A Blast From The Past That Can Help Cement Our Future

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Jan. 1, 1950, Akron, Ohio

An [imaginary} memo to all employees of Rubber Co.

I am inviting you to become a member of our new credit union, Rubber Company FCU. The credit union is for our employees and the members of your family. A credit union is like a bank, except where a bank is owned by its shareholders, a credit union is owned by its members, in other words it's owned by you.

All are welcome, men and women, people of any faith and color. I realize that some of you may have had different experiences with banks, but I want to state that the credit union is for everyone.

We have a board of directors whose responsibility is to ensure that your money is safe and provide a competitive rate of return. The directors are employees of the Rubber Company and have different qualities that enable them to perform their duties.

Some are older, having lived through the Great Depression and therefore are aware of the unnecessary risks the banks and Wall Street took during those times. And we have younger directors, men who fought in Europe and Asia for our freedoms and women who worked in factories that supplied the munitions for the troops overseas. Some directors have college degrees and others have life and work experiences that benefit the credit union.

The purpose of our CU is to build a relationship among the employees that will enable you to save money to buy a house or a car or for your kids to go to college. To do that we must gain your trust. We must treat you fairly and with respect, and we must listen to you and understand your needs. It's important that we communicate what our purpose is and how we are serving you.

The Rubber Company supports our credit union and sees the importance of workers having a safe and sound place for their money. It knows that workers whose finances are well taken care of will be happier and more productive on their job.

If you remember a little over 30 years ago Henry Ford paid his workers an unheard-of-wage for those times of $5 a day. He thought that what was good for his workers was also smart for business. This is an extension of that same philosophy.

If we look back on the last 50 years, there have been a lot of changes. We now have electricity in all our homes, refrigerators and inside bathrooms. While the world has changed so much in the last 50 years can you even imagine what the next 50 will look like? While we can't predict the future we at the credit union are determined to control what and how we serve our members. We are aware of the history of banks and Wall Street and their failures and how many Americans lost everything they worked for during the Great Depression.

We are aware that banks got too focused on making too much money too fast. When some of us got together to form the credit union, we talked about what's important and realized it was necessary to have both sound financial management and an awareness of how we treat our members and employees. Because we realized that if we didn't take care of your money while treating you with respect, we might as just well become a bank.

I want to challenge you to become a member. I don't want you to blindly believe in us. I want you to challenge us to form a relationship; I want you to challenge us to gain your trust. If we take our eye off the ball and fail in providing you the service every American deserves, we have failed you.

Whether it is the heydays of the 1920s or the failures of the 30s, if we haven't learned anything from history then you shouldn't trust in us. So why would you take your money out of a bank and bring it to our credit union? Earl Willis, a manager for General Electric said this: "The employee who can plan his financial future with reasonable certainty is an employer's most productive asset." We think our credit union is good for you, for the Rubber Company and good for your family.

Ron Schmidt, CPA, is with CBS Certified Public Accountants LLC in Solon, Ohio. He can be reached at 440-542-1536 ext. 28, or RSchmidt@cbscpasllc.com.

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