Shelly Caroll (top left) and the rest of ICCU's fall clean-up project team.
Community is part of our middle name, and it’s also an important part of Isabella Community Credit Union’s social mission. This year, when we completed our CRI Survey, it hit us that we were making a substantial impact through our community outreach projects.
Our involvement began with an employee “Community Service Project Committee“ that has evolved in recent years to become an even larger force for good in our community. When a need arises, the team jumps in to find a solution. They have collected money to build a Hospice House, participated in cancer awareness walks, and donated funds from “dress down” days to adopt families in need each holiday season.
Recently, Teller Supervisor Shelly Carroll learned of life-changing events for one of our members. She suggested that we help, because in the words of a co-worker, “It is part of who we are: a community credit union.” Within weeks, a fall clean-up project team was organized and a Saturday afternoon project was completed.
I encourage all Contact readers to reach out to their community and discover what develops. Find a need, work together to solve the problem, and watch amazing things happen to your credit union and your community. Working together on community projects like these provides the opportunity to make a difference and brings staff together as a team, which improves morale at the credit union. It’s a winning situation for all involved.
Jay Anders, President/CEO
If there is anything on which we can all agree regarding 2008, it’s that it was far from a dull year. Whether related to calamity in the housing market, massive financial stabilization plans with taxpayer dollars, a gas price roller coaster, or the exciting race that led to significant change in America’s political landscape, there was plenty of information to overwhelm us. Unfortunately much of this news was of a negative nature, particularly related to the national and Michigan economies. It was easy to let the absorption of these events develop into a pessimistic or cynical attitude.
Many predict that the coming year will not be a whole lot easier, particularly for credit unions. Consumers want repercussions for the economic mess that irresponsible lenders have wrought on this country, likely through increased regulation and oversight of financial services. Credit unions, though they did not cause these economic problems, will be put on the defensive.
While we in the industry may scoff at the insinuation that credit unions have played any role in the troubles that have brought the economy to the brink, we nonetheless have the responsibility to make our case clear to both lawmakers and consumers that we have offered solutions and will continue to do so until the economy is back on its feet. We must highlight the many positive contributions credit unions have made and continue to make. This will be accomplished through stronger advocacy efforts including visits with lawmakers, media outreach, and the Credit Union Difference cooperative advertising campaign. None of these can be properly executed without confidence and a sunny outlook regarding the future of credit unions and what we have to offer.
It will be important to keep our chins up in 2009. We still have a great deal for which to be thankful as an industry and as Michigan residents. We remain in a position to continue to help families here in our own state and across the country, and offer the kind of trustworthiness and safety that consumers are craving right now. We must focus on these positives now and throughout the rest of this challenging New Year.
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