The P.A.

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

New Year, New Paradigm

On December 29th, 2008, posted in: Uncategorized by

It’s December 29th. There are just a couple more days before we ring in the New Year. This time of year fosters a certain amount of recollection and reflection. 2008 was momentous in many regards – not the least of which was the election of a new president amid economic turmoil of a magnitude not seen by most people under the age of 80.

Regardless of your political persuasion, the election of Barack Obama as president of this great country was a “WOW” moment – one that comes along once a generation. One that we attach to the phrase…“where were you when…”

For me, it also meant a paradigm shift. It was a loud and clear message cast by young people that it’s their turn. I guess the efforts of Baby Boomers and the World War II generation to run our country fell short of many Americans’ expectations. Whatever the issue, they made a statement at the polls. They proclaimed in a strong voice that the old way of doing things is no longer the operating manual for the future. “Change” was the mantra aspired to by Mr. Obama, and the message resonated like never before. He is Time Magazine’s Man of the Year for a reason.

At St. Louis Community Credit Union, we (too) seek change and maintain a young mindset as it relates to serving our members. Generations X and Y are right. Sometimes doing it the old fashioned way should not be embraced. Perpetuating a problem because “that’s the way it’s always been done” is not an effective way of approaching an issue. Our collective mindset at St. Louis Community is one that is young, fresh, embraces change, and encourages innovation.

Don’t look for St. Louis Community to rest on the successes of the past. We will forge ahead. Much like President-elect Obama, we will do our very best to punch a hole in the current economy and emerge on the other side in a better place. Look for us to fix what is broken and proceed in a manner deserving of your support.

It’s a new time, and we’re committed to doing our best with new ideas that excite our 32,000-plus members, increase their standard of living, and better their lifestyle.

It’s OK to Save!

On December 22nd, 2008, posted in: Uncategorized by

Recently, I read a Wall Street Journal article that expressed concern over the fact that consumers were spending less and saving more. The article was framed in the context that because the engine of our economy is fueled by consumer spending, we (being you and me) should be spending our money at a more brisk clip. In other words, the more we spend, the better off the economy will be. True enough, but…

Question…didn’t we end up in the economic turmoil we’re in today because (in part) we spent more than we could afford? Hmmmm. Didn’t housing values balloon out of control because of our willingness to spend, spend, spend? Generally speaking, the consumer’s appetite for spending has been gluttonous. Maybe shifting down a gear and saving a few bucks isn’t all that bad of an idea.

We regularly encounter people that have no safety net. Life happens, and suddenly they are paralyzed by anxiety and fear without that “rainy day” savings account to help them over the hump. The 48-inch, “high-def,” flat screen TV that is still being paid for on a monthly credit card bill doesn’t do you much good when three tires are bald and the other one’s flat. Now what? A little savings might help at such a critical time.

The average consumer’s debt load is so high that people are playing Russian roulette with their bills. The result is that consumers everywhere are shooting holes in their credit score and hurting their standard of living every single day.

Yes, we make loans to qualified candidates. However, credit unions were formed in this country 100 years ago to promote thrift, i.e. savings. We still believe in savings. That’s why St. Louis Community’s savings rates are some of the best in town, and encourage regular, disciplined savings activity.

Save a little more than in the past, spend within your means, and have a sound budget and financial plan for the future. If you do those things, believe me, the economy will be just fine.

We Are Family

On December 15th, 2008, posted in: Uncategorized by

2008 is just about ready to be tucked into our book of memories, and I’m pleased to say that St. Louis Community Credit Union had a very good year. We punched through the difficult economy with an unwavering dedication to serving our community. Our marketing and business development reached deeper into the communities we serve. Our pricing on loans, deposits and fees remained beneficial and focused on what our members and the community needed to ease through these tough economic times. We expanded our product development and convenience to insure access to Credit Union services was made readily available to all in our community.

Take note as to how many references to helping the community is made in the first paragraph. That may be our greatest accomplishment in 2008. We intensified our efforts to become interwoven in our community. The word “community” is in our name and we take that commitment seriously. Hearkening back to some of my early English Composition classes, I note that one of the root words found in community is “unity.” That’s what we’ve become in 2008.

I remember a Top 10 song years ago by the pop group “Sister Sledge.” The chorus emphasized that “we are family – I got all my sisters with me.” Whether it’s sisters, brothers, cousins, neighbors, co-workers, church members, friends, distant relatives – yes we are family. And we are unified in our desire to make a better life for each other, and as a result, the community in which we live, work and worship. The cooperative spirit of St. Louis Community Credit Union is the glue that holds our members together in a unified commitment to each other’s success. If you’re in the mini melting pot called SLCCU, you can be certain of our unification.

In 2009, we will remain all about the cooperative spirit that binds us together in a unified approach to our collective well-being. People coming together from all walks of life to pool their deposits to make each other loans – that’s a sign of unity. Eight branch offices now unite the entire city and near county with tremendous convenience. Add a vast ATM network into the unity formula, and you can see that you’re part of something special. And that’s just a part of what we do.

Yes…we are family, and the Credit Union serves as the unifying force.

Thank You…Thank You…Thank You!

On December 8th, 2008, posted in: Uncategorized by

What does great service mean to you? We would love to know. Please use the “Post Comment” section attached to this blog to voice your opinion. Yes, it matters to us.

A couple of my favorites include gratefulness and compassion. I am forever grateful for you choosing St. Louis Community Credit Union to be the place where you put your hard-earned money. The fact that you want us to be the trusted depository of your money is a great honor. We thank you with heartfelt appreciation and gratitude. Our expectation is that you hear “thank you” every time you do anything with the Credit Union. We hear from members that we’re not as good at this as we should be. We’ll get better. We know which side our bread is buttered. So believe me when I say…thank you, thank you, thank you!

Our entire being is rooted in compassion. St. Louis Community Credit Union is about “people helping people.” The nature of our existence is to do what we can to help you and your family. We do things for our members that other financial institutions do not do. Tell us your story and let us go to work for you. Don’t disqualify yourself.

The economy is tough on many folks these days. If problems occur in the management of your account, please talk with us. Don’t hide from the difficulties that may affect you.
Let’s work together to see if a resolution is possible. We are known for our deep reach into our members’ situations, and often times we emerge with a solution.

And remember…thanks for your business – even when times are tough.

“Tis the Season for Financial Restraint”

On December 1st, 2008, posted in: Uncategorized by

As we approach prime time for the holiday season, consider restraint. “‘Tis better to give than to receive” is certainly the slant most people take.

I’m a big fan of giving, as well. Unfortunately, the practice of “giving ‘til it hurts” has made its way from a popular adage found in American lexicon to a literal interpretation of one’s financial well-being. Fiscal irresponsibility tends to be the by-product of our gluttonous approach to the holiday shopping season.

Please give during the holidays…all we’re saying is be careful when you do.

Here at the Credit Union, we have witnessed the January and February hangover all too many times over the years as a result of a member’s year-end spending spree. The New Year’s credit card statements come all too soon, and serve as a reminder that one’s most deadly move is the swipe. It’s so easy to spend money, and so hard to pay it back in a timely manner.

In addition to a mindset focused on restraint, this time of year also demands a plan of action. Set limits. Force yourself to shop with a “to purchase” list that matches off to your spending limits. Eliminate the emotional buy (that tends to forego any major spending blunders), and actively practice rational money management. Consider “trading down” from high-end department stores to discounters. Be a good bargain hunter. Read the paper. Compare prices and use the Internet. All tricks of the trade you can practice to avoid insurmountable debt should be a welcome addition to your holiday cheer.

You may be thinking The P.A. guy is a prude. He must be a lot of fun when it comes to opening presents. He can’t be much joy sitting ‘round the ol’ yuletide log! Nope – not true. I love the holiday season. I love December, and so should you. But I also love January and February. What you do this holiday season in the way of effective budgeting and the personal responsibility to hold yourself accountable helps to take one resolution off of your New Year’s list: catching up on credit card bills.