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we've got to spread the word

Credit unions — and credit union staff and volunteers — are doing wonderful things for individual members and for our communities. We need to share your stories to help others understand what credit unions are, what they do, and why they’re important to the ongoing financial health of your members, your communities, and our nation. Below are a couple of “easy” things that you can do that can make a HUGE difference.

Remember the words of Louise Herring, a well-known credit union pioneer: We must remember what we started out to do and then find ways to do it with the modern techniques available.

“Good News” Stories

Every day, your credit union goes out of its way to serve its members. It may be something as simple as the tellers knowing and using your members’ names and making sure that members know they are welcome and valued. Your credit union may have organized a bake sale to benefit a charity. Your credit union may have made a loan to someone who could not have been approved elsewhere. The list goes on and on. The fact is, every credit union has a “good news” story to tell.

You need to tell your own good news! Tell your members in your newsletter; tell the Network so we can tell other credit unions and our representatives and senators. Make a commitment to publish at least two good news stories a year in your newsletter. Keep a file of your good news stories. Give prizes to staff who bring good news stories to the attention of management. Send your good news stories to the Network so we can highlight them on our website, the President’s Report, or the quarterly Network News.

Tell your lawmakers "Don't Tax My Credit Union!" 

It’s important to let our lawmakers know that credit unions are very special. Survey after survey has revealed that credit union members are the most satisfied users of financial services. Please help keep lawmakers informed about the value of credit unions. When something good happens, make a note of it, and once or twice a year let your representatives in Congress and the Montana Legislature know about it. You will have a tremendous impact. Use examples from your own experience, in your own words. You don’t need to make the letter fancy or long.

Here’s what lawmakers are hearing from credit union members across the country:

  • “…Several years ago, we were faced with a temporary financial setback . . . we had been members at the credit union for only two years, but . . . we not only received the funds needed, we were treated with dignity and understanding.”
  • “…The credit union offers me friendly, helpful counseling whenever I have a question or a problem. With the credit union, I vote for my board members. Please resist efforts to make credit unions like other financial institutions.”
  • “…During my credit union involvement, I have made loans as small as $75 to help an elderly member purchase medical prescriptions. I have seen young couples given the opportunity to purchase their first car. They come to us because the banks will not loan them money on a car that is over seven years old.”
  • “…Credit unions should not be an issue. They should be an example.”

Project Zip Code

Project Zip Code is another important thing that credit unions can implement. Click here for more information. 

Project Differentiation

Project Differentiation provides credit unions an opportunity to create a statement of values to share with their members, staff, and lawmakers. Project Differentiation calls on credit unions to self report the good works they do and the philosophy upon which their credit union has been built. Almost all of Montana’s credit unions completed Project Differentiation statements in 2002-2003; however, regular updates of these statements will ensure that Project Differentiation continues to be a valuable tool to assist credit unions in displaying their uniqueness.

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