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Boom: New Technology, New Reach

Mobile remittances, referred to as the "next generation" of electronic payments via the mobile channel, have various benefits. For example, many people in rural areas do not have access to traditional financial services, but do own cell phones. Therefore, the latter part is absolutely ideal for mobile-banking outreach. So, World Council of Credit Unions "provided software and technical assistance to the Le Levier Federation of credit unions to launch 'Boom'--a mobile banking product. It is the first mobile product in Haiti to connect user transactions to credit union current accounts rather than use stored cellphone value. Offered by more than 60 credit union locations nationwide, Boom offers Haitians the ability to register, deposit and transfer funds to registered and unregistered users for free and to make low-cost cash withdrawals within seconds via their cellphones," (July 2013 news release). The following is a true story about Boom, and an invaluable example of the kind of personalization and close ties that credit unions have with their members.

One day at a Haitian credit union, a staff member named *Anne received a call that the internet was down at a neighboring credit union in Port-au-Prince-and they needed to perform a payout for a customer. Anne and *John, a World Council staff member, made a detour to resolve the problem. They arrived at the credit union, and John offered his personal laptop and satellite internet connection to perform the transaction. After a few failed attempts, they were unable to process the transaction. They then inquired with the customer and learned that he had received a text message about a company called "Boom."

Anne and John asked the customer if he had called Boom's customer service line to resolve the issue. He replied that he hadn't called because his phone had just ran out of minutes. John then happily introduced himself as a Boom representative informing the customer about the company and how mobile remittances work. The customer was pleasantly surprised, appreciative, and decided to register on the very same laptop. After the first few steps, the member's phone died before he was able to finish. Once again, John gave him his own phone to complete the registration process.

The member's withdrawal was finally completed. To finish the process, Anne and John took a screen shot of the member's receipt, saved it to a thumb drive, and transferred the data to the customer's account to print later for his own records. Before leaving, the customer turned to both of them and said, "Wait...it's as if you came just for me, right? I have been waiting here for 2 hours waiting for the internet to work to get my money, and then you show up from Boom!" Anne thanked him for his patience and made sure he felt settled with everything. He then went on to say, "I'm so excited to try this new service." The man was also happy to hear that he was now a member of the credit union. He explained that he had always thought about joining a credit union, but was hesitant and unsure. Now, he felt eager, comfortable, and excited to take advantage of the opportunity given to him through Boom. This was a genuine highlight for John to witness how the customer felt Boom made a personal visit, just for him.

So how does this short story relate to Global Women's Leadership Network? First, this is an undeniable example of a committed member-first attitude from a credit union leader. Moreover, take a look at what John wrote about how the General Manager inspired him as well as others:

"The General Manager, *Mary, of this credit union was and is an incredible natural female leader. In addition to being the General Manger, she sells Mary Kay and welcomes many of her members with a smile and a hug. It is truly ‘relationship banking' as we so often hear in the U.S. You immediately sense that certain intangible kindness and warmth in her when you meet her.

The reason all of this matters is because Mary is always the first to try new technological things and does so out of implicit trust in her credit union league because they have a long-standing relationship which has established that trust. It isn't about pricing negotiations, blaming others when things go wrong, or making sure she's in control--as some male leaders are prone to do--it's about trying new things and taking risks because she wants to improve her members' lives. There are bigger, more sophisticated credit unions in the federation--but if you want to try something new you go first to this credit union and talk with Mary." 

Sarah Timmins

Social Media Intern

World Council of Credit Unions

 

*=Names of people and institutions have been changed to maintain privacy.

Sources:

"Haiti: World Council to Explore Mobile Utility Payment Solutions for Sustainable Electricity Program." World Council of Credit Unions. World Council, 11 July 2013. Click here for the full news release.

Wolf, Saul. Manager of Remittance Services, World Council of Credit Unions.

Tags
Community Outreach, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Member Service, Technology

Don’t Be Afraid to Be Assertive

The cover letter on a Government Accountability Office report to the Congressional Joint Economic Committee states that women comprise nearly half of the workforce at 47% as of July 2010. While the number of women earning college degrees has tripled between 1970 and 2008, the letter read, they are less well represented among management. The GAO cited the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission data, which found that female officials and managers in the private sector increased from just over 29% in 1990 to 36.4% in 2002. Women must do their own legwork to raise our collective stature beyond the height of our pumps in 2013.

Between 2000 and 2007, male to female ratios in management was flat across 13 sectors, the GAO found. In 2007 women accounted for 40% of managers and 49% of nonmanagers, while figures from 2000 indicate women represented 39% of managers and 49% of nonmanagers.

The GAO also found that female managers in 2007 had less education, were younger on average, were more likely to work part-time, and were less likely to be married or have children, than male managers. A lot of these factors are very personal choices and they all can be for very noble reasons. It’s nothing anyone else can decide for you. You’re welcome to the sisterhood if and when you’re ready.

But when your personal journey leads you toward career aspirations, do it right. When a job a level up becomes available, go for it. No one else is going to do it for you. Don’t just hope to get recognized. Management wants someone who can demonstrate they’re a leader and can assert themselves. Gather advice from mentors and colleagues, pull up your big-girl pants and go for it.

Not only are women underrepresented in management, but pay differences also continue to tug at our skirt hemlines. On average, married female managers earned the majority of household wages, but her share was smaller than the average male married manager; this statistic held steady between 2000 and 2007, according to the GAO. The pay gap did narrowed slightly between 2000 and 2007. After taking into account factors such as education level, the GAO estimated that female managers earn 81 cents to men’s dollar in 2007. This was up from 79 cents in 2000, and varied depending upon the sector.

The authors of A Woman’s Guide to Successful Negotiating recommend asserting yourself in salary negotiations from the start. A study of Carnegie Mellon University graduates discovered that male students were eight times more likely to negotiate for a larger starting salary than female students. The authors stated that was, in part, due to women’s poor negotiation skills or foregoing it entirely. They cite the experience of Maria Dorner, CEO of NewsMD Communications when early in her career, she took her mother’s advice: “You need them more than they need you.” She quickly learned this was the wrong strategy for valuing her work. She asked for double and got it only to learn that a male counterpart had just asked for and received triple. That might be a bit of an extreme example, but the idea is 1) know what you’re worth in the market that you’re in; and 2) be sure to assert yourself to achieve a fair goal. You are worth it—to yourself and your employer.

By Sarah Snell Cooke, publisher/editor-in-chief, Credit Union Times

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, CU Boards / Volunteers, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Impact of Women in Society, Member Discussions, Networking

Women membership campaign

In my Savings and Cedit Cooperative, majority of the members are men. Therefore, we thought of ways of encouraging more women to join the SACCO. We came across a "bring a female member campaign" within the same company member and get a reward of cash paid to anyone who can bring at least ten female members who can contribute about 30 US Dollars collectively. This also extend to male members as well, but our priority is female members. We want to increase our female membership from 30% to 50% of total membership we have currently.
Tags
Community Outreach

Join our Linkedin group!

The Network is happy to announce that we now have a group profile on LinkedIn. You can search for us under "Global Women's Leadership Network (World Council of Credit Unions)" or click here to see our page. Please join the group and feel free to start discussions on our wall. We also invite you to share the group with other women leaders in the credit union industry. Non-members are welcome!

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, CU Boards / Volunteers, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Events, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Financial/Risk Management, Growing CU Market Share, Impact of Women in Society, Internal Operations, Marketing, Member Discussions, Member Service, Networking, Program Updates, Regulatory Issues, Technology

Teach Your Colleagues Well

As demographics and history progress, more female executives are growing into leadership roles Credit Union Times wanted to highlight them in various states of their career paths. In 2011, we launched our Women to Watch program to shine a spotlight on women who are making a difference in the credit union community and serve as role models for others. With that rise comes great responsibility. Up and coming female professionals need mentors and let’s face it: sometimes it’s easier for us (and often men, too) to ask questions and seek guidance from women. Women tend to be more attentive to others’ needs and better listeners. (My husband refuses to toss his cruddy old t-shirt that reads: She says I don’t listen, or something like that.) Whether it’s instinctual or a simply upbringing, it’s true. With 66% of women 18-34 rating career high on their list of priorities compared to men of the same age group at 59%, female mentors are becoming a hot commodity.Credit Union Times recently featured women professionals of the credit union support system at CUTimes.com/W2W and in our Oct. 3 issue. These women, including the Global Women’s Leadership Network’s Sue Mitchell, CEO of Mitchell, Stankovic & Associates, are professionals to be admired and respected for a whole slew of reasons. When you read their personal philosophies, you see things like:

  • Be honest.
  • Be flexible.
  • Be the person you look up to.
  • Seek opportunities.
  • Be curious and creative.
  • Make a difference.
  • Do what’s right.

Demonstrating leadership isn’t rocket science and it’s not a women or men’s issue. These are human issues. But mentors can serve the important role of keeping others on track, steering them from burning a bridge in a temporary fit of anger, and guiding them through the gray areas.Not all women or men want to be in the corner office. Some prefer to be the best they can be at whatever their area of interest is. That’s great! It takes everyone working together—men and women, CFOs, IT and marketing directors, volunteers and professionals—and respecting and using everyone to their strengths while acknowledging our own weaknesses to operate a successful organization. Mentors can help bring that out in you execs.

Willingness to cooperate and collaborate and getting others to work together harmoniously is a great strength of women in general and perhaps why they’ve been more successful in the credit union community than other industries.

 

By Sarah Snell Cooke
Publisher/Editor-in-Chief
Credit Union Times

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, CU Boards / Volunteers, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Impact of Women in Society, Internal Operations, Member Discussions, Networking

Thoughts on the Mobile Revolution

In the article, Designing for Women: The Mobile Challenge (http://blog.usaid.gov/2012/09/building-a-better-user-experience-the-mobile-chapter/#.UGYAg65SAvg.email), Christopher Burns, economic growth and agricultural development advisor of USAID, said  “Mobile phones are a real game changer when it comes to tackling global challenges around the world but if the design does not change, hundreds of millions of women risk being left out in this next mobile revolution. That is a risk we cannot afford to take.”

Burns conducted research in Egypt, India, Papua New Guinea and Uganda, that shows on average resource-poor women are 22% less likely to want a mobile phone because they don’t know how to use it.

Do your credit union members know how to access their financial information through their mobile phones? How can we, as credit unions, make sure no one is left behind in the mobile revolution?

Maybe we can use this research and work with members and offer a basic tutorial on how to access their accounts and other key phone functions. Perhaps tellers could help members on a case-by-case basis or classes could be offered on occasion?

As financial cooperatives we have the ability to shine while helping our members understand new technologies. Has anyone done outreach on how to make members more comfortable with technology? We’d love to hear your ideas!
Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, CU Boards / Volunteers, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Impact of Women in Society, Marketing, Member Service, Networking, Member Discussions, Technology

Olivia Wilde Talks about Microfinance

I had the chance to watch the Daily Show with Jon Stewart recently, and the episode featured an interview with actress Olivia Wilde.  Although she was there to promote her new movie, she also talked about her recent trip to Kenya, which was inspired by the book Half the Sky by Nicholas D. Kristof and Sheryl WuDunn.  While in Kenya she saw the work of microfinance organizations and women's groups that are fostering self-sustainability. You may recall that our Network Chair, Sue Mitchell, has referenced and recommended the book to us a few times over the last year or so.  The book does intrigue me, and I thought you might want to check out the video clip of her interview as well.  Here you go... http://www.thedailyshow.com/watch/wed-september-26-2012/olivia-wilde.
Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Impact of Women in Society, Networking, Member Discussions

Making Cracks in the Glass Ceiling

The term glass ceiling was coined in the 1980s to illustrate women’s struggle to be seen as equals in senior executive positions. While that metaphor holds true today, fissures are appearing where they hadn’t been before. I’m confident that will continue as women climb the corporate ladder and expand their numbers in the marketplace. A 2007 study in the Journal of Organizational Structure, Communications and Conflict found that it certainly exists. The survey was conducted in 2003 and found three women sitting in the corner offices at Fortune 100 companies. This was up proportionally from just two in the Fortune 500 in 1996. Women comprise more than half of the population yet we occupy a meager 3% of the top spots and the most successful companies. Similarly, non-CEO female executives at the Fortune 100 accounted for 5.8% of executives in 2003, up from 2.6% of female officers at the Fortune 500 companies in 1997.However, an area where women (and the men, generally, who hire them) have made remarkable strides is compensation. Several studies have found, particularly at the upper echelons of the pay scale, the differences are nonexistent when it comes to compensation packages. For 2001-2003, according to the Journal article, female non-CEO execs earned a bit more in the median than their male counterparts with the mean reversing slightly. With a sample size of only three female CEOs, a statistical conclusion could not be reached for that set.The study concluded that the glass ceiling is certainly not shattered but a dramatic shift will occur over the next several years as women earn college degrees at twice the rate of men, and because the economy is no longer manufacturing based, which favored men.The glass ceiling is certainly still there but the more of us who chisel away at it the more quickly it will shatter completely. Or should I use a more appropriately feminine term than shatter? No, we need to annihilate it. Obliterate it!To be fair, until recent history, women have made other choices in life that conflicted with or interrupted their careers, such as education level, stereotypical gender roles and family. Even as you look up the corporate ladder, you’ll see most women are in stereotypical female roles, such as HR or marketing. And there’s absolutely nothing wrong with those jobs; they’re great! But they tend not to lead to CEO positions, and that’s fine too. Do what you love and you’ll get what you define as your top spot every time.

If a big office is what you crave, it’s nice to know that with confident negotiation your contributions could be valued every bit as much as a man’s.

Sarah Snell Cook, Editor & Chief, Credit Union Times 

By Sarah Snell Cooke

Publisher/Editor-in-Chief

Credit Union Times

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, CU Boards / Volunteers, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Events, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Financial/Risk Management, Growing CU Market Share, Impact of Women in Society, Internal Operations, Marketing, Member Service, Networking, Member Discussions, Program Updates, Regulatory Issues, Technology

Diversity

The National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) lacks diversity among its employees. In an article by Credit Union Times journalist Heather Anderson, NCUA’s Office of Minority and Women Inclusion points out that minorities only represent a small percentage of credit union employees; a percentage that is even smaller when it comes to high-er  level positions. Although women make up 46% of their employees, only one fourth of NCUA’s senior pay level positions are held by women.  Within the U.S. credit union industry, women comprise almost half of senior positions but minorities make up only 11%. To face this challenge, NCUA recommends (among other suggestions) that credit unions include diversity goals in their strategic plans.

What strategies do you suggest to promote the inclusion of minorities and women?

To read full article please click here
To read the report released by the NCUA’s Office of Minorities and Women Inclusion please click here

Don’t forget to take a look at our new Spring Newsletter!

Tags
Challenges Facing Women in Leadership Positions, Community Outreach, Facilitating Greater Access to CUs Worldwide, Impact of Women in Society

Canadian credit unions focus on International Women's Day

The Canadian Co-Operative Association highlighted International Women's Day in their newsletter today.  Take a look at what they're doing locally and around the world with credit union development.

http://campaign.r20.constantcontact.com/render?llr=euuattcab&v=001Kq5KIUlW9l3ObCsDer7nd34hjnu9lIjRfSdAESzgMxAwq_4VO_PO_PUfYwOUk5XVumFs_Jm-1O6lxybyFvsooWQjRBmP_7jmxnsIQoCdbkS-y_BSXknxRD4nQbhNjyuq

 

Tags
Community Outreach, Engaging the Next Generation of CU Members, Events, Impact of Women in Society, Networking, Program Updates
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