Why we work – it is a question all of us should ask ourselves. In particular, why do we do the work that, for many of us, occupies most of our waking hours for our entire adult lives?
Ralph Waldo Emerson left us a quote worthy of those inspirational wall posters: “The purpose of life is not to be happy. It is to be useful, to be honorable, to be compassionate, to have it make some difference that you have lived and lived well.” It is my true belief that the latter quote could refer to credit union employees.
To refresh your memory, a credit union is a member-owned, not-for-profit organization with the goal to provide members with lower fees, lower rates on loans and higher interest on deposit accounts. However, this mission couldn’t be accomplished if it wasn’t for the employees.
According to the New York Credit Union Association, credit unions are ranked first in customer satisfaction. They significantly outpace all other financial institutions, according to findings released yesterday by the American Customer Satisfaction Index (ACSI). The credit union customer satisfaction score of 85 is first among financial institutions and notably higher than the average bank score of 76. Even the NCUA (National Credit Union Association) is the best-performing government agency in terms of overall employee satisfaction. These data are a reflection of the commitment of people working in this industry.
Based on my experience, I have been able to help many unbanked people to understand banking and get them into a low-cost account. To give a specific example, when I go to visit partner organizations to speak about the benefits of becoming a member, many of the attendees approached me after my speech with questions regarding how credit scores works, what is considered a good interest rate, and even how a credit card operated. We often end up scheduling a one-on-one appointment to go over their finances. These experiences left me with a feeling that in general more financial education is needed.
In my credit union alone we were able to help more than 1000 members avoid predatory loans by providing them easy access to funds with similar requirements for a payday loan but at reasonable interest and affordable payment plan. These kinds of loans make our members feel unique because they are not just a number. We listen to their stories and provide the right services.
Credit unions are the right mixture of making profits by creating a positive social impact, regardless of the position you are executing. The simple fact that credit unions make banking affordable, make loans more accessible and go the extra mile to help a member during economic hardship should provide great satisfaction to the people serving in this movement and knowledge that their work in making that difference matters.