Helen S. Delin, CEO of NAS JRB Credit Union in the New Orleans, Louisiana metro area, has a simple yet profound message during the ongoing coronavirus pandemic:
“We’re not going to let it beat us.”
While many credit unions echo this brave message in the face of unprecedented times, two factors are particularly compelling in the case of NAS JRB CU:
- NAS JRB CU operates in a virus “hotspot,” hard-hit by the coronavirus like other areas including New York City and Detroit.
- Helen issued her bold statement during a call when we were actively planning for their upcoming strategic planning session in June.
That's right. While most retailers (including some financial institutions) are pulling back on key elements of growth during the coronavirus pandemic (including marketing, training and strategic planning), NAS JRB CU is already actively planning for the post-virus environment.
And it will be the thing that sets them apart for decades to come.
"While our top concern is and will continue to be the health and safety of our team and our members during this pandemic, as a progressive credit union we must also look to the future,” Delin noted. “We believe these trying times will pass and the best way to prepare for growth post-virus is by making sound investments in areas like training and strategic planning now. This should help position us ahead of the curve when this cloud passes and the economy begins to regain its footing.”
While the health and safety of individuals is paramount, credit unions must also realize that the biggest threat to their long-term financial success is not a virus or a bad economy. It's a bad (or damaged) brand.
In the case of NAS JRB CU, their leadership team is looking not just to mitigate brand damage but also to improve the future of the credit union by focusing on strategic planning now.
This optimistic and growth-positive rallying cry is something credit unions must hold to during these challenging times. We've weathered storms in the past and we will weather this one, as well.
Our members and our economy are counting on us, now more than ever. Immense credit and respect is due to individuals like Helen and other credit union leaders coast-to-coast as we address the pandemic head-on.
- Credit unions didn't let the Great Depression beat them.
- Credit unions didn't let a World War beat them.
- Credit unions didn't let the 2008 financial meltdown beat them.
- Credit unions have a strong history of bouncing back with vigor and no doubt this will be the case after the coronavirus pandemic is passed.
Think of it this way: today, you are writing success stories in the future history of your credit union. Use this opportunity to think ahead, plan for the future and make sound investments in your credit union that will pay off in a sunnier tomorrow.