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Why Credit Unions Succeed in Building a Nation, One Community at a Time


Growth and innovation are the hallmarks of the credit unions of tomorrow. And strengthening the communities a CU serves lies at the foundation of those coveted traits. Read on to see how one California credit union doubled its membership and earned widespread recognition by embracing such a mission. 

In my role as president and chief executive officer of the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues, I have the opportunity to observe the growth and innovative traits of credit unions throughout the country. A microcosm of this growth and innovation can be seen in California, in particularly at Sacramento, Calif.-based Golden 1 Credit Union.

A credit union’s core mission resides within its ability to strengthen the communities in which it serves – that is to say its capacity to empower members where they live, work and play. Within this arena, credit unions are becoming the choice of consumers for a wide spectrum of financial services – from checking and savings accounts to mortgages, auto loans, consumer loans, retirement account instruments and even safe deposit boxes. CUs are also making gains in enrollments in the latest financial services, such as automatic bill pay and mobile banking.

Since 2000, Golden 1 Credit Union has experienced a doubling in membership to 750,000. President and CEO Donna Bland’s DNA is hardwired to be local, engaged and organizationally optimistic. She stays close to her San Francisco roots by promoting a family-centric environment with the credo “Family is No. 1. We work to live, not live to work.” She emphasizes community engagement as the centerpiece of a strategy that empowers employees and members to be seen as local ambassadors. The goal of this strategy is to create a culture that can change California, one community at a time.

This content is for CU BUSINESS eMagazine + WEB ACESS and THE TEAM BUILDER (GROUP SUBSCRIPTION) members only.
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