We All Need the Occasional BFO

Shana. Richardson, Monday, March 8

The Mitchell Stankovic credit union Underground Collision BFO – Blinding Flash of the Obvious – speakers were all so amazing. Even after 25 years of working with credit unions, the leadership never ceases to amaze me. The depth of consideration and kindness credit union professionals and volunteers extend to their members is inspiring. I appreciate all for sharing their stories in the spirit of vulnerable collaboration!

“Compassion fatigue.” That’s what Dr. Jamie Branch said of the significant impact COVID-19 has had on women. In addition to financial or job concerns, women are often compelled – internally or externally – to shift into an even greater caregiver mode in times of trouble for their children or other members of the family. Credit unions should understand that their members, male and female, will not return to a place of normalcy for a long time, and will need their credit union’s support.

Affinity Federal Credit Union CEO John Fenton uses this very idea to lead his credit union, which has focused more on whole-member service throughout the pandemic. “Well-being is different than wellness,” he stated. To assist members in their overall well-being, Affinity FCU’s branches were converted to outbound calling centers just to check in on members, which was very well received. “Members are both struggling and thriving, and it has nothing to do with their financial wellness,” Fenton concluded.

Our well-being in critically important, as BALANCE Chief Experience Officer Cynthia Campbell highlighted. “People who are financial stressed are 20% more likely to take their own lives.” Campbell stated that “credit unions give agency to members when they help them learn to manage money and empower themselves.”

That support spills over into Diversity, Equity and Inclusion among credit unions and their members. “Financial equality will bring about racial equality,” Campbell added. And credit unions are well-suited to lead the charge.

Schools First Federal Credit Union CEO Bill Cheney agreed. “Credit unions are the original social network. What an opportunity to break down racial barriers and create opportunities. Let’s be the change, not just lead the change.”

Socio-economic and racial inequities have driven many credit unions to strive to do better for their communities. California Coast Credit Union CEO Todd Lane is partnering to bring Promise Zones to low-income areas of San Diego that will attract consumers in low-income areas and make people feel safe and secure.

Additionally Gary Perez, CEO at USC Credit Union, is partnering to create a credit union focused on serving Historically Black Colleges and Universities. Collaborate for relevance!

Meanwhile, Local Government Federal Credit Union CEO Maurice Smith added, “I have a fantasy to eliminate poverty. We need evolutionary, sustainability and scalable solutions.”

Because we all need to #StandUp!

President/CEO of My Credit Union, Alex Casillas, shared a time when he chose not to #StandUp that he regretted. When we stand up for what is right, we can never regret that.

Even the small things credit unions do every day to help their members make a huge difference in their individual lives and in their communities, as CUToday Publisher Frank Diekmann noted. Even when they’re not documented, they matter.

Because of their not-for-profit structure, credit unions can afford to be in it for the long haul. As Patelco Credit Union CEO Erin Mendez advocated, if your capital is in order, “Play the long game, not the short game. Don’t rob Peter to pay Paul for a year’s worth of performance. Don’t over engineer 2021; it will rob the future.”

Our mission is financial health first and foremost.

Because “If your members are doing well, your credit union is going to be doing well,” NextMark Credit Union CEO Joe Thomas said.

Origence CEO Tony Boutelle explained that even in this highly digital world we’re existing in right now, we can create even greater connection with our colleagues and our members.

“But digital transformation is not just a tool you buy and you’re there” Alkami Founder Stephen Bohanon emphasized. We must use it as humans interacting with another human on the other end of that technology.

The powerful work being done in the credit union community all the time, but particularly through the COVID-19 pandemic, is exactly why Ser Tech was founded – to keep them strong, relevant and thriving – and why I’ve spent 25 years in the credit union community.

Ser Tech is a proud sponsor of the Mitchell Stankovic Underground Community for credit unions. To learn more visit www.MitchellStankovic.com and for year-round Underground credit union goodness, please subscribe to the MSA Underground YouTube Channel!