Knowing your membership and remembering who you serve

by Beth Merlo, Defense Credit Union Council(DCUC)

Here at DCUC, we regularly have conversations about how to evolve, how to better serve our members, and what more we can do. Often these discussions focus on emerging technology or better advocacy for our defense credit unions. We talk in-depth about what information our members need to keep their members safe and secure. We do comprehensive searches to find dynamic, knowledgeable conference speakers to give our members a leg up on the future. Yet, as we have focused on these areas, one thing became clear: all these initiatives are missing something unless we also remember who we are here to serve and why we do it.

The Defense Credit Union Council (DCUC) was created in 1963 to give defense credit unions a unified voice to the unique challenges of serving the U.S. Armed Services. To this day, we exist to highlight ways in which defense credit unions and their military members are different from the rest of the credit union industry. 

Our job is educating people about the special DoD regulations defense credit unions must comply with in order to serve on U.S. installations. It’s advocating for better legislation that avoids unintended consequences that hurt service members and their families instead of protecting them. It’s highlighting the sacrifices made and the unique circumstances military families face by nature of their vocation. 

The fact is, military life in many ways is very different. It means moving every two to three years, which often leads to the loss of a second income, and enduring repeated long deployments with the stresses of separation. It’s a job that may require a security clearance where credit scores are used to determine your ability to do your job. And given the mission, military life can mean being in dangerous situations where worrying about an unexpected bill can compromise the safety of your entire unit. 

And yet, despite these differences, defense credit unions know that what drives their members are the same hopes and dreams as most Americans. They, too, want a safe place to live for themselves and their families. They want to grow up, get married, have kids, and buy homes and cars. They want to grow older and retire. For military members, just like any member, it’s about life, family, and community.

Defense credit unions are at their best when they understand the challenges of military life and what drives their military members. Knowing both, they can create solutions for how to help. 

To underscore this point, DCUC is proud to present a new video, “Why we do what we do,” to showcase the intrinsic mission of Serving Those Who Serve Our Country. Because in the end, this is why our credit unions open their doors every day: to serve their members and help them achieve their dreams.

Beth Merlo is the Vice President at the Defense Credit Union Council. To learn more about DCUC or about serving your military members, contact admin@dcuc.org or 202-734-5007.

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