In 1844, a small group of weavers from Rochdale, England created the blueprint for how their newly-formed cooperative would operate and serve the local community. These values, known as the Seven Cooperative Principles, serve as the operating guidebook for credit unions and cooperatives throughout the world. This blog was created to honor that legacy and to showcase the everyday efforts of credit unions in the Carolinas that embody the cooperative mission and purpose.
Principle Seven: Concern for community. Since credit unions are locally owned financial institutions, they are committed to investing in the community.
With winter's chill quickly fading from view, credit unions in both Carolinas are heading outdoors to support their local communities in the month of May. Two credit union chapters are getting into the swing of spring with golf tournaments, while the CUaware Lowcountry May event features an outdoor volunteer event.
The Piedmont Chapter plans to raise funds for the Carolinas Credit Union Foundation through its annual charity golf outing on May 8. The event will be held at The Tradition Golf Club. Registration opens at 8:00 am with a shotgun start planned for 9:00 am. For complete details, please click here.
The Western Chapter also plans to make some green by hitting the greens. On May 12 the chapter will hold its first-ever golf outing at the Etowah Golf Course. Registration opens at 11:30 am with a shotgun start at 12:30 pm. All proceeds from the tournament will benefit the Eblen Charities Food for Thought program, a project the chapter has supported for many years. For more details, please click here.
Meanwhile, the Lowcountry Council of CUaware plans an outdoor volunteer event to benefit the Eagle Harbor Ranch. The ranch is a place of shelter and refuge for children ages 4 - 21 who have suffered abuse or neglect. Credit unions from the Lowcountry will help to assemble a horse fence, paint a barn & house, plus do some warehouse work. It all starts on May 12 at 9:00 am and runs until 3:00 pm. For complete details, please click here.
The Principles & Philosophy Conference is coming to Greenville, SC November 1-3, 2015! Now entering its sixth year, the conference educates credit union staff about the history of the cooperative and credit union movements, shares the key differences between credit unions and banks, and offers attendees a chance to learn about the changes in the financial services industry.
The conference will be held at the Courtyard by Marriott in beautiful downtown Greenville after five years in Winston-Salem. "The conference this year will have a different look and feel, but will offer the same, high quality professional development experience as before," shared Jeff Hardin, the CCUL's director of cooperative initiatives.
Registration for the conference will be opening soon. To learn more about the conference, please click here. In the meantime, please contact Jeff Hardin if you have any questions.
A truly shocking story crossed my desk this morning and I thought it worthy of sharing: Bank of America tried to foreclose on an older woman who was having health problems. While that (sadly) doesn't sound terribly unusual, this fact is: unbeknownst to Laura Biggs, the woman in question, the mortgage was insured and she had continued to pay the premiums on the policy for years after her husband had died.
For more than a decade after her husband died, Laura Coleman Biggs paid her mortgage to a Bank of America subsidiary. She was never told...that her husband had actually protected her against foreclosure.
The point of this post is not to go on the attack, however this is not a good look for the bank. It seems pretty clear that no one servicing the mortgage bothered to ask a very simple question along the way: what if Ms. Biggs was my mother?
When I conduct Learning Map events with credit union staff and we discuss the issue of women in finance, the issue of a surviving spouse encountering all sorts of financial difficulties really resonates. For some widows (and in some cases, widowers) it may be understanding the basics: where are all the accounts and how do I access the money? Others might face a more serious challenge like fraud, foreclosure or elder abuse.
Teaching an 80-year-old how to write a check for the first time is one thing, and then you see cases like Ms. Biggs and you realize the difference you can make in someone's life. Just by asking the right questions.
We're all busy and helping members untangle their finances isn't always easy - especially when the member doesn't fully grasp their own financial picture. But I do hope Laura Biggs' story serves to remind us that while the financial questions are important to get to, the human questions matter as well.
Be the person that asks, "What if this member was my mother?"
Principle Five: Education, training, and information. Credit unions provide education to their employees, members and the communities they serve.
Principle Six: Cooperation among cooperatives. Credit unions work together to improve services to members and build sustainable communities.
Sights, sounds and thoughts from the reality fair events in Columbia and Raleigh.
As part of Financial Literacy Month, the League partnered with credit unions across the Carolinas to provide an eye-opening financial lesson to more than 160 students. The events took place in Raleigh (April 14) and Columbia (April 15). You can read more about these events in this linked news story.
While the students learned critical budgeting and life lessons that will serve them well in the years to come, credit union volunteers got to see how valuable these "reality fair" events can be. There are a variety of reality fair models available, including Mad City Money (used in the Raleigh event) and the Reality of Money (used in Columbia).
The Reality of Money was created by a group of Credit Union Development Educators in North Carolina and South Carolina three years ago, and is available for credit unions in the Carolinas to use free-of-charge. You can find out more about the Reality of Money by visiting the linked page on the League web site. To download the materials, you simply need to log in to the web site, go to the linked page and download the materials that appear at the bottom.
Thanks to all the credit unions that took time to partner together to create these meaningful and valuable events this week - and thank you to all credit unions that honor the Fifth Cooperative Principle by providing financial education to members and communities across the Carolinas!
Posted By Jeff Hardin,
Monday, April 13, 2015
Updated: Friday, April 10, 2015
The CUaware Protégé Competition is underway for 2015, and young professionals in North Carolina and South Carolina are taking the first steps toward preparing for the chapter level competitions. Members Credit Union is ensuring its candidate in the Northwest Chapter competition is as prepared as possible, as the credit union announced it is hosting its own internal competition.
At least five employees at the credit union have committed to the competition, which will be held May 20. In addition to possibly earning a chance to shine in the CUaware Protégé Competition finals later this year, Members Credit Union Protégés are learning more about their credit union through the internal competition.
Participants in the credit union Protégé competition take a short written test on credit union history and Members Credit Union history. They must also prepare and deliver a five minute or less presentation on an MCU product or service the day of the competition.
“The MCU Protégé competition will identify emerging leaders at our credit union and help us select the best person to represent Members CU in the chapter-level CUaware Protégé competition," shared Public Relations Director Carla Kimel.
To help Protégé candidates prepare for the written examination, and
provide all staff with credit union history and philosophy training,
Members Credit Union is holding a series of training events in
April and May.
Much of the history that will be on the written test was covered by training sessions provided by the League and credit union staff on April 7 and April 8. A total of more than 40 staff members, many of whom are eligible to apply to be Protégé candidates, participated in a day long training session covering the history and philosophy of credit unions.
It's also a great way to educate all staff about the history and philosophy of credit unions through the training sessions. A third training session on philosophy & history is scheduled for May, which will allow another 30 staff to learn about the uniqueness of credit unions as well as the Members Credit Union story.
“We are very pleased with the participation from our employees," said Kimel "and look forward to sending our MCU Protégé to the chapter level CUaware Protégé competition.”