Community Service

Loans Aid Flood-Affected Members

July 14, 2010
KEYWORDS loans , relief
/ PRINT / ShareShare / Text Size +

When 17 to 20 inches of rain pounded Nashville during the first weekend of May, Michael Bittle knew staff of Vanderbilt University Employees’ Credit Union would have to hit the ground running the following Monday to help members.

Michael Bittle

video Watch a video of the flooding in Nashville

Listen to interviews with Michael Bittle:

“We began hearing right away about members whose homes were flooded,” says Bittle, CEO of the $21 million asset institution. “Many of them lost everything. We wanted to be able to do what we could to help relieve the financial burden.”

The credit union implemented three loan products to help affected members:

• A People Helping People Flood Relief Fund offering interest-free loans up to $1,000, to be repaid with a monthly payroll deduction of $100 for 10 months;

• A one-month deferral of payments on all existing credit union loans; and

• An appliance loan of up to $5,000 for 24 months at 9.9% interest, designed to replace appliances lost in the flooding.

The credit union placed $250,000 in its People Helping People Flood Relief Fund. It awarded the loans on a first-come, first-served basis.

Applicants were required to provide proof of loss, such as an insurance claim or Federal Emergency Management Agency application.

As of June 1, Vanderbilt University Employees’ had made more than $50,000 in no-interest loans, 10 loan extensions, and three appliance loans.

“People are now moving from recovery mode to the rebuilding mode,” Bittle reports. “We’re seeing an increase daily in requests about loan extensions, appliance loans, and auto loans. People are now ready to move forward.”

Post a comment to this story


What's Popular

Popular Stories

Recent Discussion

Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory ( will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

Your Say: Who should be Credit Union Magazine's 2014 CU Hero of the Year?

View Results Poll Archive