is just a sample of the experience I had at the Future Leaders Forum and if any future leaders are reading, please feel free to chime in with comments to describe what influenced you the most. Those of you who missed the opportunity this year, I encourage you to attend next year or check out events like Crash the GAC, Principles & Philosophy Conference, and any of the events brought to you by CUaware.