Foote recently wrapped up his first year as Chief Executive Officer and President of Georgia United Credit Union (GUCU). He sat down with Gwinnett Magazine to talk about the past year and what”s ahead for GUCU members.
GM: With your extensive experience in credit unions and your recent promotion as CEO and President of GUCU, what are some of the key lessons you”ve learned?
DBF: Our members always need to come first. They”re the reason we open the door everyday. That”s the difference between credit unions and banks. Those people who step into the credit union every day, they are owners. We never forget about them. Our employees are also a big part of what we do. They are responsible for serving our members each and every day. They take care of them, day in and day out.
GM: What”s this first year been like?
DBF: It”s been a great year. I”ve just been getting used to the new responsibilities, adjusting to new roles.
GM: What have been some of the big highlights of your first year?
DBF: We”ve seen a bigger focus on communities and honing in on the communities we serve. We”re trying to really give back in a big way, both financially and with the physical work we do.
GM: What”s in the near future for Georgia United Credit Union? How do the next several years look?
DBF: They look great. One of the things we really need to focus on is tapping into a younger market. All credit unions are looking at this, and we are certainly looking at this too. There”s a gap in gaining business from the younger market, and we need that market. We”re focusing on them more in the coming years. This year, we formed a student advisory board, a group of college students that came to our board meetings and offered their input on new products, new marketing material and other aspects. It”s helped us to get that younger perspective. We”ve also held focus groups with the younger market to pick their brains and see what comes into play and how they make their financial decisions.
GM: What are some of the keys to keeping this credit union successful in the coming years?
DBF: Never forgetting what we were founded for: and that”s people helping people. It means people who felt they weren”t served by traditional banking channels, people who felt left out by traditional banks. We need to continue to serve those folks. And that”s what we”ll do.
GM: From your perspective, what are some of the benefits of being a member of GUCU?
DBF: There are a lot of benefits we provide. The whole point of a credit union is that we”re not for profit. We offer reduced fees on accounts, lower loan rates…we offer every service you can get at a traditional bank. We have swift deposit…where you snap a picture of your check. We offer business loans and all those other services at a more competitive standpoint than a bank. Banks are for profit and they are out to return a profit to their stockholders. Credit unions are owned by people who use them, and we give those profits back to those who use our services.
By being a member, you own us. Our board of directors is comprised of volunteers. They do it out of the goodness of their hearts. They are actually members, and they volunteer their time to help govern it. When you”re governed by those who own you it”s hard to go wrong.
Georgia United is a not-for-profit financial cooperative that serves over 100,000 member-owners across the state of Georgia and beyond.
The Gwinnett Branch is located at 2270 Satellite Boulevard, Duluth.
For more information, call 770-497-8463, or visit georgiaunitedcu.org.