Core Values - 1A core value is a principle that guides an organization’s internal conduct as well as its relationships with the external world. Companies that are guided by those core values tend to have greater success. Think Zappos, Toms Shoes and Chick-Fil-A.

Every financial institution has values. They not be in writing. They may not be on a wall. And they may not even be the right ones. But rest assured your bank or credit union has values. But do core values really matter to a financial institution? They absolutely do if you want to enjoy more success and more growth.

One credit union that recently launched and is now living their core values is DuGood Federal Credit Union in Beaumont, Texas. Their vision statement is “We will be a leader in the cooperative industry, responding to the changing needs of our members and our community.” But what does that really mean to their staff?

To reinforce that vision the credit union developed eight core values as guiding principles for the organization:

  • Commitment
  • Community
  • Empathy
  • Family
  • Generosity
  • Integrity
  • Respect
  • Teamwork

“Our employees naturally carried out the core values because they were practicing them on a daily basis,” said Jada Kelley, DuGood FCU’s president and CEO. “We chose them as a group.”

When it came time to launch the core values, DuGood FCU held an employee wide training day (on Veterans Day) to engage and reinforce these values with all staff. During that special day, the credit union did the following:

  • Had a western-themed day to make the event more casual
  • Played games and had team building activities throughout the day
  • Reviewed the credit union’s history decade by decade
  • Had branch managers give testimonies about the impact the core values were having on their members and community
  • Had an outside speaker energize the staff about the importance of core values and their role in living them

“Combining the history with an outside expert’s insights helped employees learn practical applications and accountability,” Kelley added. “The return on investment for this type of marketing helps us grow our reputation quicker.”

What would Kelley recommend for other institutions considering investing in building and living core values?

“Adopt real values that matter to your members and that you are practicing already,” she says. “I would let the employees have more input than just the management team.”