Industry Engagement

PSCU: Leveraging the Credit Union Difference to Advance Our Movement

By: Merry Pateuk, Senior Vice President of Industry Engagement, PSCU

Going back more than four decades, PSCU was established for collaboration and scale on behalf of credit unions and their members. Our commitment to the “people helping people” values of the credit union movement is strengthened by ensuring our PSCU staff understand the history and philosophy of the movement, as well as the current issues impacting credit unions and their members.

We are proudly growing the number of PSCU Credit Union Development Educators (CUDEs) on staff, each who have studied the development issues that affect our communities. Our CUDE graduates emerge thoroughly motivated to see where they can make an impact. PSCU also actively and enthusiastically supports and endorses CUDE projects – it is part of who we are.

Fostering Development Education

Partnering with the National Credit Union Foundation (the Foundation), we developed “The Credit Union Difference: CU Principles & Philosophies” training course for our staff. To date, more than half of PSCU’s 2,200 employees have completed the course.

The CUDE program offered by the Foundation was the genesis of embedding credit union education in our business practices. Two PSCU CUDEs seized the opportunity to help our employees better understand the values of credit unions and more fully appreciate the role credit unions play in improving the financial lives of their members. With the full enthusiastic support of our CEO and executive team, we have implemented critical staff training that has become an integral part of PSCU, reflecting what we value as a CUSO.

In addition to instruction about basic credit union principles, a workshop on “Leveraging the Credit Union Difference” is available to PSCU staff that digs a bit deeper into the role credit unions play in their communities.

Partnering for Change

Following my own immersion experience, I collaborated with another CUDE and brought home a project to promote diversity and inclusion within the credit union industry. It led to the creation of the African-American Credit Union Coalition’s Women’s Power Series, which is sponsored by PSCU and was created to cultivate and connect a network of professionals who champion women’s leadership and ongoing contributions to the evolution of the credit union industry.

The program brings together credit union leaders who tell their stories, share their insights and provide professional skill development and guidance. Topics covered have included accessing your power, gaining self-confidence and courage to get ahead, and how volunteering pays big dividends.

This is just one of the global efforts PSCU sponsors to promote business opportunities for women.

Development education is all about collaboration, and my CUDE experience included traveling to Kenya where I was exposed to how African credit unions serve their members, and I was able to share how credit unions in the U.S. benefit from shared service providers. With the connections made through CUDE, we have been able to leverage PSCU thought leaders in risk management, security and member servicing for the benefit of African credit unions.

One of our early learnings in CUDE training is that for the credit union movement to continue its success, we must balance business and social commitments. How lucky are we to serve in an industry where we can truly feel good about the positive impact we can make.

Merry Pateuk fulfills PSCU’s strategic objective of leveraging the cooperative’s scale to advocate on behalf of the credit union industry. She cultivates relationships between PSCU and local, state and national organizations that support credit unions, and works collaboratively with industry partners to ensure there is alignment on key topics and a cohesive voice to ultimately strengthen credit unions’ position in the market.