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Regardless of Your Size and Resources, You can Make a Difference, Panelists of CU Execs Tells Leadership Audience
Friday, September 5, 2014 6:55 AM

CEO Panel

Community involvement makes good business sense, and at the Cornerstone Credit Union League’s Leadership Conference & Expo yesterday in San Antonio, Texas, three credit union executives shared best practices on the topic. James Boyd, president and CEO of Abilene Teachers FCU; Shawn Bailey, president and CEO of AMOCO FCU, and Bob Peterson, president and CEO OneSource FCU served on the panel. All three agreed that community involvement increases awareness of your organization, enhances your image in the market, and helps grow business.

When deciding which community organizations to partner with, Bailey says it’s important to work with those who have a positive reputation in the community.

“You need to be careful to select organizations that are known for their integrity and that people in the community respect,” suggests Bailey.

Peterson added that community outreach is not a one-time deal.

“It’s one thing to be involved and another to be committed,” he said.

“You have to be selective,” adds Boyd. “Work with those organizations you feel the best about, and that can offer the greatest impact.”

Peterson says OneSource FCU is big on sponsorships, and work with organizations whose missions fit with theirs.

“Some financial institutions engage in community outreach because it’s CRA requirement,” notes Peterson. “We do it because it’s just good business practices.”

According to Bailey, AMOCO FCU donates about $1.5 million annual to various causes. They also have a very successful pay-it-forward initiative, which he shared with the credit union audience yesterday. Launched in 2010, the initiative was designed as a way for members to join in the credit union’s efforts to make a difference in the community they serve. Here’s how it works, if a member comes in and finances a $35,000 auto loan with the credit union, that member can request AMOCO FCU to donate 1 percent of the loan amount and pay it forward to the United Way, for example. After going through the approval process, the credit union would donate $350 to the United Way in honor of that member who requested it.

Abilene Teachers FCU also has an initiative that is received favorably by their membership. Launched in 2004, skip-a-payment allows members to skip a loan payment for a fee of $10, and the money raised from the initiative benefits their local Boys and Girls Club. In 2004, Boyd told the audience that the credit union raised $36,000 from skip-a-payment. Last year, the credit union raised $161,000. Since launching 10 years ago, Boyd says the credit union has donated more than $1 million through the skip-a-pay program.

If your credit union has been reluctant to get involved in community outreach, all three panelists agreed that regardless of your credit union’s size and resources, you can find a way to make a different in your community.

Cornerstone Credit Union League CEO Dick Ensweiler echoes their sentiments.

“Cornerstone is committed to supporting corporate social responsibility initiatives through our member events,” he says. “Whether it offsite activities prior to a conference, an on-site food drive or our upcoming golf tournament supporting the Children's Miracle Network, we too are people helping people.”