There’s a phrase I often hear bandied about the back hallways of Notre Dame FCU. It’s not an advertising slogan. I’ve never seen it on any billboard or printed on any brochure. It is a mantra that began with Chief Retail Officer, John Wilkening and has been repeated quietly and consistently for several years throughout the organization: “Change a life a day.”
At Notre Dame FCU, our employees are called “partners” because they are partners in the mission of this Catholic-inspired credit union. By reminding ourselves of this phrase, “Change a life a day,” our partners keep focused on what truly matters in our work: the financial health and well-being of our members.
This may not be the case everywhere. Many of us have read about the banks that are so obsessed with profit that their front-line employees feel intense pressure to hit certain sales metrics. At Notre Dame FCU, our partners do not receive this intense pressure. In fact, they are encouraged to get involved in community service, sometimes facilitated directly by our organization.
How can this be? Credit unions are different than banks. Credit unions are not-for-profit and Member-owned. Therefore, management is not under as much pressure for maximizing profits. Rather, management focuses on providing the Membership with the best service and best deals possible.
At Notre Dame Federal Credit Union, our hallways are full of stories that you would rarely hear in for-profit banks. Every Member is treated as an individual. I’ve even heard of partners giving advice to our Members that actually resulted in a loss of revenue for the credit union. Why? Because it was in the Member’s best interest! The Member’s interest is more important than income for the organization.
Another way we live the mission is our focus on community and charity involvement. In 2018, we gave away over 1/3 of our net income to the communities that we serve. ONE-THIRD! Our partners are continually volunteering at various community events.
Charitable giving is sometimes even written into a loan itself. For instance, Elevate, a fundraising program, takes a percentage of the final loan amount of an auto loan and directs a one-time gift to a charity near and dear to the borrower.* This contribution comes out of the credit union’s pocket; it is not passed along to the borrower by means of a hidden fee or higher interest rate.
Loving God, we turn to You with grateful hearts for what we have and for what is yet to come. As we meet today to guide the future of Notre Dame Federal Credit Union, please bless us with unity, respect, generosity and zeal, as we address the opportunities and challenges before us.
As your willing hands and feet on earth, we ask you to send your Holy Spirit to inspire us. Enlighten our hearts and minds with wisdom to make decisions that will best assist our members, our partners, and the communities in which we serve.
We know there is much to do and our time is short. While we move forward in the name of Notre Dame, Our Lady, we entrust our credit union and our mission of hope to her loving care.
Finally, at Notre Dame FCU, we are not afraid to talk about the things that matter most. We pray together at gatherings and always take a moment to reflect on our mission. If you’d like to understand what makes us tick, look no further than the official prayer of the leadership team. This prayer is prayed at the beginning of every board meeting. It’s a part of who we are and what we do.
* Charity must be a non-profit organization that is listed as a Select Employee Group of Notre Dame FCU. Contact a representative for more details.