When my influence was essential to my kids’ development, I remember reminding them about the importance of maintaining integrity. I would tell them: “Integrity is what you do when nobody’s looking. It’s a key measurement of one’s character. One’s good character can never be compromised.” I pretty much preached these kinds of thoughts to the point of exhaustion. At the time, I figured integrity would be the difference maker at some point in their life. It usually is.
My favorite example of integrity was asking them what they would do if they found someone’s wallet on the street and it was jammed with money. Nobody’s looking, so what do you do? There’s a right answer and a wrong answer. My kids fortunately always picked the right thing to do, and as a result, have made the right choices in real life as well.
But where is Wall Street’s integrity? What were they doing when nobody was looking? How about some of the investment bankers – where was their integrity? AIG officials celebrated their government bailout by using taxpayer money to wine, dine and hang out at the spa. Integrity? I think not! How about unscrupulous real estate brokers who took advantage of a greedy market and a less-than-sophisticated borrower to make countless mortgage loans to people who were less than qualified to understand what they were getting into? While countless reasons exist for the problems leading to our government bailout, sadly I sense that a lack of integrity is somewhere near the top of the list.
I don’t know what the local banking industry is doing when nobody’s looking. However, I DO know what St. Louis Community Credit Union is doing! We’re not thinking about highly exotic investments with intolerable risk. We’re not busy focusing on stockholder profits. And we’re surely not discussing a host of multi-million-dollar compensation packages for our executives! Rather, we are focused on giving back profit to our members. We’re trying to figure out how to lend more money to our members – there’s no credit crisis with us.
Integrity is what you do when nobody’s looking. We’re proud of how we represent our members.
Tiger Woods is my favorite athlete. He’s the greatest golfer of all time. My buddy Mickey doesn’t agree. He’s a Jack Nicklaus fan. His allegiance to Nicklaus is the result of an autograph he received from Jack after a considerable wait outside the scoring tent at Butler National Golf Course in Chicago. Whatever!
More than a golfer, Mr. Woods is an athlete in the truest sense of the word. The manner in which Tiger trains, prepares mentally and physically, as well as his ability to continually learn makes him the consummate professional. What he does better than most is real time assessment of information. If he hits a bad shot, he immediately kicks into “adjustment” mode. He assesses what needs to be done so as to not have a repeat of the problem. Instantaneous feedback makes for effective growth. He is never satisfied. The information he gains today, he uses to be better tomorrow – not next month. A quick adjustment eliminates the prospect of forming bad habits. You can’t argue with Tiger’s methods or his results.
St. Louis Community Credit Union employs a number of processes that facilitate instant assessment, as well. Our belief is that you can’t manage what you can’t measure, so we always want to fully understand how we’re doing. We examine processes to insure that best practices are being employed throughout the organization. Member surveys flood the market regularly to help us assess our service. We want to know if we’re doing the very best that we can in 12 different components of service. In addition, there are a host of measurements that assure the quality of our products. The last thing a member wants, for instance, is a check order or debit card with a misspelled name.
Just like Tiger, we’re learning from today’s information to be even better tomorrow. Much like the golf swing, our operation is sophisticated, complex and comprised of thousands of intricacies. Throw into the mix people, and there is a need for constant assessment. The last thing we want is bad habits sneaking into our operation. So we study it all, just like Tiger. He wins trophies. We win member loyalty.
We have a lot of discussions at the Credit Union about the “3 Ls” as it relates to serving our members: Life stage; Lifestyle; and Lifetime. The 3 Ls help us stay focused in our development of products, services and delivery systems.
There is no particular order or priority to the Ls as long as we have our focus on all three. To miss one is a really big deal given that the time span associated to each is longer than just a few days. A lot happens in a life stage. A considerable amount of time may be spent in a particular type of lifestyle, and lifetime sort of speaks for itself. All in all, these 3 Ls take into account your entire life. And that’s where we want to be – a part of your entire life.
From a life stage perspective, you need certain products that meet your needs at certain times. Young people, for instance, need that “very” used car. Paper vs. plastic is a choice young people make, too. Write a check? No way! They need plastic…and a debit card is better than a credit card as far as they are concerned. Home loans, electronic bill pay and the Internet also are at the top of the list. If you’re a little older, your interests and needs change. Investments, home equity and “toys” are much more in line with your current life stage.
Lifestyle is a big issue, too. The credit union offers products and services that speak to member lifestyles. If you’re a couch potato, you can do all your financial services from home. Direct deposit saves time, money and gas. Need a motorcycle? We’ve got a loan for that, too. Whatever your lifestyle – old-fashioned or 21st century cutting edge – we are able to match our products with your lifestyle needs.
And finally, lifetime is what we want at the Credit Union. We want you to be a member throughout every life stage and every lifestyle. From your first financial needs to the days when investments and certificates of deposit matter most – we want to be there for you.
We hope you want us through the “stages”, the “styles,” and for a long, long “time.” It’s our job to do what it takes to make sure we meet your needs. If not, please let us know. We’re very interested.
Linda just retired, and we’re going to miss her every single day that she’s gone. Sure, we wish her the best, but forgive us for being a little bit selfish. Deep in that place where emotions stir, we really do wish she would have stayed.
If you ever called on the phone, there’s a good chance you may have spoken with Linda. She was a top producer in just about every category we measure. If you ever visited our South City office, chances are you’ve seen and/or talked with her. If you ever wanted a Certificate of Deposit; opened a checking account; got a car loan; or inquired about a host of other services, my guess is Linda probably helped. How do I know that? Well, Linda was at the South City office since we first put the key in the door 13 years ago. She’s what one might refer to as a staple – and a really good one at that.
Linda was great at service. She displayed a passion for the Credit Union and what we do for the community we serve. She was a great co-worker, and regularly shared ideas for helping us to get even better at what we do. If you take just a minute and add up what I’ve said in the past few paragraphs, you will come to realize that I’m not kidding when I say we’re going to miss her.
Everybody has a favorite Linda story. I’ve tied together a whole bunch of stories and mental images to form a beautiful, caring memory. She will be forever remembered as a champion for the sprit of what St. Louis Community Credit Union is all about. Linda helped write the book on our success.
Now don’t get me wrong, Linda is just one of many caring, loving, thoughtful, kind and considerate people who work for the Credit Union. We expect nothing less than a passionate commitment to our members, and the entire Credit Union staff always answers the bell. Given the respect we have for our fellow workers, I’m sure everyone in the organization joins me in wishing Linda the best in her retirement.
I say all that to say…Linda will be missed!