LAS VEGAS — Is the credit union philosophy just so many empty words? Panelists at a Credit Union Times’ “Not For CEOs” session held in a meeting room at the Mirage at the annual meeting of the California/Nevada Credit Union Leagues could not have disagreed more loudly and persistently with that sentiment.
To Teresa Halleck, CEO of the San Diego County Credit Union, the $5.8 billion cooperative, Greg Barnes, a senior vice president at $669 million One Nevada in Las Vegas, and Carol Payne, a vice president at the California/Nevada Leagues, the credit union philosophy remains a powerful differentiator that distinguishes credit unions in the financial services marketplace.
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“I love leading a credit union,” Halleck said at the Monday session. “It’s a good feeling, knowing we are helping people save money.”
“I feel great, knowing we are helping Nevadans buy a home or a car, things they perhaps could not have bought without our help,” said Barnes.
“Exactly how important is the credit union philosophy today?” asked panel moderator Sarah Snell Cooke, the editor in chief and publisher of Credit Union Times.
“The philosophy is what makes us not Wells Fargo,” said Halleck.
“Are credit unions still a movement?” asked Cooke.
“The movement today is very strong,” said Payne of the California/Nevada Leagues. “It’s about emotions, the emotional attachment members feel to their credit union.”
“We don’t have shareholders. No bank operates as we do,” said Barnes. “We are a member- owned nonprofit cooperative.”
A question for the panel came in via Twitter: What are creative ways credit unions are earning revenue and furthering member financial education?
Barnes pointed to payday loan replacement products offered by One Nevada that are intended to wean members off payday loans. He added that One Nevada’s fee structure also is much lower than the fees imposed by conventional payday lenders. “We give Nevadans a second chance,” said Barnes.
Technical difficulties prevented live streaming of the session. The footage will be archived for viewing here.