Have you ever wondered why over 217 million* people worldwide choose credit unions? Okay, so maybe you haven't, but I have. Credit unions were founded on the “people-helping-people” philosophy, which drives us to improve the communities and lives of our members.
Last month I had the honor to participate in an event that truly exemplified the spirit of "people-help-people."
On September 16 a couple co-workers and I, along with a group of over 15 other emerging credit union leaders, had the opportunity to volunteer with the Great Des Moines Habitat for Humanity to help build a new home for a deserving Des Moines family.
This was my first experience with Habitat for Humanity, and I must admit, I didn’t know much about the organization. Upon arriving at the job site, we learned that one of the biggest myths about the habitat program is that the organization gives houses away to poor people.
This is simply not true. Habitat for Humanity offers homeownership opportunities to families who are unable to obtain conventional mortgage financing. In most cases, the future homeowner makes a $500 down payment on the home. And, they put in 300-500 hours of “sweat equity.” By using donations and volunteer hours to construct the homes, mortgage payments are affordable.
This particular Habitat build had a very special meaning for us in the credit union industry. The family that was receiving the home had an Individual Development Account (IDA) setup through the Iowa Credit Union Foundation to save for their down payment.
The Foundation’s IDA program offers matched savings account for families with limited resources who meet income-based criteria to help them save for things such as homeownership, higher education, job training, the purchase of a vehicle to get to and from work and more.
When we first arrived, the house was little more than a foundation and few studs, and it was difficult to imagine we could do to change that in just a few hours. But with hammers, nails, drills and saws we went to work, determined to do what we could to get this house ready for the family that needed it. After four hours of hard work, the house had dramatically transformed and so had our belief that we would make a difference in just one day.
At Collins Community Credit Union, we work hard to demonstrate the "people helping people" philosophy every day, because we’re devoted to financial success for all. When our members are successful, our communities are successful. And that’s why 217 million* people worldwide choose a local credit union.
We want to say "thank you" for your membership, because the strength of our Credit Union comes from you. Click here to learn how you can get involved in the credit union movement.
Cherie Tilson, Creative Director
* World Council of Credit Unions