An incentive for purpose, not employees

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union redirects incentive payouts on ancillary loan services to contribute to foundation funding.

Many a credit union foundation ensures its ongoing financial stability through donations, grants, and fundraising. Some foundations also lean on their own diversified investment strategies; others leverage their affiliated credit unions for funding.

Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union ($2.2B, Saint Paul, MN) taps an altogether different source to support its two-decade-old Affinity Plus Foundation. Although legally defined as a vendor contribution, the credit union routes the incentive payments generated from ancillary product sales to its foundation. In the wake of national and local scandals, such as Wells Fargo’s fake accounts and TCF Bank’s “Overdraft” yacht, eschewing performance incentives in favor of foundation contributions is a public display of the premium the credit union places on incenting its purpose, says Kristina Wright, board chair of the Affinity Plus Foundation.

In this Q&A, Wright, who is also the senior vice president of member experience at Affinity Plus FCU, discusses how the credit union arrived at the idea to use incentive payments to fund the foundation, how the concept works in practice, and advice for credit unions looking to fund a foundation.


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