If you love the classic movie “It’s a Wonderful Life” and Jimmy Stewart as George Baily, then you also understand the impact of credit unions on people and communities. A few days ago I spoke to the Indiana Credit Union League Volunteers Conference and I shared that everyone who works or volunteers for a credit union is a “George Bailey.” Every time they assist someone purchase a new home, finance a small business or new car, or help fund a well-deserved vacation, they are sharing their fire with others and helping them create a better life and future.
I feel a special connection to the credit union movement because my father was a volunteer for Teachers Credit Union in South Bend, Indiana in the early days of its existence. I became a member of that credit union at the age of 10 and continued as a member for another 35 years until I moved to California. Now that I am back in Indiana and am the Director of Nonprofit Executive Programs at the University of Notre Dame, I am a member of the Notre Dame Federal Credit Union. The customer service factor alone makes being a member a joy!
I love speaking at credit union meetings and conferences because their mission is totally in line with the Sharing Fire mission to empower others. Credit unions serve their members and help them elevate their lives to a higher standard. Credit union employees and volunteers have positive impacts on the lives of others that ripple out into the community and create a better future for all. My parents borrowed money for their first house from the credit union. The building for my father’s new barber shop in Granger, Indiana, was financed by the credit union. My first car loan was through the credit union. So at important points in our lives the credit union was there to share their fire with us and help us create a better life and future. They truly did help us have a “Wonderful Life!”
Marc Hardy, Ph.D.
Sharing Fire Office: 941-204-4959