Origin stories are important. Think about it, every superhero has an origin story. It is one of the most important aspects of the hero because it provides the foundation as well as insight to motivations of why they are a hero today.
Superman's origin story, for example, is that as an infant, he was rocketed from his dying home world and crash landed on earth, raised by human parents and earth's environment activated his incredible powers that he uses to protect the earth.
The same can be said for credit union origin stories as well. Many credit union origin stories have common elements. They seem to have been started when five or so people who traditionally worked together got together to pool their money, in a shoebox, to lend it out to other co-workers in need.
And similar to superheroes, it is the origin story that provides the foundation as to what and why the credit union exists today.
Credit unions were founded on seven cooperative principles, they are:
Democratic Member Control
Members' Economic Participation
Autonomy and Independence
Education, Training, and Information
Cooperation Among Cooperatives
Concern for Community
Credit unions have embraced these principles into all aspects of the organization. It is found in the high level of service credit union employees provide to their members. It is also found in the products that are offered, such as low rates, alternatives to payday lender loans, annual skip a payments and more. All of this adds up to an industry high trust rating.
However, just like with superheroes, if the origin story gets lost, so can the What and the Why. This origin story is also a simple reminder of what makes a credit union different from other financial institutions. No other financial institution was formed by a community of people to serve a community of people - in other words; it is people helping people.
At the next; annual meeting, board meeting, staff meeting, branch meeting, website update and/or tweet, take a moment to tell your credit union's origin story and celebrate your credit union's what and why.