Be That Unwavering Commodity

Reflections on what credit unions can do to build community and commitment — and re-create themselves along the way.

 
 

Sometimes it’s good to step back and reflect.

September was a crazy month — board meetings, strategic planning sessions, kids starting school, house guests fleeing a hurricane, and the never-ending craziness in the world around us.

It went by in a blur, yet there were a couple of moments that prompted some reflection.

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The first was from a strategic planning session with a credit union board. The topic turned to the credit union’s mission statement, which led into a robust discussion on how to amplify the mission and make it stronger, more impactful.

The board decided to add a single word: Unwavering.

 

 

At the risk of sounding cliché, this credit union really does have a laser focus on its community and aspires to be an unwavering partner.

Hearing how this credit union lives its mission reminded me of something Doug Fecher, CEO at Wright-Patt Credit Union, asks in many of his planning meetings: “If we went away, would our members re-create us, or would they simply go down the street and conduct business somewhere else?”

That is a powerful question. I often use it when people need to squirm. Examining this question requires some serious thought and reflection. More importantly, it requires a brutally honesty assessment of the organization.

In years of working with management teams and boards, I’ve heard very few say, “Yes, our members would re-create us.”

But last month, in all the craziness of September, this credit union came pretty close to saying “yes,” and board credited the credit union’s commitment to and unwavering support of its members and community.

The credit union is there in good times and bad, through the ups and downs. It is there. Unwavering.

A few years ago, I was working with a fairly large community credit union that had re-invited itself and basically became a pillar in its community. I asked the CEO how they did it. His answer was simple: “We show up.”

When invited to a community event, almost any community event, someone from the credit union will always show up and show support. Unwavering.

I believe credit unions need to work on telling their story. Maybe this is a way to do that.

Focus on how you’re there. The ways you help. The ways you serve. The ways you participate.

An unwavering partner might be just what Americans need today.

Check out the blogs on CreditUnions.com for more Callahan commentary, industry insights, emerging perspectives, and more.

 

Oct. 6, 2017


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