Editor’s Column: Credit Unions’ True Colors Bleed Through
As Credit Union Times was going to press last week, Hurricane Isaac was bearing down on the Mississippi Gulf area. We are hopeful that credit unions and their employees stay hunkered down and safe through this stressful time. Like the rest of the country, we’re awaiting reports back from colleagues, family and friends in the affected areas. Our thoughts are with them.
Reports from credit unions in the region were spotty at deadline, and many branches in the affected area were reportedly closed. In response to the storm, the NCUA announced that it would encourage credit unions to offer special terms on loans with reduced documentation for affected members, reschedule exams and ensure liquidity. All of these policy changes are reasonable to the temporary, regionalized circumstances. It is nice to see that the NCUA, like credit unions, understands things happen beyond anyone’s control and credit unions need to be able to respond to them and their members’ needs in times of crisis.
Credit unions, as they always do, will be working extra hard to assist their members through the ordeal. Even as the credit unions’ employees deal with their own personal struggles with Isaac, they’ll be there for their members. That’s what they do and who they are.
While, thankfully, Isaac isn’t expected to be as destructive as Hurricane Katrina was back in 2005, credit unions and their regulators were working to restore services to the members–and nonmembers as permitted in emergency situations–and pull members’ lives back together. I have it on good account a law or two got fractured here and there in that situation but all in the name of serving the members’ needs in that unaccounted for tragedy. Credit unions also help each other.
It’s not only in times of strife that credit unions are assisting their members but every day. Recently a number of credit unions announced member dividends to be paid out. South Florida Educational FCU for example announced a $2 million dividend going out last month for a total of $16.3 million since 2007. MECU in Baltimore paid out more than $2 million this summer and plans another dividend in December. Other credit unions choose to share the not-for-profit, cooperative spirit by discounting products and services year round. Either way, credit unions consistently demonstrate their difference and particularly in times of great need for their members and the credit union community.
Even supporting actors in the credit union community share the wealth. Credit Union 24 announced a patronage dividend last month of more than $1 million for member credit unions. CU*NorthWest also recently announced its first dividend since launching in 2005.
And credit unions are consistently supporting worthy causes, ranging from Children’s Miracle Network to other favorites. Northeast Family FCU got very creative with a recent fundraiser supporting American Friends of Kenya. CEO Joanne Todd’s back was scheduled to be up against the wall, literally, last week. For a measly $5 donation, people can tape Todd to the wall, and the job isn’t complete until she can be suspended without support. The goal was to raise $4,000. Good luck and great idea to borrow.
Thank you for all that you do to make our world a better place. It makes me proud to work at an organization that supports the credit union community. I also wanted to make sure I thanked everyone again for their congratulatory emails, tweets and direct messages, Facebook posts, LinkedIn messages and phone calls regarding my promotion to publisher in addition to editor-in-chief. You’ve all played a role in Credit Union Times’ and my personal success. In my expanded role, I look forward to continuing to push the publishing envelop to keep Credit Union Times and CUTimes.com the No. 1 independent credit union news source into the future.