LGFCU and Florida A&M University FCU form collaboration pact
Monday, April 23, 2018
Raleigh, NC – Local Government Federal Credit Union and Florida A&M University Federal Credit Union joined forces to help each other improve services to their memberships. These seemingly different credit unions agreed to collaborate on strategy, governance and operations. This is a story that gets to the heart of credit unions helping one another succeed.
Local Government Federal Credit Union (LGFCU) is a $2 billion institution based in North Carolina. Formed in 1983, LGFCU’s mission is to serve the employees, officials and volunteers in the state’s local governments. LGFCU has over 300,000 members from all walks of municipal and county government.
Florida A&M University Federal Credit Union (FAMUFCU) was established in 1935 to serve the employees of the Florida A&M University institution. From its modest beginnings, the credit union has grown into a full-service provider to FAMU employees and students. Today, FAMUFCU serves over 3,700 members.
At the outset, one might ask: “What common bond brings these two very different credit unions together?”
Maurice R. Smith, LGFCU CEO, answers the question this way. Smith says, “One of the enduring hallmark traits that distinguish credit unions from other kinds of financial institutions is our nature to help each other. Consequently, it should not be a surprise to anyone that our two credit unions would link up.”
The collaboration between LGFCU and FAMUFCU comes in the form of an agreement to provide mutual consultation to each other. This means the credit unions will provide each other with advice and support. With a swinging door, each institution is welcome to share best practices and innovations with the other.
Ernest Allen, the CEO of FAMUFCU, frames up the relationship with LGFCU this way, “FAMUFCU has become a more enabled and powerful institution because of its connection with LGFCU.” Allen continues, “we feel fortunate to have the wherewithal of a multi-billion enterprise supporting our cause.”
Smith adamantly refutes the notion that this is a one-way relationship. Smith pointedly provides, “it would be hubris to believe that large credit unions cannot learn from small institutions. We intend for both our organizations to benefit each other. LGFCU is thankful CEO Allen and his board are willing to collaborate with us.”
As the chairman of the Credit Union National Association (CUNA) Board of Directors, Smith makes his concern for the plight of all credit unions known. He has stated in interviews his apprehension for the consolidation of the industry. Smith believes the withdrawal of locally owned and based institutions makes some communities vulnerable. Smith says, “Sustainable economic development often comes from within the community. When hometown financial institutions pull up their tents and leave, low-wealth consumers are the first to suffer.”
Partnership is an important part of the credit union culture. Jim Nussle, president and CEO of CUNA said, “collaboration can help better serve members. Working together will continue to support the cooperative industry, and our mission to foster communities and growth.”
Cathie Mahon, CEO of the National Federation of Community Development Credit Unions is elated with the LGFCU/FAMUFCU coordination. Mahon says, “Community development begins when institutions have a sense of community. This goes for credit unions in our movement as well. To think that credit unions from other communities several states over is willing to help each other serve their members is truly inspiring.”
Renee Sattiewhite, executive director of the African-American Credit Union Coalition, cheers the teamwork of credit union professionals. Sattiewhite says, “Diversity comes in all forms. When two dissimilar credit unions galvanize forces, the results can be moving. This is an example of how the movement can be propelled forward.”
The collaboration of two credit unions is not novel in our industry. There are wonderful examples of credit unions helping other credit unions across the country. Credit unions working in concert is a fundamental element among cooperatives. The joining of efforts between LGFCU and FAMUFCU is another reason the credit union movement will endure.
Local Government Federal Credit Union serves North Carolina’s local government employees, elected/appointed officials, volunteers and their families. The $2 billion federally chartered credit union is a cooperative of more than 325,000 members associated with various facets of local government in North Carolina’s 100 counties and 546 cities, towns and villages.