For the past couple of days, a good friend and co-worker has been continually reminding me that I have yet to turn in an article for our blog. Since I finally realized his persistence is both shameless and tireless, I decided I better get started. “This won’t be hard,” I thought to myself. After all, I oversee compliance for the credit union, so I could just choose one of the hundreds of regulatory changes currently affecting the financial sector, write a short blurb, and be done with it. However, let’s face it…there are only a few of us nerds out there who actually enjoy reading the minute details of upcoming lending mandates or interchange legislation. So I thought I would start off with telling my story about what I have learned first-hand about credit unions.
When I interviewed for this position just one year ago, CEO Dennis Schaefer asked me if I knew the difference between credit unions and banks. I confessed that I did not (somehow I was still hired). I soon learned that one of the main surface-level differences is that where banks are for profit, credit unions are not for profit, member-owned cooperative networks. The underlying premise upon formation for all credit unions includes a desire to promote thrift and to provide credit to individuals who may otherwise be unable to obtain it. When I learned this, I thought to myself, “that is a great story, and I’m sure that was the idea a hundred years ago, but in today’s society, that kind of desire and commitment to help your neighbor just doesn’t exist.” I was immediately proven wrong.
Throughout this past year I have been amazed at not only SIU Credit Union’s desire and commitment to serve and help its members, but at the entire industry’s dedication to service. I have attended several conferences and meetings with officers and executives from credit unions nationwide, and everywhere I go, the overall atmosphere can be summed up into one simple theme: help your neighbor; serve the underserved. This is evident on a daily basis from here at SIU Credit Union in Southern Illinois, to Washington, D.C. where credit union lobbyists are continually fighting for the best interest of the entire credit union movement. As cliché as it may sound, I feel like I have become a part of a family here at SIU Credit Union. I find it very refreshing to be a part of something that, in spite of these tough economic times, still manages to put people first and to go the extra mile.