Why CU Marketers Should Not Approve Loans

Working in a soup kitchen each Friday during lunch became one of those “do good” credit union community service projects that stuck (well, for a while). Each Friday I’d drive into the city, feed the parking meter, and greet the Andersons who were often dumpster diving for treasures on my way in. I’d help take cans of donated food and turn it into something that only on the rare occasion didn’t taste like Green Bean Casserole.

The Soup Kitchen served homeless people of all varieties – old, young, even some children, and it was intensely satisfying to help them. Mr. and Mrs. Anderson were a sweet old couple in their late 7os. They could have been my grandparents and it took everything I had inside me not to take them home with me each Friday.

One year, my credit union was having a Christmas Brunch and one of the staff had the brilliant idea to adopt a needy family. I immediately thought of my friends from the soup kitchen and the next week I eagerly told them that I was going to pick them up and bring them to my credit union for a real Christmas Brunch. They were delighted and I snapped their picture and shared with the staff my adorable, perfectly innocent old couple.

As promised I picked up the Andersons that Friday and brought them to my credit union. The staff was overwhelmingly generous and showered them with gifts, cards, and a feast fit for a king. The Andersons cried, we were all so touched, and I was a hero! We had given so many things to the Andersons my CEO had to use his pick-up truck to haul all the “stuff” back to their uh….well, I didn’t exactly know or even think about it.

We drove down the highway and Mrs. Anderson sweetly told me, “Turn left here, dear. Take a right just ahead, honey.” And then, we pulled into the nicest condominium high-rise in the city. I was trying to rationalize why the Andersons wanted me to take them to this high rise community on the nicest street in town. Maybe they have a relative here? Maybe they live in a cardboard box behind the dumpster? Nope. They lived on the 12th floor, and what could I do but politely take all their gifts up the posh elevator one cart load at a time. And to top it off the name on the door didn’t say “Anderson”, it was another last name. I was had, but what could I do? My CEO and I giggled all the way down in the elevator and vowed an oath not to tell anyone. I figure 5 years is a good expiration date on an oath like that.

There’s a reason why CU Marketing Directors should not approve loans. We just live in a world of unending optimism and trust. The glass is always half full and the people are always good. And the energy of an idea propels us farther than being cynical ever would.

{But our heart, at least, is almost always in the right place.}


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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