Gen Y members are similar to credit unions when it comes to politics. Not necessarily in their political viewpoints but in their depth of political involvement.
For example, in the 2008 presidential election, America saw the biggest turnout of voters between the ages of 18 and 31 since 1972. I remember that election clearly. My then-boyfriend and I lived in South Carolina, and we took a few days off from work to travel to Charlotte, N.C., and go door-to-door trying to convince voters to support our candidate. Throughout the process, watching election-related news became an obsession for us.
My presidential election addiction began four years prior to that, when I was a senior at the University of Oregon. Student groups televised the first Bush-Kerry debate in a theater as if it were a movie premiere. I met with fellow political enthusiasts weekly to discuss our on-campus campaigning strategy. And wearing political pins and stickers on Oregon Ducks sweatshirts became the norm for student fans at football games.
A recent article in The Oregonian, Portland’s daily newspaper, discussed the fact that Oregon credit unions surpassed banks and mortgage brokers in their contributions to the state’s political campaigns. According to the paper, the Credit Union Legislative Action Fund, the political action committee for the state’s credit unions, donated $393,000 to state legislative candidates since 2008, while the Oregon Bankers PAC has given $332,000.
“Given the fact that credit unions in Oregon hold less than one-fourth of the $60.5 billion deposited in banks, their donations show how politically active the nonprofit member cooperatives have become,” The Oregonian said.
Caring about politics and engaging themselves to make change is a part of what credit unions stand for. As debates about financial industry regulations continue, credit unions feel it’s their duty to promote what’s best for them and their members. And the fact that CUs donate money to the political figures and committees they support at a time when resources are limited for many of them speaks volumes.
Giving in general is another trait Gen Y and credit unions share. Gen Y is known to be more charitable than older generations were–volunteering one’s time is a trend in high schools and colleges, whether it involves gathering items for a holiday food and clothing drive or giving blood. There’s a sense among Gen Y members that if they make the effort, they can spur changes in their communities.
Gen Y and credit unions have more in common than you might think. Their shared interest in politics is just another reason why credit unions are good places for young people, both as members and employees.