Terry Belcoe, president/CEO of the $137 million North Coast Credit Union in Bellingham, Wash. comes from the school that CU managers need to stop talking so much about claiming the high ground on community involvement and really "put up or shut up."

Which is why his CU is going to extra trouble this winter to support a "Mountains of Hope" penny drive, dumping thousands of coins into CU branches, bundled up to support a needy charity served by the Skagit County Community Action Agency. The CU's participation in "Mountains of Hope," launched last year by a Mt. Vernon minister to raise $1 million in pennies, "has not made me too popular with my tellers and back office staff," but the employees have gone along enthusiastically," said Belcoe.

"As credit union managers, I think sometimes we get so caught up in celebrating the heart and soul of being credit unions that we may claim the moral high ground as a given, almost a 'birthright' but it is something that must be won and held through hard work and genuine commitment," maintains Belcoe.

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