Mentor Program for Small Credit Unions Launched
Three credit union associations started a program that links experienced credit union industry professionals and executives with small asset, minority owned and faith based credit unions.
The New York City based National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions joined the Snellville, Ga., based African American Credit Union Coalition and the Washington based Network of Latino Credit Unions and Professionals to create the My Credit Union Mentor program.
Pamela Owens, vice president for programs for the federation, said 12 experts have already signed up to be mentors and others have called to inquire about joining the effort. Executives from credit unions, CUSOs and credit union associations are eligible to volunteer as mentors, she explained.
"Very small credit unions face all the same challenges as larger credit unions, often with fewer resources,” federation President/CEO Cathie Mahon said. “Preserving these credit unions - many of which are minority or faith-based - is critical. Often these credit unions are the only financial institution in the community. This mentorship program calls upon the cooperative nature of our industry to share expertise across our industry to the benefit of all."
The mentors will help credit unions with strategic planning, lending, marketing, secondary capital, board governance, compliance, operations, budgeting and collections, the federation said. The list was not meant to be exhaustive and that the program may offer other topics, such as internal fraud prevention, the organization added.
“We wanted to give credit unions an idea of the breadth of topics that will be covered,” explained Clarissa Ritter, director of marketing and communications for the National Federation. “Other topics will also be available. We wanted credit unions to understand that if they lacked someone with a certain expertise in house they can still access that knowledge.”
"The mentorship program will open opportunities for members and affiliates of NLCUP to use their expertise by assisting others within our credit union movement,” said Maria Martinez, board chair of the NCLCUP and president/CEO of the $125 million Border Federal Credit Union.
“In the past, our NLCUP members have successfully transmitted their knowledge of our industry to our peers. Mentoring is a mutual process where everyone benefits; we've learned so much from others! NLCUP is ready for this challenge,” she added.
Sheilah Montgomery, AACUC mentorship chair, concurred.
"The AACUC board subscribes to the preservation of women-managed and minority-owned credit unions to promote diversity and inclusion and add value to the credit union movement," she said.