If you are reading this blog, I’m sure you know that today, October 17, 2013, is International Credit Union Day. It is a day set aside to commemorate the credit union movement’s impact on the financial well-being of its members. It is also a day to reflect on the rich history of the movement and the growth we have achieved by staying true to our mission of “People Helping People.”
This year we join with over 50,000 credit unions representing more than 196 million members, in over 100 countries, under the “Unite for Good” theme. This theme is indicative of the nature of credit unions, where we rally behind our shared values as a movement through collaboration and aggregate strength.
New Jerseyans have been hit hard by the economic climate and the realities of Superstorm Sandy. Along the way, credit unions have been integral in the path to recovery through their community involvement, financial education initiatives, and their traditional focus on members’ needs as not-for-profit financial cooperatives. Many of the programs credit unions have enacted to improve the financial well-being of their members have been developed through shared knowledge and cooperative endeavors that are only possible through a collaborative approach that is truly unique in the financial services industry.
As a movement, we need to take it upon ourselves to proudly share our credit union message. Not just today, but whenever the opportunity presents itself. I encourage you to take the time to look back at the history of our movement, understand where we’ve been and why we continue to be the best financial partner for all consumers. Then, individually, take the initiative to more boldly spread the word of the positive impact we make for our members each day.
I also encourage you to continue to look for new ways to engage in the collaborative process. At the New Jersey Credit Union League we have been working towards this very goal. A key element of our mission is to “create a collaborative environment that adds value through shared services, consumer awareness, and innovative market development.” One new way in which we are doing this is through the recently announced Creative You program.
Creative You is designed to give anyone, from credit union leaders to frontline staff, a forum to share their ideas on how credit unions can continue to innovate and evolve to best meet the financial needs of their members and ensure a robust movement here in New Jersey. Whether presenting concepts relative to the credit union, statewide, or universal level, Creative You affords the opportunity for forward-thinking, ambitious credit union personnel to take the stage and showcase their ingenuity.
This program also provides a venue to foster collaboration between credit unions. While teams may be comprised of individuals from a single credit union, Creative You is also open to individuals wishing to work with professionals from other credit unions in an effort to tackle important issues facing the movement. NJCUL will even work with individuals to coordinate groups upon request.
Whether through Creative You, the Executive Leadership Series, NJ PLAN, or any of the other collaborative initiatives presented by the League, your involvement is the key to our collective success. We are here to lead and we are also here to listen. Participate and encourage others at your credit union to do the same.
So, let’s take a moment to celebrate our history and successes today, more actively share our message going forward, and continue to discover new and exciting ways to “Unite for Good.”
Happy International Credit Union Day!