A question that I get asked quite a bit is “Why are you so weird?”
I mean, kind of.
The question is, “How did you start in the Credit Union industry?”
That story is exactly why I am so passionate about the CU Movement.
At the time, I was working in radio.
I spoke about Justin Bieber way too much to feel comfortable with my life, but I enjoyed it.
I had fallen on some hard-medical times and my family was suffering because of it.
The holiday was coming up and my son was a toddler.
I couldn’t fathom not giving him a holiday.
I remember driving in the snow to my local bank.
Don’t hiss at me.
I didn’t know what a credit union was yet!
I went into my banker and I asked for a $300 to $500 holiday loan.
I explained what was happening in our lives and how it had dinged our credit score, but quickly pointed out that I had never been overdrawn and always had deposits.
He did some tapping on him keyboard and excused himself to the central printer where my financial life history was printing out.
That wait is excruciating.
After what seemed like an eternity, he came back and sat down across from me.
He set the papers down, folded his hands neatly on his desk and said;
“We won’t be giving you a loan and based on what I see here you probably will never own your own home either.”
I remember feeling hot.
The warmth crawled up my toes, to my legs, and eventually I could feel my face flush.
Without saying a word, I got up and went to the teller line.
I asked to pull my funds and close my account.
I could feel the lump in my throat like a wad of sand needing to be choked down.
I made it to my car before the tears began to fall.
I was humiliated.
I wanted to wipe all of the items off of his desk and tell him how wrong he was.
I wanted to tell him that I didn’t choose my health issues.
I wanted to explain a million things to him that he would have never truly heard anyway.
I drove down the street to a temporary location of a new credit union in town.
I didn’t even know what a credit union was in comparison to a bank.
With my son in mind, I just felt desperate.
There was such a difference in how I was treated.
I was able to see the loan officer right away.
When I told her my story, I could see water welling up in her eyes.
She was empathizing with my every word.
That credit union gave me the loan that day and I was forever changed for it.
A few months went by when I saw the ad in the paper for a position at that new credit union.
I didn’t even think twice.
I wanted to be that person for someone else.
That person that could change someone’s life simply by listening.
I worked at that credit union for several years.
I was sent to the National Credit Union Foundation’s CUDE (Credit Union Development Educator) program and came out of that a completely ignited ball of energy for the movement.
I have been blessed to grow, morph, and become exactly who and where I want to be within this industry.
All of that because someone was kind enough to not just listen, but to HEAR me.
Two short years later, I did buy my own home.
That banker telling me that I would never be able to do that was ringing in my ears.
I sent him a personal open house invitation with a note on the bottom.
“Not one person in this world has the right to judge someone based on 3 numbers. Not weight. Not credit. Not checkbook amount.”
He didn’t show up to the event.
More wine for me.