It was interesting these last few days talking to people at the credit union about what is happening in their lives. It seems when you take care of people’s money they don’t mind discussing just about anything. There really is a trust established that you often neglect. They have plans they need to tell you, or what they are saving for or just life in particular. When you listen intently you begin to realize how important it is for them to tell you these things and equally how important it is for you to hear them.
You need time to have conversations like these and build relationships with every member. They have some fascinating things to say which you usually never hear when everyone is busy and lacks time. Are these cultures something that we value? If we do value them then with every merger there seems to be the aftermath that the culture has changed and not for the better. Is there an equilibrium established over time with members that constantly fosters this sometimes unknown aspect of credit unions? I believe there is. The problem is the ease in which it can disappear unless it is nurtured. Bottom line and only bottom line thinking is its greatest enemy because conversation and sharing can be viewed as non-productive. And that actually becomes funny – since when have any of us personally viewed conversations in a purely monetary sense.
Someone once said that our eyes are the windows to our souls. If that is the case, then those face to face discussions allow us to realize much more than we sometimes realize.