Why CU Vendors Deserve A Little Loving Sometimes

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I dedicate this article to all the vendors that choose to focus on credit unions.

Like cheerleaders in the stands, they come to our events. They never miss chapter meetings or an opportunity to show their support of the causes we care about. They’ve erased words like “customer” and “bank” from their vocabularies and faithfully help us blow up balloons at our grand openings. They take us out to dinner, remember our kids’ names and occasionally send us goodies that sometimes we share. While these are all prerequisites to calling on credit unions, that’s just the start of the glue that binds.

We CU people wear a myriad of hats, generally work on a skeleton crew that, in turn, forces us to rely heavily on vendors. Over time cold-calling strangers become dear friends we can’t live without. I’ve worked with quite a few vendors over the years who have come and gone. Some have gone out of business, some merged, some I sadly divorced, and some quickly became an extension of my credit union. I believe there is something very special and unique about vendors that choose to focus on credit unions and do it well. They understand the deep relationship we have with our members and embrace that as part of their culture too. They follow the “exceptional service” mantra CU’s are widely known for and, in turn, get adopted into the landscape that is CU Land.

So, here’s to the vendor who bent over backwards the night before my annual meeting to save gifts from a flooded room. Here’s to the vendor who took it on the chin so I’d save face with my boss. Here’s to the vendor who gave me a pep talk so I wouldn’t quit. Here’s to the vendor that calls just to make me laugh when I have a bad day. Here’s to the vendor who is always there for me with great advice and an ear to listen. And here’s to CU vendors of all shapes and sizes who do so much to support CU Land. You know who you are.

Kelley Parks is VP of Marketing & Business Development at Call FCU, Richmond, Va., and can be reached at kparks@callfcu.org.

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