Ethical operations are critical to the success of organizations of
all sizes and especially credit unions, according to Dr. Anthony
Emerson, president and CEO of the Credit Union League of Connecticut
(CULCT). Firms that don't operate ethically are soon found out and may
soon find themselves out of business.
"Better to start small than to not start at all," Emerson told
attendees of the Co-operative Credit Union League of Trinidad &
Tobago's (CCULTT) recent leadership conference on the island of
Grenada. "Ethics are a scalable solution that can and should be used by
organizations of all sizes."
Emerson as well as representatives from three Connecticut credit
unions participated in the four-day conference as part of CULCT's role
as CCULTT's partner through World Council of Credit Unions' (WOCCU)
International Partnerships Program. In addition to Trinidad &
Tobago, the conference drew attendees from credit union movements and
government offices in Barbados, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Lucia and St.
Vincent, including Tillman Thomas, prime minister of Grenada.
The April conference came at a crucial time for Caribbean credit
unions. With the global economic crisis casting deepening shadows
across island economies, Caribbean credit unions are finding an
increasing need to develop new strategies and find new tools to tackle
growing economic challenges, Emerson said.
"Caribbean credit unions are watching from afar," Emerson said.
"They have seen an uptick in unemployment and delinquencies as the
result of declining economies. They are looking for new ideas for
Emerson, one of several presenters, spoke at length on ethical
operations, citing familiar examples of unethical behavior by companies
such as AIG, Enron and Madoff Investments. Defining ethical strategic
planning and pointing to the pitfalls of failing to follow through,
Emerson emphasized the board's role in assuring the presence of ethical
credit union practices.
"Leadership starts with and is the responsibility of the board,"
Emerson stressed. CULCT's president also spoke with CCULTT member
Eastern Credit Union about leading board training sessions at a future
Conference presenter Kathy Chartier, president and CEO of Members
Credit Union, Stamford, Conn., led a session on the importance of
engaging the youth market during tough economic times. As part of their
youth educations efforts, CCULTT member credit unions plan to hold
student "reality fairs" in local high schools, offering life education
skills training. Participating students are given fictitious careers
and salaries and then are required to budget for food, housing,
utilities and other expenses. Students will also meet with financial
advisors to learn effective ways to adjust expenses and expectations.
Prior to the conference's start, several Connecticut attendees had
the opportunity to meet with their partner credit unions from Trinidad
& Tobago. Carol Bayreuther, president and CEO of Hartford (Conn.)
Healthcare Credit Union, and representatives from new partner San
Fernando Community Credit Co-operative Union Society Ltd., Tobago, met
face-to-face for the first time. Keith Weimert, president and CEO of
Seasons Federal Credit Union, Middletown, Conn., attended a branch
opening of partner COPOS Credit Union Cooperative Society Ltd., Tobago.
Janet Brooks-Duncan, the island's administrator of enterprises and
business development, also attended the opening.
CULCT and CCULTT have been partnering participants in the WOCCU program since 2001.
To view the full release, click here.