Down, But Not Out

Members looking for work represent an opportunity for credit unions to deliver solutions and rejuvenate local economies.


As of September, the national unemployment rate was 9.6% according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics. The number is significant but not all-encompassing. Statistics, charts and graphs are useful for context, but they don’t show the complete effects of joblessness on people and communities.

The Los Angeles Times produced a series of video and written profiles about area residents that have been affected by the recession and the absence of employment. The series is engaging, informative and ultimately valuable for its ability to humanize a national issue.

Take Deanne Schwarberg. She used to sell insurance in Southern California, but, after losing her job, she now lives with her mother and unemployed brother. She’s had a difficult time coping with the rejection and lack of purpose.

"You start judging yourself,” she told the newspaper. “You think, 'Maybe it's my weight,' because I gained a few pounds. You start tearing yourself apart. I have never been out of work this long in my life. It's been a nightmare."

Many credit unions have members in similar situations. They are out of work and looking for solutions. Credit unions are in the position to help members get back on their feet financially and otherwise, so that they can return to work and support the local economy.

To help members, consider these questions:

  • How does your credit union address the needs of unemployed members?
  • What are possible solutions (such as refinancing) that could put money back in their pockets?
  • What support system (even a simple bulletin board for area job leads) does your credit union (and its membership) provide to members looking for work?

Complacency won't get the credit union or members anywhere, so start the process of solving problems and serving members today.