Another fall, another
turned page..." Wallace Stegner
It is the
time of year when the air turns as crisp as the apples, and while the leaves
color our world with sun-warmed hues, we say goodbye to the languid sunsets of
summer and ready ourselves for a new season.
The word that
comes to mind is resilience. It's a good word, defined as the capacity of an
institution to withstand or recover quickly from difficulties. During this time
of year, it is that definition that makes me think of our credit union;
especially in light of the promise of challenging financial conditions back in
Reserve tried to slow the economy with interest rate increases, which slackened
demand and thus yielded tight financial conditions. However, the labor market
remains strong, as does consumer spending. Despite economic shocks in the past
two years, overall business conditions remained solid, and Northwest is well
positioned to withstand challenging financial environments.
resilience, not recession, that is our takeaway here.
there have been challenges – from tragedies to pandemics – we as people,
individually and collectively, took flight against the wind and rallied. These
tragedies bond us in a way that creates resilience and begets success. I have
seen friends, family, and co-workers go through horrific personal events –
situations I didn't think they would get through – but they did. They possessed
an innate resilience that kept them going in the hard times.
As a nation, we averted a banking crisis, and
even though bank capital positions are generally strong, the sharp increase in
interest rates since early 2022 has reduced the market value of banks' security
holdings, reducing lending and tightening credit standards. Here is where being
part of a credit union is beneficial. We are also federally insured (by the
National Credit Union Administration (NCUA)), but Northwest has a much higher
percentage of insured deposits than most banks. Therefore, we are safer than banks
in a collapse because we take fewer risks, serving individuals and small
businesses rather than large investors.
We have been resilient as an organization as well, navigating challenges on the business landscape and aligning initiatives with existing and emerging member needs. Still, we are not ones to rest on our laurels, so we are constantly surveying and reviewing our employee and member happiness. Providing fantastic member service circles back to our employees and their engagement with members, so we work just as hard to ensure that every Northwest employee feels as valued and respected as our members.
We believe any hardship – personal or professional – deserves our help and guidance. We believe people are resilient, and where there is a will, there is a way. Just like helping family and friends through difficult times, we do the same for our members and employees, not just because we can, but because it's the right thing to do.