I am sad to say that after almost three years at Credit Union Times this will be my last Gen Y Back Talk column.
I came into my job at the magazine knowing nothing about credit unions. What I found out and learned about credit unions during my time here really surprised me.
Like many young people, when I first think about banking and finance I begin to yawn. Money, finances and banking is something that your parents worry about.
I never thought about the fact that there are choices when it comes to banking and I never realized that credit unions have so much to offer my generation.
As I talked about in my recent blog post I am not a credit union member, but I would like to be.
In my opinion the biggest edge credit unions have over banks is knowledge. The more people learn about credit unions the more they like credit unions. The problem is that knowledge is also the most underused tool of credit unions.
As an industry I feel that you hold yourselves back. The one thing stopping credit unions from becoming recognized by most consumers is credit unions. You don't tell your own story often enough and you don't tell it well enough.
The ability to change doesn't come from one innovative credit union or one marketing team-it comes from the industry as a whole. Each credit union needs to step up and make sure it is spreading knowledge about credit unions to the right channels.
Before working here I never would have noticed a credit union. I would have passed a branch or heard an advertisement and never thought twice. Now I take notice. I see a credit union and I point it out to whoever is with me. I talk about credit unions to my friends and family.
Getting through to people isn't easy; getting them to flip that switch and take notice isn't either, but once it happens it sticks.
Just because I'm leaving this job does not mean I will forget. What I have learned here, not only career wise, but about credit unions, I will take with me. When it comes time for me to buy a car I will look to a credit union for my auto loan. When I need a mortgage I will look to go to a credit union first.
Knowledge and education is your greatest power. Use it.
The experience I've had at this job has been amazing. As an industry you allowed me to jump in and learn as I went. You welcomed my thoughts and opinions in my column and welcomed the debate. I couldn't have asked for a better first job and better people to work with both at Credit Union Times and in the industry.
Just because these are my last words does not mean this is the last you will hear from Credit Union Times about Gen Y. My replacement, Mary Grace Murphy will be taking over as web editor and will continue the Gen Y Back Talk column and Facebook page.
As a former intern here and fellow Gen Yer I know she will do great.
Writing the last column was a difficult task for me. I am faced with mixed feelings of sadness and excitement as I close this chapter of my career and move on to the next. At 25, I am on the cusp of change. I can look back and be nostalgic or I continue to move forward and grow up.
Credit unions face a similar challenge. You too are on the cusp of change. You have years behind you that have served you well, but also a future that is challenging and unknown. No matter how much we fight it change often happens all on its own. Embrace it, create change for yourself and move forward.