American communities are resilient. Year after year, no matter the challenges, they band together to recover and rebuild, becoming ever stronger. As steadfast community partners, credit unions have proven to be vital in this effort.
The Credit Union Movement never ceases to amaze me. As a lifelong member, I’ve had a front-row seat to watching the Movement’s “People Helping People” philosophy in action. But I’ve never seen it drive an impact the way it did in recent months.
In addition to the many ways our nation’s credit unions quickly adapted their operations and services to meet members’ urgent financial needs — such as waiving fees, offering modified loans, and skipped payments — I witnessed firsthand the steadfast commitment credit unions dedicated to helping their communities stand strong.
They worked tirelessly to process billions of dollars in Paycheck Protection Program loans for the truly small businesses the program was intended for, rallied together to volunteer thousands of hours of their time, and donated millions in critical funds to organizations that needed immediate assistance.
It’s a sentiment I proudly shout from the rooftops at every opportunity: As member-owned, not-for-profit cooperatives, putting people over profits is in credit unions’ DNA. It is their structure, value, and impact that creates tangible value for the members and communities they serve.
As Americans adapt to a new way of life, credit unions are laser-focused on providing the relevant, cutting-edge, digitized products and services their members need now. I believe credit unions also have the power to provide something else — a renewed sense of security and hope to Main Street.
Credit unions have a long history of giving hope to people who didn’t have any before, of helping them create brighter financial futures when other institutions left them behind.
As these members navigate each stage of their lives, whether that’s getting married, having children, changing careers, or entering retirement, they confidently look to their credit union for guidance on doing some financial “spring cleaning.”
Now, after all they’ve endured over the past 12 months, our communities could use some of that guidance, too.
Credit unions are the preferred financial services providers for the majority of consumers who live in the Northwest, and for 133 million people across the United States. That means 133 million people experience and trust the Credit Union Difference. They’ve seen what credit unions can do.
Calling upon its community organizing voice, the Credit Union Movement can rally those millions of members to help revive their cities and neighborhoods, reigniting the spark that once made them such vibrant and special places to build their lives.
When people feel confident in their finances and supported by their neighbors, they’re able to pursue their dreams again. Credit unions can use their leadership to play a vital role in restoring that confidence and revitalizing their communities. They can lead the way, calling all friends, neighbors, and businesses to the table to bring vacant storefronts back to life, one small act at a time.
I’ve been very inspired by the many credit union leaders who have already lent their expertise to this effort, letting members and organizations know they’re not alone in the fight toward a brighter future. The power of good leadership cannot be underestimated — your voices make a real difference.
Keep doing what you do best, credit unions — prioritizing members’ urgent financial needs as they begin to pick up the pieces. Continue to offer them relevant products and services through the advanced digital channels they demand. Build on those deep relationships you’ve established with them, and remind them that better days are coming — credit unions will support them every step of the way.