The P.A.

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

Make 2010 Better Than 2009

On December 28th, 2009, posted in: Uncategorized by 1 Comment

Let’s make 2010 the best year ever.  If we all work together, it can end up better than year’s past.  Here are some ideas and some basic tenets by which (if practiced) can turn “10 into a 10.”  Easy stuff that when consciously applied makes this crazy world seem a heck of a lot better. 

Walk in love.  It may be tough on occasion (especially on the highways), but error on the side of love.  When the world tries to pull you into their craziness and hatred, make a “no holds barred” move to a place of love.  Love starts the ball rolling for so much else to happen.  If you come from a place of love, then patience is easier and forgiveness flies into the forefront of your thinking and pushes vengeance to the rear of the line. 

Have a passion for what you do.  Whatever is you chosen profession, your commitment to volunteerism or your favorite hobby, have a passion for it.  Passion fosters excellence and excellence makes the community a better place.  I think passion is “it.”  You know when you see somebody and you think, man that guy’s got “it,” and whatever “it” is, I would like to get some of “it”—well, that “it” is passion.  Passion raises the bar.  We all need a little more. 

Couple love and passion with compassion and you’re stirring the 2010 pot with some great ingredients for success.  People are flawed—we are of the world so as a result, we make plenty of mistakes—oh brother, do we.  When mistakes occur, practice that forgiveness I spoke of earlier .When people are hurting, I tend to take the football coach approach and tell them to “rub a little dirt on it.”  You know—suck it up wienie boy—get on the other side—be a man.  In 2010, I’m going to work on my compassion and show the caring forgiveness that I would want shown to me during those tough times.  

Take care of your health.  You can’t do much if you’re not well.  I’m a huge fan of exercise—do a little more of it in 2010.  Good diet is important to good health—I’ve got to do better.  I’m going to stretch more in 2010.  I understand that flexibility is key to good health in one’s later years.  Yes, that is an admission that I’m moving into the “later years.” 

And finally, have a wealth of spirit.  I’ve lived long enough and witnessed countless times that wealth is far from a measurement of money.  Some of the richest people I know barely make it from paycheck to paycheck.  But their spirit for life is exceedingly, abundant and far above the richness of money.  If you have a wealth of spirit, you are rich beyond your wildest imagination. 

Make 2010 the best.  Walk in love, have a passion for what you do, a compassion for your fellow man, have good health and a wealth of spirit.  That’s a great start.  Happy New Year. 

‘Tis the Season for Gifts of Time, Love and Compassion

On December 21st, 2009, posted in: Uncategorized by

‘Tis the season.  The cynical might interpret this phrase as French for “it’s a crazy time of year.”  Holy cow, there is some craziness out there!  We’ve got folks stealing the Salvation Army buckets right out from under the bell ringers’ nose.  Times are tough, and folks are hurting.

Now more than ever it truly is the season – the season to walk in love and help our fellow man.  There are many who practice the “love walk” every day.  Here are a few of my favorites…

You already know how much the credit union does.  Our staff comes to work every day with a purpose-driven desire to help people.  We increase people’s standard of living and better their lifestyle.  That’s a big charge and we take it seriously.  Our goal is to tangibly impact the community, but we’re not alone.  There are many, many others.

If you don’t have money to buy presents, then give time, love and compassion.  They might be the most valuable and most desired of all of the season’s potential gifts.  I’m reminded that for the dying man to give a minute, for the beggar to give a penny, for the friendless man to be your friend – truly are the golden moments.  That is what the season is all about.

Time, love and compassion are what are given by the great housekeeping staff at Barnes Hospital.  To the magnificent treatment and care given by the medical professionals, you can add the “prayer warriors” who keep the building glistening. On a number of different occasions, I’ve heard of this group and their willingness to provide love, time and compassion to those who need more than great medical care.  Talk about “value-add.”  Add a dose of God to the latest pill or procedure and you got something exceedingly, abundantly special.

Imagine the emptiness one might be experiencing as they visit loved ones in the hospital – especially this time of year.  Anxiety, fear and a sense of despair could very well overcome the holiday spirit.  NOT AT BARNES.  Wherever you find something that needs refreshing, whether it be in the elevator, hallways, patient rooms, nurses’ stations, cafeterias, lobbies, and even in hardened hearts and clouded states of mind, you will find the housekeeping crew ready to do what they do best – provide time, love and compassion.

I am energized by these great folks.  So if you end up in Barnes this holiday season (or any time for that matter), just say this to yourself when you see a housekeeper.

“There goes my friend.  They may not have doctor-type smarts and they probably don’t make a ton of money, but if they ever see me cry or see me hurting, they will never turn their back.  They will give me time, love and compassion in my greatest time of need.”

Maybe (just maybe), the Barnes housekeeping team has the best prescription this holiday season.  ‘Tis the season…for the gifts of time, love and compassion.

Credit To Small Business Is Catalyst For Job Growth

On December 14th, 2009, posted in: Uncategorized by

Recently, I attended a meeting that was organized by Congressman Russ Carnahan to meet with local businesses to discuss job creation.  I was grateful for the opportunity to be a part of such an important conversation.  Kudos to the Congressman!  Here is a letter I sent to Representative Carnahan in response to the meeting.

Dear Congressman Carnahan:

Thank you for allowing me to be a part of such an important discussion regarding the dire need to create jobs in our community.  Your willingness to ascertain data from those of us on the “front line” is imperative to determining the best possible legislative decisions to achieve success.  I applaud your sense of urgency.

As discussed, the uncertainty of our times looms as a major concern to business growth.  St. Louis businesses remain “hunkered down” lying in wait for specificity in pending legislative and regulatory direction.  As a result, capital investment to grow business is subordinated to a “wait and see” approach – not good for economic growth.

A common theme during our meeting focused on the fact that credit to small business remains the catalyst for job growth.  Whether in the scientific and technology community, service sector or agriculture-based initiatives, making loans available to small business and entrepreneurs will be a needed jump start to job creation.

Credit unions remain a viable alternative to providing credit to business.  Many are not aware that credit unions (although a smaller player in the financial services world) help small business in providing credit.  Unfortunately, credit unions are limited in our capacity to lend by an arbitrary cap on business lending at 12.25% of our total assets.  There is absolutely no economic, safety and soundness or historical rationale for said cap.

Representatives Kanjorski and Royce have introduced H.R. 3380 which would raise the cap to 25% and would exempt from the cap loans made to businesses in underserved areas.  This represents significant economic stimulus that does not cost the taxpayers a dime and does not expand government.

Many metropolitan area credit unions would love the opportunity to help in the economic stimulus of our respective communities.  Your support of H.R. 3380 is one of the puzzle pieces that would lead to a successful recovery in our region.

Again, thank you for extending me the invitation to attend such an important meeting.  Your willingness to listen and dedicated service to the region is greatly appreciated.

Brand Means Everything!

On December 7th, 2009, posted in: Uncategorized by

If you want to know what happens when you don’t protect your brand, just ask Tiger Woods.  The dude spent some serious coin during the past week.  Not just in the form of “hush” money; a pre-nuptial re-do; and $164 to the Florida state patrol.  Tiger spent millions (that’s right millions) in the damage he put forth to his reputation, his marketability, his trust, and his integrity.  Tiger’s image may be irreparably damaged with the Madison Ave. ad agencies, the guys and gals at the “swoosh” up in Portland, weekend hackers, and his enormous fan base.  The history books will record that the first week of December 2009 is when Tiger’s growl became a meek meow in brand power – a double bogey in golf terms.

I’ve mentioned Tiger in this very blog a couple of times – always in glowing terms.  To be fair, I’ve got to “dis” him for his serious indiscretions.  Tiger is smart.  C’mon man, did you really think that your brand was beyond reproach?  Did you think that you only existed as a professional golfer?  Please.  You or your high powered agents, management team, publicists, attorneys, ad agencies – all of the above – should know that you can’t take off a single moment from your brand.  Well, I guess you found out the hard way.  As they say on the course to warn when something bad is about to happen: “FORE.”

Brand is so important.  It is the sum of all the emotions the consumer feels about you.  St. Louis Community Credit Union is extremely brand conscious.  From the parking lots being clean, to the drive-thrus being power-washed, to the grass being cut, to the ATMs being on-line, to the phone being answered, to the teller lines being fast, to the staff being professional, to the logo wear being consistent, to the rates being good, to the fees being low, to the smiles on our faces, and to the “thank you” on our lips, everything matters.  EVERYTHING!!!!!  We know that and work to never let our guard down.  Tiger, take note.   Yes, the whole is greater than the sum of the parts.

We send out surveys to our members to stay in touch with how we’re doing in what we call our “brand elements.”  There is a baker’s dozen of very specific ideas that our staff must focus on to insure we stay “on brand.”  We get extremely high survey results, yet we are never satisfied.  NEVER.  Why not?  Well, we know that the corporate brand – what you think of us – is what matters most.  When you think highly of us, our business grows.  When you don’t have good feelings, you take your business elsewhere.  In other words, you “fire” us.

Seventy-five percent of our members, three out of every four, recommend us to their family and friends.  Good start, but not enough.  We need to do more.  We want all of our members to rave about how great of a financial institution we are.  And our brand is what gets it done.

St. Louis Community Credit Union manages our brand with great caution – all the time.  We remain committed to our members and make sure that everything we do is to guarantee that our members have an improved standard of living and a better lifestyle.