A blog addressing issues and topics of interest for Montana credit union board members. Read a new post every week.
It's a phrase that is in many position descriptions, often the last in a line of specific duties. What does it really mean?
In a small credit union, it can mean doing things like sweeping the sidewalk or replacing a light bulb. But, it also means just jumping in to do what is needed at the time. As member-oriented institutions, no one in the credit union wants to stand around and argue whose job it is when a member needs something. Staff often just do what they see is necessary.
But, what about board members? What are your “other duties”? You might be the master griller for your member appreciation barbecue or the website guru helping keep the credit union site up to date. I would like to propose another duty for all credit union board members to think about: credit union advocate.
As active members of your local communities, you have many ties to people who may not know you are a board member of a financial cooperative. They also may not know, or understand, why your credit union is important to their local economy and residents.
Talking about the credit union difference is a powerful way to spread the word. We don’t want credit union membership to seem like an exclusive secret club only for those that stumble upon the front door. Word of mouth is the best way to convince friends and family about how the credit union has had a positive impact in your own life. Why not expand that conversation to the person behind you in the grocery store line or to the friend you sit next to at Rotary Club?
Since you are volunteering to serve the institution and not a paid employee, I think your voice is even more powerful. If you are not comfortable with your credit union elevator speech, practice in front of a mirror, or with your family pet. It is also not necessary to extol all the features of a credit union to get your point across. Sincerity is easy to identify, and once those you convince tell their friends, and they tell their friends, the momentum will continue.
So, I will be looking for you in the produce aisle, and can’t wait to hear what you have to say!
Donya Parrish is the VP-Dues Based Services for the Montana Credit Union Network. She would welcome any questions or comments on this material. You can email Donya or call her at 800-745-5546, ext. 122.