Credit Unions Connect with Communities
One of the greatest privileges of working in our advisory role is getting to know the people who run community financial institutions across the country. Time and again, we witness their commitment, perseverance, and vision as they lead their teams not only to better business results, but also to being outstanding corporate citizens.
On this International Day of the Credit Union, we’ve chosen to spotlight one of the outstanding credit unions with which we’ve had the honor of advising, as it continues to grow and give back to its community. Numerica Credit Union, based in Spokane, Washington, currently has 21 branches across six counties in Washington and Idaho. With more than $2 billion in share deposits, it serves more than 135,000 members through its branch network and advanced online and mobile channels.
At the same time it’s been growing, Numerica has continued to increase its focus on giving back to the community. Numerica's mission is “to enhance lives, fulfill dreams, and build communities.” In 2017, it donated more than $1.3 million to 293 organizations and its employees volunteered for 15,600 hours. These contributions have focused on fostering education, supporting women and children, and ending hunger and homelessness.
We were able to catch up with Jennifer O’Callaghan, SVP of Marketing at Numerica, to ask her a few questions about what makes working at a credit union so fulfilling.
How do you, as a credit union, foster community growth?
Jennifer: Through donations, fundraising and sponsorships, Numerica is supporting causes that lend a helping hand, create leaders and celebrate our community. Numerica supports events and causes that help to build up our community, making this a great place to raise a family.
How credit unions able to connect more deeply with the community than big public corporations?
Jennifer: Credit unions are committed to putting people before profit. At Numerica, we practice that philosophy by working diligently to foster well-being in the lives or our members. Living well means more than just easing the stress of managing one’s finances, it also means supporting causes and events that help our members live a healthy lifestyle, live in a safe community where we help those less fortunate, and enjoy life – have fun!
What are your favorite/most unique contributions to the community?
Jennifer: I definitely have a couple Numerica favorites! Both take place during the holiday season, which makes them that much more special.The first is Numerica’s sponsorship of a regional Thanksgiving food drive for Second Harvest of the Inland Northwest called Tom’s Turkey Drive. It would be easy to simply pay our sponsorship and let the local news station give us the valued recognition. But, that’s not Numerica’s way. We noticed that many of the people who waited in line – outside, sometimes for hours – for the turkey meal distribution at the end of the drive didn’t have proper winter outerwear, especially the children. So, we took it upon ourselves to gather and make gloves, mittens, scarves and hats to hand out during the distribution. This was all done internally; we even hold a lunchtime scarf-making party! We call it, “Mittens Matter!” Now, every year, people look forward to seeing our employees handing out colorful winter accessories during Tom’s Turkey Drive!
The second example is our “CEO on the Road.” Numerica CEO Carla Cicero chooses five charitable organizations and surprises each of them with $5,000 donations during the month of December. She chooses organizations where $5,000 means the world to them and, some years, quite literally allows them another year of continuing their mission. The smiles and tears of joy are truly moving; it’s one of our favorite days of the year!
Each time we collaborate on a project with Numerica’s leadership, we witness the diligence through which they make thoughtful, data-driven decisions to best serve their members. Numerica’s actions prove that its tagline, “Life Moves. Live Well.” is more than just a slogan, it’s a true commitment to help members reach their goals. THANK YOU Numerica, and credit unions around the world, for your continued commitment to enhancing the lives of your members.