RALEIGH, N.C. (9/23/13)--Trust, accountability and responsibility are the keynotes of credit unions and what sets them apart from other financial institutions, Jim Blaine, president/CEO of State Employees' CU (SECU) in Raleigh, N.C., told a panel on Carolina Business Review Aug. 23.
"The accountability and responsibility [to members] has not changed," Blaine explained when asked what is different since the financial crisis and how trust is created. "That is what a member-owned organization has by definition.
"In our membership, they have a very powerful tool--they have an annual meeting," he added. "Our boards are volunteers; they are not compensated. They are elected by our members and our memberships can arrive at the annual meeting and vote us all out if we get out of line. And that's a very good control on the organization."
The success of the $27 billion asset SECU is also because of the greater convenience and lower-cost delivery systems than in the past, along with a North Carolina focus, which has made it a desirable partner, Blaine said. "Quicker, better and cheaper works well with any business," he added.
"As long as we keep the personal touch--the community relationship--we will be effective," Blaine said.
Credit unions are diametrically opposite from banks because credit unions are cooperatives, owned by the people who use them. They are not investor owned, he explained. "As a banker, I would be working hard to extract money from my customers' pockets," Blaine said. "As a credit union, our job as a cooperatively owned organization is to leave money in our members' pockets."
Credit unions' appearances on panels such as the Carolina Business Review help raise awareness about the value credit unions provide their members and communities. Raising awareness, fostering service excellence and removing barriers are the foundation for the Credit Union National Association's, state credit union leagues' and credit unions' Unite For Good campaign toward a vision in which Americans choose credit unions as their best financial partner.
To view the Carolina Business Review YouTube segment, use the link.