Management

League, CUs Helped Keep City’s Lifeline Open

NY association's command center helped CUs, members start to heal.

September 12, 2011
KEYWORDS center , command , cuany
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The former Empire Corporate Credit Union played an integral role providing much-need cash delivery services and re-establishing connectivity.

Although its ATM network went down, Municipal Credit Union in New York City allowed members to withdraw money even if they had no money in their accounts.

“Lower Manhattan, especially back then, was very cash-oriented,” Mellin explains. “People got their money at the ATM—that’s how they conducted their lives. Municipal Credit Union decided it wasn’t going to cut off their lifeline. I certainly commend them for that decision. I think 99% or more of those funds eventually were repayed.”

A week later, the Association moved the command center to its headquarters in Albany. The following months, Mellin says the cooperative nature of the credit union movement continued to shine.

Bill Mellin
Bill Mellin

“Money came in to our disaster relief fund from all over, even internationally. The outpouring of support for those affected is something I’ll never forget. Everyone wanted to help their fellow credit union colleagues and members, even if it was a $5 donation.

“One of our employees had a niece die in one of the Towers that day,” he continues. “That certainly brought everything closer to home. What this person went through initially—not knowing if she got out or if she was alive—we went through with him. Knowing what he went through was life-changing.”

Dick Maxstadt agrees. “This experience gives you a much greater appreciation for life and how fragile it is,” says Maxstadt, senior vice president/chief operating officer for CUC Mortgage Corp., an Association affiliate.

The lessons of Sept. 11 should never be forgotten, Mellin adds.

“We need to remember that day and how it impacted not only credit unions and members, but how it impacted America. I hope [the 10th anniversary] is an opportunity to reflect on what did happen, how fragile life is, and what we can do to protect ourselves. Things can change so quickly. We need to enjoy each day to the absolute fullest because you don’t know what tomorrow holds.”

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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 (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) 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.

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