By Randy M. Smith, CPA, CCD
Credit unions have been in the “people helping people” business in the United States for more than 100 years. And we’re doing fantastic helping people through these tough economic times. Because our structure is that of a not-for-profit financial cooperative—and we don’t have to worry about the price of our stock on Wall Street—we have more choices about how we act.
For example, we can take our time and invest it in serving young folks just getting married, people getting out of high school or people graduating from college. Our worry is not whether a particular transaction is profitable or not. Instead, we worry about how to best help a member throughout life.
In fact, something I think makes CUs so unique, and you should tell friends and neighbors this, is that our directors and our senior staff sit around board tables and talk about how can we lower loan rates, reduce fees, and increase dividends. At the same time, our for-profit cousins sit around their board tables and ask how they can raise fees and loan rates.
My banker friends worry a lot about this. They say, “Randy, why in the world do you make all those small loans to folks when they are not profitable?” The answer is very simple. We’re in business to help our members and we don’t worry about what value Wall Street is putting on our stock.
Randy M. Smith, CPA, CCD, is CEO of $5 billion Randolph-Brooks Federal Credit Union, Live Oak, Texas.