The P.A.

A weekly address from Patrick Adams,
President of St. Louis Community Credit Union

We’re NO. 1!

On October 27th, 2008, posted in: Uncategorized by

We just received some great news – news that proves that the cooperative spirit of St. Louis Community Credit Union is alive and well. With all of the turmoil moving about the financial services industry, isn’t it good to know that your Credit Union is safe, sound, stable and growing? People aren’t leaving us to run with their money elsewhere. Nope. They’re coming to the Credit Union and staying with us in record numbers.

Callahan & Associates (sort of the JD Powers & Associates of credit unions) rang us up to tell us that we are the fastest growing credit union in Missouri and the twenty-third fastest growing credit union in the United States (out of nearly 9,000 credit unions). How ‘bout that for some exciting news? What’s that say about your Credit Union? I think that our growth speaks in volumes as to what’s going on at St. Louis Community…people trust us and are telling others.

Our phone has been ringing off the hook from credit union folk all over the place wanting to know our secret. “What did you do? How did you do it?” We explain that there is no “silver bullet” to what we do. There’s no one thing in our arsenal; rather a host of great things happening.

Our members love us because we love them. Pretty simple, but really that’s a great summation. We think about everything from the member’s perspective. What does a consumer that gives their hard-earned money to a credit union for safety and value expect? However you might answer that question is what we do – for all 32,000-plus members.

It feels good to be part of a successful team that is doing so many good things for the average consumer and the community in which they live. Obviously, folks want to belong to something this good and this strong. I asked a member “why us?” He responded that St. Louis Community Credit Union “works for me.” “Funny,” I responded. “That pretty well sums it up.”

Rate Shopping for CD’s

On October 20th, 2008, posted in: Uncategorized by

On the surface, rate shopping for certificates of deposit (CDs) is a prudent thing to do.  You need to understand market rates for the given length of time you want to invest.  But unless it’s a hobby of yours, excessive rate shopping to find the best, highest rate may be a futile and wasteful effort.  In many cases, for the extra few dollars or so you gain in interest earned, you will have spent hours searching and benchmarking.  Is it really worth the effort?

It seems to me that if you establish a relationship with an institution such as St. Louis Community Credit Union – one that strives to pay competitive rates on a consistent basis – you’ll be better off in the long run.  I’ll give you an example.  Recently, I noticed in the paper that a local bank was paying what seemed to be an extraordinarily high rate on a two-year CD.  I know nothing about this bank.  I don’t know how strong they are, and given the recent troubles in the industry, they may be trying to lure depositors in an effort to stem a deposit run-off.  What happens when that two-year CD matures?  Do I trust that they will again pay a competitive rate?  In many cases, the CD rolls over into a two-year CD at a below-market rate.  Gotcha!  It’s exhausting.

At St. Louis Community, we pay above-average rates, generally Top 10, on CDs all the time.  We have competitive rates, consistently.  We work to establish a relationship with our members so that they know they don’t have to “rate shop” all the time.  You never have to wonder whether or not you are getting a competitive rate.

Here is a brief list of things to consider before becoming too rate sensitive:

1. Your time is valuable…establish a trusting relationship.
2. The small amount of extra interest earned is usually not worth the effort.
3. Consider the financial health of the institution.
4. Does the institution consistently pay competitive rates?

So next time you see the latest, greatest, and highest rate at a local bank, be prepared.  You’ll have to perform your due diligence when the CD matures because, in most cases, it’s a “one time, get ‘em when you can” offer.

No Matter How You Think, We’re The Best Place For You

On October 13th, 2008, posted in: Uncategorized by

It takes all kinds.  The world is not a melting pot, it’s a salad bowl.  We’re all jumbled up.  The diversity is great.  It makes us all stronger.  Imagine a world where we all think and do exactly the same.  If you’re like me, you’d be bored by the weekend.

My favorite contrast is in how we think.  Are we right brain or left?  Are we creative or pragmatic?  Is the world linear or a crooked, curly line that makes its way in something that resembles a child’s scribble?  Do you find yourself to be an abstract thinker or one who thinks in a concrete manner?

Whatever your flavor, St. Louis Community Credit Union is the place for you.  If you think there is no appreciable difference between checking accounts among banks and SLCCU, then my guess is you are drawn to us by the abstract idea that our credit union is about more than profits.  As I mentioned last week, we provide hope.  In addition, we focus on increasing your standard of living and bettering your lifestyle – not increasing profit.  We exist only to give back to you.  In many forms, we keep investing in your well being.  When one considers the capitalistic world in which we live that is beholden to the almighty dollar, this idea that the Credit Union’s profits are returned to our members is certainly abstract and unconventional.

If you’re a concrete thinker, we’re the place for you as well.  Our checking account is far different. Our rates are better, our fees are lower, our service is markedly more friendly and caring, and the minimum balance requirements are in your favor (not someone else’s).  Concrete thinkers analytically compare all of the data, and as a result, SLCCU becomes the choice. We’re the best in so many areas that the decision is obvious.

Either type of thinker, we’re the best choice.  Whether you’re a curvy line thinker or a straight line kind of person, both lead you to our door.

When You’re In Need, Hope Matters

On October 6th, 2008, posted in: Uncategorized by

A recent newscast featured Service International and their ongoing efforts to assist in disaster ravaged areas throughout the area.  They have been very active in recent years, both locally and throughout the Midwest.  I happen to know that this great organization assisted tirelessly after Hurricane Katrina.  According to Channel 5 News, they were now off to Baton Rouge to assist in clean-up efforts in the aftermath of Gustav.  Just one more mission they willingly attack with vigor.

While the news feature was no more than a minute long, a message was delivered that I have not been able to get out of my mind.  They interviewed Pastor Jeff Perry, who framed the efforts of their good works by noting that Service International first provides hope and then they provide solutions.  How great is that?  A great plan is to unfold in a sequence that makes perfect sense – first hope and then solutions.  When a person is in need, hope matters…a lot.

That’s what St. Louis Community Credit Union provides.  First and foremost, we’re about hope.  I have heard it said that while we can survive a short window of time without water, a little longer without food, and not very long without air, we cannot live a single second without hope.  We have people who darken the doors of our credit union looking for hope.  For whatever reason, life got their finances out of control and they need a chance to right their wrong.  We’re the place.  As often as we can, we reserve judgment and provide hope.  We’re in the community to provide both hope and help.

We’ve got a toolbox full of solutions.  Whatever the scenario, we attempt to mix and match products and services to meet the members’ needs.  I have personally witnessed the anxiety, fear, and even tears, leave people like a rush when they know we can solve their situation.  In my 22 years here, countless people have shared with me that without the credit union, they have no idea where they would be.

First hope, and then help…I like it! It’s a plan that makes perfect sense to me.