Working Together

October 17, 2008

Last night the Piedmont Chapter of Credit Unions got together.  This group is made up of volunteers, members, and employees from different credit unions across southern Virginia.  It was fitting to meet on International Credit Union Day.  Don Graham from the Virginia Credit Union League talked about how credit unions have grown over the years all over the world and how they come to each others aid in times of need. He shared reports of how this was lived out just last month by Texas credit unions in the wake of Hurricane Ike. (You can still support credit union people affected by Ike, click here.)

Recently we actually lived it out right here.  Last week while visiting a school I ran into a teacher who was already a member of Danville City Employees Federal Credit Union (through her husband).  Since I’ve seen the statistics which say that credit unions only have about 10%-15% of the personal finance market share in America, I really didn’t try very hard to win her business.  Rather, I complimented the other credit union and thanked her for supporting it.   With 90% of people using banks, credit unions don’t need to be fighting over each others members.  It really is for the good of all credit unions that we continue to support each other even when our memberships overlap like this.

Another example happened at last nights meeting. Kevin from Martinsville DuPont Credit Union, shared about what they learned from the recent phishing and vishing attack directed against their credit union.  The information was very valuable and will no doubt find it’s way into one of our upcoming financial education courses.

I’m so pleased to once again be active in our local credit union chapter.  I’m also glad to see the goodwill and cooperative nature of local credit unions being lived out in tangible ways.  If you’re a credit union employee reading, you should certainly consider coming to a chapter meeting.  The next meeting is November 6, 2008 at the Ballou Park Senior Center in Danville, VA.  If you’re a member, you should be proud to be part of your credit union and please let your credit union know what you think of it.  If you’re not a member, you need to find a credit union!

Donate to credit union people affected by Hurricane Ike


Great Companies to Work For

June 23, 2008

Recently I had the pleasure of visiting our members and potential members at Columbia Forest Products in Chatham, VA. It was perfect timing! On the second day of my visit the management team cooked and prepared a fantastic lunch for the entire plant. It wasn’t cheap burgers and hot dogs either. Mike Lee, the plant manager should open a restaurant when he retires. His barbecued chicken was incredible! It’s great that a big company like this has the desire to do more for it’s employees than just provide a pay check.

Events like this really go a long way towards building a strong and loyal team. But I got the impression during my visit that CFP treats it’s people very well every day. Possibly one reason for this is that Columbia Forest Products is an employee owned company. (Sort of like our credit union is owned by it’s members. When you’re an owner of something you tend to get treated better.) Today they are one of the largest employee owned company in the U.S. Read more about the CFP story here. It’s good. Since 1957 they’ve become the largest producer of plywood and hardwood veneer in the nation. Keep it going Columbia Forest Products! Your credit union looks forward to helping you save money for many years to come!

Another Piedmont Credit Union member company which does this sort of thing (picnics not employee ownership) is Techma-USA. Every Spring they host a great picnic for their entire plant with lots of fun and prizes. They’re located in Gretna and produce parts for many domestic cars. They’ve been recognized time and time again as a very positive influence in the small town of Gretna, VA.

I don’t know if anyone has a “Best Places to Work in Southside Virginia” list, but I would not be surprised to see the likes of Columbia Forest Products and Techma-USA on that list along with many more of our other member group companies. Hmm…I wonder if the benefit of having a good credit union would have anything to do with that?

2008 Annual Meeting Recap

May 12, 2008

Well I tried to start a recap of our 39th Annual Meeting the night after the meeting but all I could think about was the big Dan River Mills Long Mill Fire. So here is the official Annual Meeting recap: There wasn’t much business to discuss this year. So we mainly focused on celebrating a good year last year and looking towards the future. There was a good meal with good company. Randy Johnson of God’s Pit Crew shared from his heart about the great work they do both at home and abroad for people in need. Wade Hopkins once again amazed kids and adults alike with his great magic tricks. The kids also played a life-sized game of Payday. I was really impressed by the kids who played. They made great decisions with their money and didn’t fall for any the bum deals I threw in.

Here’s a short 3 minute video of our 2008 Annual Meeting.

Thanks for being a member of the credit union! Next year’s will be our credit union’s 40th Anniversary. Ideas for a big celebration are welcomed!

How are Credit Unions Different?

January 25, 2008

Here is a little video about how credit unions are different. It’s the simplest explanation I’ve seen that also communicates all the details. It’s done totally by a 19 year old girl in Canada, named Larissa.

Thanks to our friends North of the border at Currency Marketing, a credit union marketing company, and Young & Free Alberta, a website they created, for giving her the resources to put this together.

All the Signs of an Election, & Voting

November 5, 2007

One thing I love about credit unions is that, like our great country, they are democratically run. Once per year everyone is invited to come to our Annual Meeting to cast their votes about major issues facing the CU. I am thankful for one big difference though… CU elections are not marked by an invasion of multi-colored signs which appear at every stoplight and every other lawn in the county. Here is but a single view from the stoplight in Gretna.

Campaign SignsIt’s almost as colorful as the Blue Ridge Parkway! There are 78 signs within 50 yards of this intersection! But this myriad of signs is itself a sign of a flourishing democratic society. Lets hope the candidates are as committed to representing their constituents as they are to getting elected.

Don’t forget to get out and vote tomorrow! It’s your responsibility for being part of a democracy.

Classic Computers and the CU Movement

August 6, 2007

Some people might remember the old computApple 1er used in this ad which appears on It is an Apple 1, the original model sold by Apple Computer. While Apple’s legendary story was before my time, I can still trace back my affinity of technology and computers to my experiences with with an Apple II in elementary and middle school. I wonder if 30 years from now the computers, laptops, PDA’s, and iPhones of today will look as antiquated as this wooden computer? Maybe wood is ready for a comeback? This would really prove the argument that Apple was ahead of it’s time.

Something else that is ready for a comeback or a resurgence is the credit union movement. In the last 10 months 11 local business have begun to offer PCU to their employees. These are all businesses that are too small to support their own credit union. What will the credit union look like in 30 years? That’s up to our members. And that’s the beautiful thing about credit unions. Members(You) can can exercise their ownership and get involved in the operation of the credit union. With everyone contributing in some way or another we can rest assured that our credit union will always stay relevant to our members and meet their needs.

FYI: While visiting Stuart Elementary School this morning what do you suppose that I found gracing the wall the Kindergarden classroom? Three Apple IIe computers and one Apple IIgs! These old computers are still helping to inspire children.

2007 Annual Meeting Recap

May 15, 2007

Click here for a slide show.

Last Thursday, May 10, Piedmont Credit Union hosted its 38th Annual Meeting. Everyone had a good time conducting the usual credit union business and spending time with other credit union members.

Congratulations to Matt Nelson and Mildred Watlington who were re-elected to their volunteer positions on our Board of Directors. Welcome and congratulations to Bill Carter who is a newcomer to our Board of Directors. Mr. Carter formerly served as a volunteer director for Cordan FCU. We welcome his insight and leadership to our board.

Volunteers are so important to our credit union. Everyone at PCU certainly hopes that more and more members will take an active role in the operation & oversight of their credit union. Thank you to all the volunteers who helped make this year’s meeting a huge success. Thanks to Michelle, Eddie, DeAnne, Russ, Reneé, and Ricky, for helping the Money Monkey Super Savers kids club get off the ground. It was alot of fun. Special thanks to our amazing local magician, Wade Hopkins, who was wonderful! His show is great for audiences of all ages.

If you missed the meeting complete with food, fellowship, elections, bingo, a magic show, and its own safari adventure; then please browse through our slide show here. On behalf of all the credit union staff and volunteers, we can’t wait for another prosperous year for our members and our credit union!