Credit Union Guiding Principles

The credit union philosophy of helping people versus making a profit is guided by the seven cooperative principles for credit unions. Today I would like to discuss one of those principles, Concern for Community.

Although Hopewell Federal Credit Union demonstrates our concern and commitment to the Licking County community in many ways, this week we had the opportunity to meet with our future – high school freshman. On Tuesday I staffed a booth with our new Marketing Director, Teresa Cennamo at Denison’s Mitchell Field House for the 2009 Licking County Career Fair presented by CTEC and the BCAC. The event was well organized and about 2,000 students and numerous businesses and professions interacted.

As the morning wore on, I realized what a unique opportunity this was for these students. I talked just about non-stop, but the students were eager to listen and eager to learn. They were learning what a day in the life of would be like. Questions like, “What do you do when you come into your office in the morning?”, “What sort of education and training did you need to get your job?”, “What is your biggest challenge?” and “What do you like the most about your job?” were asked repeatedly. The answers were often surprising for the students and prompted more questions. We talked about job opportunities, hard work and work experience, educational requirements and personal skills. “How did you get your job?” “Was this what you planned on doing when you were in high school?”

For many students it was an opportunity to meet with professionals they wouldn’t cross paths with in their daily lives. They could imagine and dream and plan what their careers would be like. It made their dreams seem realistic and possible, even at their young age.

Probably the most valuable lesson I taught them that day was the difference between a credit union and a bank, and I did that without saying a word – by taking the time to care about them.

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Public Funds and Credit Unions

Many local communities, municipalities, school systems and townships have come to Ohio’s credit unions looking to do business, but our current state law prohibits us from accepting their business. For example, the City of Heath could deposit funds in our credit union, but currently Ohio law won’t allow the city to do this. Credit unions are the only financial institutions in Ohio that cannot accept public funds. This just doesn’t seem right – does it? 

Legislation has been introduced in the Ohio General Assembly (House Bill 317) to correct this situation and allow credit unions to accept public deposits from the state, communities, schools and other public systems. Allowing these groups to make deposits in their community’s credit union will in turn make those funds available for lending to others in their local community.

Over the years, credit unions have grown within their communities and become very active members of the community. At Hopewell Federal we are active in the Licking County Chamber of Commerce, Rotary Club, Sertoma, Food Pantry Network and LICCO just to name a few. We are a great financial institution for our members now and will be a great financial institution for Licking County public systems too. 

Ohio can join two dozen other states like Indiana, Michigan and West Virginia along with the U.S. Government and allow credit unions to accept public deposits. The passage of this bill would also allow credit unions to participate in the Ohio Department of Development’s Minority Business Enterprise Program and Capital Loan Program for small businesses.

Please show your support for this bill by notifying your State Representative, Jay Hottinger at district71@ohr.state.oh.us or Dan Dodd at district91@ohr.state.oh.us.