The P.A.

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

We’ll Show You How It’s Done

On February 17th, 2015, posted in: Uncategorized by

giveback hands

The real differentiator that St. Louis Community Credit Union (SLCCU) has over our competition is that our socially responsible behavior emanates from within. We don’t need a community activist to force our hand. Nope, it’s in our DNA. We don’t have stockholders, we have stakeholders. If I may take poetic license, our cooperative infrastructure may inferentially make us the greatest of “public” companies. What we do to ensure that the public benefits from the credit union is done so willingly and without push-back.

Many of those who compete with us may be “public” companies according to their SEC filings, but their corporate management displays great restraint in returning their hard-earned profits back to the “public.” After all, “public” only means those who are stockholders. What about all of the “public” who can’t afford a share of the machine?  Are their interests taken into consideration? Are “public” companies concerned with the stakeholders in the community?  Remember, when business is unmoored from concern for the “public,” then the good of capitalism can find itself tainted by corruption.

Think about this irony. If a corporation achieves large-scale success, it is usually because of equally large-scale “public” acceptance. It takes the communities where they are located to embrace and patronize their establishments. Sure, private investment built the building and pays for the operations, and those who put their money where their mouth is deserve a return on their investment. But shouldn’t the “public” get something back for making sure there is success? Yes, jobs and tax revenue coupled with economic multipliers allow corporate managers to justify their “public” giveback. I get it.

At SLCCU, we set out every day to figure out how to give back even more than jobs. It starts our day and ends our day. Every time a new branch shows up in areas considered to be a financial services desert, that’s a “public” giveback.  When large blocks of loan capital go to people who otherwise couldn’t borrow, that’s a “public” giveback. When the rates of the aforementioned loans are reasonable and far from usurious, that’s a “public” giveback. There are countless examples of services offered at below-market pricing, or even free. All “public” giveback.

The credit union is designed and determined to return value to the “public” — in a big way. It’s why we exist. “Public” companies exist to pay stockholders. If you’re not a stockholder, you’re sadly the wrong “public.”

Don’t get me wrong, these behemoth-like bastions of commerce are good for our communities. And they do give back in many regards — but more would be better.  Corporate managers need to be reminded that social responsibility is not socialism.

Writing a check to the Lions Club is great. Funding broad socioeconomic change in order to eradicate poverty in affected communities is brilliant. Contact SLCCU — we’ll show you how it’s done.

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