Give Them Credit

Posted on April 29, 2014 under Storytelling with no comments yet


Bergengren Credit Union



By and large, women are running the economy.   By and large, men are ruining the economy.  The good news in Canada is that many of our governments and businesses are led by women.  They are trying desperately to mop up some big messes.  A new broom sweeps clean.

I made a trip to my local credit union the other day.  My mission was quite simple; to empty the contents of our safety deposit box and shut it down permanently.  We hadn’t used it in eons and thought that it was time to pass in our keys.   It had been so long since we visited it, in fact, that we weren’t quite sure what was in it any more.  “Did you find anything valuable?” queried my wife.  “Lint” was my reply.

I must admit my bias towards credit unions, as my father was the long-time manager of our local institution.  Even though it usually isn’t necessary to visit the teller most of the time, with ATM’s and on-line banking at our fingertips, I still find myself being drawn to the wicket and will even patiently stand in line on ”cheque day”.   This is when senior citizens receive their Canada Pension Plan and Old Age Security cheques.   I now have a legitimate right to be in this lineup.

In a world that is becoming increasingly cold and impersonal when it comes to business, credit unions have somehow managed to retain the personal touch.  This, of course, is born out of the roots of the cooperative movement which, sadly, has seen better days.  Our local co-op grocery store fell victim to the times not too long ago.

On a busy day you pick up a lot of news while standing in the lineup at the credit union.  When it is quiet, you can engage the teller, who feels almost like next of kin.  Once the topic of the weather has been covered, the conversation usually moves to family and community.  And even though the credit union has grown and competes with all of the major banks, there is still a feel to the place that makes it different.

All businesses should have an information desk.  As a male consumer and a non-shopper, there is nothing more disconcerting than entering a store and being unable to find someone to give you directions.  It’s almost like I have a sign on my back which says “please ignore”.  The women who staff the information desk at the credit union are like air traffic controllers, carefully guiding young and old (increasingly the latter) to their final destination.  And when you need a few minutes to rest, they have a comfortable chair and the morning newspaper.

I still collect loonies and toonies in a small steel container.  Every few months I roll the coins and carry them down to the credit union.  It gives me an excuse to chat with the women who run the place.  Let me make it perfectly clear that women are the backbone of all financial institutions, not just the credit union.  Let’s give them credit where credit is due.



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