The P.A.

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

Strengthen All Links in the Chain

On February 23rd, 2015, posted in: Uncategorized by

chain with red link

There is a lot of money spent on research and analysis to verify the obvious. I see it regularly in study after study conducted and put forth to a bunch of data wonks (I am one) thirsting for results that were probably well known before the first dollar was spent.

That’s OK. It’s part of the way the wheel turns. Early on, somebody gets a hunch that something is going on and decides that rather than working off of the hunch, they better do some research. Lo and behold, it is verified that people do not like chocolate on their Wavy Lays potato chips.

Well, the research has been completed, and the report has recently been issued, and yes, very low-income populations act as St. Louis Community Credit Union (SLCCU) has observed for darn near a decade. Our research was much less scientific. We did more “eyeing” the behaviors of our almost 50,000 members to arrive at our conclusion.  With scientific knowledge in abundance, the final report did not change much from our view in the lobbies of our offices.

Very low-income populations are welcome at our credit union. And yes, as the report suggests, we already do and subscribe to the remedies that assist folks who find themselves of this ilk. It’s our mission — our purpose to strengthen the community.  Collectively, St. Louis is only as strong as its weakest link. As an example, sadly, “Ferguson” is how we are now known. All the good and caring of our great city has been cast to the side. But I digress. The point is that we must strengthen all links in the chain.

The study says:

  • Very low-income populations have instability and volatility in their earnings picture. Yep.
  • Trust is not found in mobile technologies. Yes, all socioeconomic groups use technology, but poor folks aren’t as trusting. Yep, knew that too.
  • Low-income folk live in a cash-based world. Oh, yeah — our ATMs and teller lines are ALWAYS busy.
  • Budgets aren’t very helpful to those hurting financially, given the volatility that exists in their lives. Yes, we know. People sit waiting at 7:30 in the morning for our drive-thru to open at 9a.m. because they have to get cash to fill up with gas. They can’t move otherwise. Budgets don’t help much.
  • And finally, products and services must fit within their lives. Yes. We meet people where they are.

Look, I appreciate studies and always learn something new. However, had we waited for this study’s completion, we would have missed a decade of serving many of our members.

Sometimes you have to go with your gut feeling. Be cognizant of what is going on around you, and act accordingly. SLCCU pays attention and, as a result, helps wherever and whenever we can. We don’t need a study to tell us to serve. It’s our mission.

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