Real Credit Union Superheroes

Meet Erki Pisuke and Andro Roos. They are CU Executives from the former Communist Country of Estonia and in my book – real life credit union Superheroes. To me they have the gumption of Batman, the will of Superman, and have already faced their fair share of kryptonite in their short careers. Their story is an epic one of courage, hope and inspiration.

Estonia is a very small country in Northern Europe. Tartu Estonian Credit Union was founded in 1902 as one of the first credit unions in the world. The CU Movement grew rapidly over the years, and by World War II credit unions represented over 50% of the market share in their country. Then Estonia was overtaken by a communist regime; therefore, all deposits became public and the credit union movement was lost.

Fast forward 50 years and freedom has returned to Estonia, yet foreign banks have moved in. And Erki and Andro  are restoring the once lost Credit Union Movement. They are starting from scratch with no modern conveniences of ATMs or core processors or even share insurance. Standing behind the competition for 15 years with no Home Banking, direct transactions or common accounting standards, just simply {a vision to do what is right} for the Estonian people.

I had the pleasure of meeting Erki and Andro through a partnership between the Virginia Credit Union League, the World Council of Credit Unions and the Estonian Union of Credit Cooperatives. They came to Virginia to learn more about the modern credit union system in America. Ironically, I gave a talk about a guerrilla marketing promotion my credit union did that involved superheroes. I thought perhaps they could use the capes and masks much more than I ever could.

What strikes me most about their story is the parallel between freedom and the credit union movement. While the country now has its independence, the people now need the opportunity of local choice. And I can’t help but wonder what it would be like to have to start over with no rules in place, a true underdog with no preconceived notions – just the iron will to do what’s right.

And I just hope the capes come in handy because I can’t wait to see them fly!


About giraphcu

Greetings and salutations! Welcome to gira{ph}, a strategic marketing firm that helps credit unions amplify their greatness to create chemistry with consumers. The credit union movement has given so much to us. This is our way of giving back. Enjoy!
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