Cash mob fever is spreading from Michigan to Louisiana and Ohio.
Louisiana and Ohio credit unions are the latest to join in the effort, which will take place Oct. 15.
The Louisiana Credit Union League’s Member Business Services Council heard about CU Lunch Local last year and knew this was something they wanted to be involved in, said Jennifer Green, vice president of the league.
“Credit unions are the epitome of locally owned and operated,” Green said. “CU Lunch Local is a win-win for credit unions and local businesses. Local businesses will get a boost through increased patronage, and hopefully credit unions will pick up some business, too.”
Green said one of the goals of the MBSC is to help credit unions provide business services to their members and CU Lunch Local “provides a fantastic opportunity for our credit unions to show local business owners that we are there to support them.”
“Although credit unions are recognized by many as strong supporters of their communities, we’ve learned that oftentimes, businesses don’t know about the services credit unions provide, particularly on the commercial side, so we’re encouraging credit unions that offer business services to provide information to the local business owners when they ‘lunch local,’” Green said.
The Ohio Credit Union League is coordinating local food trucks to partner with credit unions throughout the state, said Kimberly Stewart, consumer outreach coordinator at the league. Each food truck will be asked to donate 10% of its profits to Marching Miles for Miracle Kids, benefiting the nine children’s hospitals serving Ohioans, and participating credit unions will match the funds raised.
So far, there are eight participating food trucks, each of which is matched up with a credit union in their area, Stewart added.
“Working together, we can promote local food trucks, generate awareness for credit unions, and support the services of the Children’s Miracle Network Hospitals,” Stewart said.
CU Lunch Local began in 2012 as a one-day small business cash mob driven by Michigan credit unions.
In the fledgling event, hundreds of local businesses received support and if this success is matched, Michigan could see thousands of small businesses reached this year, said Bill Beardsley, CEO of the commercial lending CUSO Michigan Business Connection LLC in Ann Arbor, which has spearheaded the event.
“Encouraging consumers to choose businesses local to them is not only a boost to that community's economy, but a benefit to our entire nation,” Beardsley said. “Providing entrepreneurs with capital to grow their business is an important first step, encouraging our credit union staff and membership to patronize local businesses leads to long term success.”
CU Lunch Local coincides with International Credit Union Week, an annual celebration of financial cooperatives and their members around the globe.
Credit unions interested in participating with the CU Lunch Local can find more information on the event’s Facebook page.