What ChatGPT can’t tell you: What REALLY makes credit unions special

I asked ChatGPT to write an article about credit union culture. It generated an accurate depiction of some of the strengths and focus of credit unions: member-centric approach, emphasis on financial education, community involvement, and collaborative culture.

ChatGPT included phrases such as:

  • “They offer financial literacy workshops to one-on-one consultations, credit unions go the extra mile to ensure their members are equipped with the necessary tools to make informed financial decisions,”
  • “Focusing on building long-term relationships rather than maximizing profits,” and
  • “Credit unions stand as a testament to the power of community and collaboration in the financial sector.”

All true. But, ironically, ChatGPT is in some ways the antithesis of what makes credit unions deeply special.

In the last year of my life, I have lived and experienced what makes credit unions special. The people in the industry.

I have had many significant changes in my life. My credit union family and friends have done what they always do, they have been there.

A former credit union colleague/friend of mine, who is now a real estate agent, walked beside me in my journey to find my new home—which I am now sitting in and writing this article. She cared deeply about me, and ensured I considered things that I didn’t even know were important. She didn’t just help me find a house, she helped me find a home. Thank you, Becky!

Another friend from that same credit union happens to live about 5 minutes from my new home. She has stayed in constant contact with me as I have been finding new… well, everything. Thank you, Tara!

As I was navigating through a divorce and all the emotions and challenges that go with it, a card showed up in the mail (yes an actual handwritten card) from a friend who I first met at my second credit union where we were both branch managers, in different states. This handwritten note from someone I respect and shared life experiences with over 20 years ago was a much needed reminder that I am blessed to be surrounded by people who care. Thank you, Laurette!

Becky, Tara, and Laurette personify the ChatGPT statement of “focusing on building long-term relationships.” Why? Because I know that in their roles at credit unions they showed the same genuine care and concern for their members as they served them.

My son graduated from high school and is preparing to begin his college journey. He is highly interested in learning about investing and preparing for his future. While I have a solid financial acumen and can support him to a certain point, in-depth details on investing, the stock market, etc. are not in my wheelhouse. I reached out to a financial advisor from a former credit union, the best in the business in my opinion. Without hesitation he said he would be glad to chat with my son. Thank you, Dwayne! (I guess this is what ChatGPT was referring to with, “they offer financial literacy workshops to one-on-one consultations, credit unions go the extra mile to ensure their members are equipped with the necessary tools to make informed financial decisions.”) Dwayne has helped countless credit union members as they prepare for their future, and their family’s future. He has a passion and heart for service. ChatGPT doesn’t know Dwayne, but I do, and I am so thankful for it!

My dear friend, who is more family than friend, has supported me and been there for me through each step in this season of my life. We worked together for many years, and in our friendship we now walk through our lives together, supporting each other through the journey. She continues to support team members at the credit union we worked at together. If asked who on the credit union team was the kindest, most caring person, anyone that she touched at our credit union would most often say Hailey. She is genuine, humble, and caring to her core. She impacts those around her in substantial and meaningful ways, and I am thankful that she is in my life. Thank you, Hailey!

And speaking of family—I have been at CUInsight for just over 2½ years. We are a team serving the industry we deeply admire and respect. A team that is committed to connecting all the amazing people within the industry. And I have found a work home where I feel cared for, supported, and appreciated. My teammates at CUInsight are amazing. The Founders, CEO, and all the team members epitomize genuine care and concern. ChatGPT summarized this as “core values and principles that drive credit union culture.”

ChatGPT generated a factually correct and well-written article about what makes credit unions special in about 30 seconds. My article took closer to an hour. It took some time and reflection. It took personal feelings and experiences. It took gratitude and care. It took a person who has seen, provided, and personally experienced the incredible impact that the credit union community of people live. ChatGPT certainly has value-add potential, but in my opinion, it cannot replace the human touch that built and continues to differentiate credit unions.

Linda Lafortune

Linda Lafortune

Linda is the Director of Learning & Client Support at CUInsight.  She has an extensive background in the credit union industry having worked in both large and small credit unions, in ... Web: https://www.cuinsight.com Details