Local Government Federal Credit Union is helping staffers get back to their credit union roots.
Recently over half of the Raleigh, N.C.-based credit union’s staffers participated in an intensive eight-hour review of the credit union industry’s cooperative principles and philosophy. The two half-day sessions focused on what sets credit unions apart.
“If we’re going to do a better job of educating our members, then it all starts with our employees. They have to understand what we stand for and be on board with who we are,” said Mark Caverly executive vice president at LGFCU. “There’s never been a better time to sell ourselves and spread the message of what really sets us apart from other financial institutions. The hope is that this is something more credit unions will start to do and get back to our roots.”
The idea for the program was sparked by the Credit Union Educators Development Conference coordinated by the North Carolina Credit Union League and National Credit Union Foundation held last December. The goal was to create a model for educating folks about credit union history and philosophy, boil it down into simple talking points that could then be shared with anyone.
“About two years ago we got together as a group and saw there was a need to take the credit union concepts and principles and pull the movement back to its roots, especially here in North Carolina. Many of our fellow credit union professionals for various reasons can’t go through the weeklong DE program so we thought about what we could do to educate our peers,” said Caverly. “So there was a breakout session during the league annual meeting last summer and two additional events last fall. Looking in-house we decided to build on the program the foundation created and customize it for our employees.”
The first part of the LGFCU training goes through the history of the credit union movement in the United States and internationally and reviews in detail the seven key cooperative principles. The second half-day session is more interactive, with staffers breaking into smaller workgroups and coming up with specific examples of the philosophy or principle in action at LGFCU and how they can be applied in their daily responsibilities.
“We haven’t gotten the survey results yet, but we’ve been hearing that it’s generated lot of questions and some of the comments overheard were along lines of ‘now, I understand why we make some of decisions we do,’” said Caverly. “They have a new frame of reference and new filter and in reviewing when executive management made a decision something clicks now, and they really understand the why behind it.”
Plans are underway to offer the training quarterly and to make it part of the new employee orientation. In addition, Caverly said LGFCU would like to make the program available to local small credit unions and offer a joint education session.