By: Michelle Christie, Foundation Senior Manager of Financial Inclusion and Impact
“We know who gets hurt in economic downturns. It’s the same members that got hurt last time. Shame on us as credit unions if we march into another financial downturn and let the same communities get hurt again.”
That was one of many mic-drop moments from Maurice Smith during a recent panel conversation, held in partnership by Filene and the National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation).
Of course, the CEO of Local Government FCU and Civic FCU is right. The last few months have been exhausting. Violence and unfathomable loss; inflation and economic uncertainty. An already fraught nation is struggling to catch its breath. Now is the time for a cooperative movement, marching under the banner of People Helping People … but are we healthy enough to help?
Through the Foundation’s education programs, grants and events like CUFinHealth™, we are helping more credit unions embrace financial well-being as a strategic imperative. And as we do, we’re increasingly seeing just how fragile credit union employees’ financial health is.
Statistically, we knew this. More than two-thirds of people in the U.S. are financially unhealthy but that hasn’t softened the blow. The more the Foundation looks into this, the clearer it is that our Financial First Responders need their PPE. As a system, we must provide it.
One of the benefits of that system, however, is our cooperative principles. We are hard-wired to partner with one another. To learn from one another. And as a centralized part of the system, the Foundation is uniquely positioned to create, curate and share impactful examples.