I read your commentary (CU Times, Feb. 20, 2008) and agree with your position. Credit unions have traditionally had a difficult time promoting their community work. Perhaps it's because of our philosophy of serving the underserved or our natural inclination to be modest. However, it's my belief that we need to update our perspective. Doing good works and publicizing those works aren't in conflict with each other. By sharing our community service successes, it shows the public that we care and we put that caring into action. It also boosts employee pride in their organization. When members see what their credit union is doing charitably, they see the compassionate side of their financial institution.
Perhaps it would be easier to answer the bankers' charge that credit unions lack CRA-type efforts and results if there were a place on the 5300 Call Report to record dollars spent on charitable work. A 5300 entry would also clearly show the amount of resources we devote to good works and serve as a benchmark for us all.
Charitable work should be an important part of any organization's existence. People need to clearly see that credit unions have always been active in improving the quality of life for everyone in their communities, whether it's by providing low-cost loans, funding a women's shelter or providing volunteers at a soup kitchen. So let's tell them!
Charitable Programs Manager
NuUnion Credit Union