Genes Note: One Small Step

The first of the year is a great time to reflect on the good of 2019 and the possibilities of 2020. 2019 was a great year for your credit union, and we are so humbled by the faithful loyalty of our members. At the heart of being a not-for-profit financial institution, we aim to provide mutually beneficial relationships with you, our loyal member-owners, and offer meaningful Rewards for your active participation. I am so excited about some of the Rogue Reward programs that Rogue will continue to offer into 2020 and the meaningful difference that they can make in our members’ lives.  

I am always trying to find ways to encourage our members to save. The Federal Credit Union Act was enacted in 1934, with the purpose of credit unions defined as, “promoting thrift among its members and creating a source of credit for provident and productive purposes.” That purpose still rings true today and the beginning of the year is a great time to discuss thrift, which is defined as, “using money and other resources carefully and not wastefully.”

As I think of some of the Benefits of Ownership that come with being a member-owner of Rogue, I consider our Ownership Account and all that it means to our members. The Ownership Account is a manifestation of your participation with YOUR Credit Union. It serves as a collection point for many of the Rogue Reward programs that are available to our members and as a way to be rewarded for your loyalty. One of the many “small steps” available to members to encourage saving and thriftiness is through our Save the Change™ program. With Save the Change™, you simply sign-up, and each time you use your Rogue debit card, we’ll round up the change to the nearest dollar and deposit that amount daily into your high-yield Ownership Account. While the amount rounded is less than a dollar for each transaction, it still adds up quickly! What is even more important is the powerful impact that taking this “One Small Step” can have. 

I am fortunate that I have the opportunity to hear member stories about how they use our products and services. I have two favorite Save the Change™ stories that are perfect examples of how taking “Small Steps” can create a BIG impact. This first story was reported to me by our team members here are Rogue, and how on three separate occasions, when they presented their Rogue Debit Card to the same fuel station attendant, he posed the same question to all three team members - “Do you want me to round up to 1 cent over so you can get 99 cents into your Ownership Account at Rogue?” While it was great that he was promoting this member benefit for us, what was even more powerful was what he shared next.  He told our team members that he had never saved money before, but he now had $70 in his Ownership Account and he was earning interest on those funds! You simply can’t buy that kind of testimonial and, this little incentive kick-started a savings habit for this promoter of Rogue Credit Union.

My next story comes from a visit to a local company during an award ceremony. As I was visiting with their staff members, one of their staff members introduced me to his son. He told me his son was a member of the credit union, and I followed up by asking his son if the credit union was treating him well. He said that he loved Rogue and that he really liked the Save the Change™ program. He was planning to go on a special trip with his school and he had already saved $55 in his Ownership Account. I thought to myself that he must be a senior in high school because of his mature thinking about planning and saving. So, I asked what year in high school he was, and he told me he was only a Sophomore! I sure wish I would have been as smart as he is about money when I was a Sophomore.

I’m not sure if any of our team members that put together our Save the Change™ program could have imagined the powerful impact that this simple program, which encourages non-savers to save, as well as provides a valuable learning opportunity for first time savers, was going to have. According to the Federal Reserve’s 2018 report on the economic well-being of U.S. Households, 40% of American adults would not be able to cover a $400 emergency with cash, savings or a credit card they could quickly pay off. That is why the Ownership Account and the various Rogue Rewards programs that promote thrift are more important than ever. These two stories show that by taking “One Small Step” to save a few cents here and there can add up to real money that can make a meaningful difference in someone’s life.

I am fortunate to be able to lead a credit union that was founded by teachers with the knowledge that together we are better. Our Board and team members are committed to the ideals of teaching the value of saving and supporting the programs that help to promote thrift with our members!

As always, please share what “Small Steps” you are taking to save for your future.