Volunteers Willingness To Put In Time Helps Ensure Future

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Rolla Federal Credit Union's volunteers are willing to do most anything-work at weekend business expos, attend evening and Saturday planning meetings, take personal time to attend educational seminars, even wrap 1,000 hot dogs for an open house.

RFCU President Janet S. Craig says they are strong, dependable and dedicated.

"Our board recognizes the decisions we make now will lay the groundwork to ensure the future of our credit union."

Of course, paid employees do their share as well, she said. Because of the CU's small size-$22 million-there are no tellers. There are however, tellers/title clerks/new accounts person/product advisors, for starters.

Employees Must Multi-Task

"Employees have to multi-task when you are this size," she said, adding that no one seems to mind. "Our employees truly own their jobs, having a vested interest and pride in what they do since they have more responsibility and experience and less monotony."

They all work to maintain that high-touch feeling despite the challenges of automation that include the impersonal business environment it creates. "We have the privilege and accessibility to actually do a home visit when a member is ill and needs to sign paperwork," Craig said. "We also enjoy having members who are fourth generation since great- great grandpa was a founding member."

The credit union is located in Rolla, Mo., a town of 17,000 people, at the base of the Ozarks. It was formed in 1959 to serve federal employees, and expanded to a community charter in December 2000.

Craig, a 20-year veteran of the CU community, said she feels very fortunate to say, "I like my job."

With the assistance of trade organizations, she said, her CU has not only been able to survive, but thrive in an increasingly more competitive environment.

Confident In Future, But...

"I believe small credit unions can survive," she said. "However, smaller credit unions need to be willing to see support from all the resources and help available to them."

In addition to a "strong" state league, she said that CUNA has created an Internet link dedicated to the concerns of small CUs and subjects that interest them. "As in any industry, denying or ignoring the existence of competitors will not ensure our survival."

For anyone considering a job in the financial business, she said, credit unions are a great place to learn. She added that those who do choose to enter credit unions shouldn't be surprised if once they start, they never leave.

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