Gentile: CUs are a Bright Spot in the Country

Consumers want values-based financial services providers.

October 09, 2013
KEYWORDS ccuc , cuna , Unite for Good
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Credit unions have a unique opportunity today to attract new members—and most important, new young members—because they're values-based financial services providers, CUNA Executive Vice President of Strategic Communications and Engagement Paul Gentile told an audience of community credit union representatives Wednesday,

“There’s all this bad news circulating—the government shutdown, the debt ceiling, all the other things you’re reading about,” Gentile said at the CUNA Community Credit Union & Growth Conference in Uncasville, Conn.

“But credit unions are a bright spot in the country. More people want to do business with businesses that do good. They want to buy ‘green’ and shop local,” he said. Credit unions must recognize this environment as an opportunity to show they're the “good guys,” the values-based financial services providers of the marketplace, Gentile encouraged.

“Big banks are our biggest promoters by doing bad things—like adopting anticonsumer policies, getting government bailouts,”  but it's up to credit unions alone, to seize the opportunities, he said.

Gentile said it helps both membership growth and credit union political advocacy efforts when credit unions get out and tell their stories. He said the stories should show the shared cooperative values of:
  • Being member-owned;
  • Being collaborative—credit unions help each other;
  • Being member-centric—it’s all about what is good for the member; and
  • Being dedicated to consumers’ financial well-being.
Gentile urged his credit union audience to share their stories within their communities, with their lawmakers, and with CUNA’s Unite for Good website. At the 2013 Governmental Affairs Conference last March, CUNA and the state credit union leagues launched the Unite for Good campaign toward the strategic vision where "Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner."

He said that while getting the good stories out will enhance the credit union reputation, meeting the Unite for Good goal of becoming the primary financial institution of 55 million Americans by 2023, up from the current 45.3 million, will also require finely tuned financial services.
He said to meet the Unite for Good goal of “fostering service excellence,” credit unions must identify what their members most want. And for the 80 million young people that comprise Generation Y that means, in part, moving toward phone-based access to mobile banking systems.

Find more coverage of the conference here and at News Now.

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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 ( 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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