For many, the idea of “people helping people” may seem like a long-lost memory, or a fanciful wish in today’s individualistic and achievement-focused society. For residents of Weld County, however, there is at least one small business that takes that mantra to heart in everything they do.
“Our members aren’t just part owners here - they’re more like our family,” shares Kristen Campbell, the Marketing Specialist for Weld Community Credit Union. “People look forward to seeing us out in the community and being a part of our events, and we love having those relationships with them as well.”
Weld Community Credit Union is no stranger to Weld County, having been founded in 1936 by a group of teachers in the Greeley school district who wanted to pool their funds to offer loans to new educators arriving in the area. In 1963, the credit union would move from the schools into the home of Jeri Cranwell, a secretary who had become the bookkeeper for the credit union during her time in the school district.
“We still have members that can picture going into Jeri’s living room to fill out the paperwork for their membership and loans,” Jolene Yates - the Marketing Director at WCCU - remarks. “It’s remarkable to think how much we have grown and how much further we can impact our community now.”
After combining with another local credit union and building a new office to operate out of - Weld Schools Credit Union was named in 1978. Now, the credit union is nearly growing past its current capacity, but is still committed to remaining in the realm of a local small business.
“Once you grow corporate, you lose a lot of intimacy with the community,” Yates admits. “It’s important for us to be involved in the community and within the reach of our people. We don’t want to lose sight of that.”
In addition to functioning as a small business in providing loans and investment opportunities for all Weld County residents, the credit union also places a high value on giving back to the community in a variety of unique ways. Classroom grants through WCCU’s Education Assistance Fund is one of those ways.
“Twice a year we offer an opportunity for anyone in Weld County that works in any capacity with a classroom to fill out an application for a small grant,” Campbell shared excitedly. “It’s a small way we can give back to the community and help support our community’s education. We’ve given back over $153,000 to local education through this program.”
Outside of the credit union, WCCU helps put on Woof Stock - a benefit for the Humane Society; partners with Aims Community College for “Arty’s Dance Party to raise funds for Aim’s food pantry; and have partnered with ZoGo - a financial literacy app that offers free, interactive opportunities for all ages. Even in the office, employees can participate in Jeans for a Cause once a month, which raises support for twelve different local nonprofits a year.
For Weld Community Credit Union, the thought of people helping people isn’t just a wishful idea - it’s a lifestyle that they have committed themselves to in their service of our community.
So how does Weld County Credit Union - a small business that has captivated the community for nearly a century - remain such a valuable part of Weld County? Campbell and Yates provided Lifestyle with this list of ten ways to build a business that a community with love:
Develop a history with the community
Maintain a strong presence within your community
Support other local non-profits
Cultivate a workplace culture and environment where people want to be
Properly care about the small things and the detailed work
Design a brand that fits the community you are reaching
Invest in local small businesses and education
Be real in how you present yourself - on social media or to the community
Make your business approachable and ease people’s intimidation
Create a business that’s a destination - not a check-list item
Weld County Credit Union's Commitment to Community Service and their clients is a big part of what they do. Helping serve the community through different areas, as well as giving back to the community.
“It’s important for us to be involved in the community and within the reach of our people. We don’t want to lose sight of that.” -Jolene Yates