Unitus Community Credit Union is Making Positive Impacts on Youth and Elderly in its Community

The credit union kicks off holiday clothing drive for children; receives recognition for superior service to older members.

Lori Fink, Matthew Micentic, Jorjia Fields, receiving award.

Unitus Credit Union’s Lori Fink, Marketing Manager, Matthew Micetic, Director, Unitus Board of Directors, and Jorjia Fields, Unitus Plaza Branch Manager, receive the City of Portland’s inaugural Age-Friendly Business Award last month.

12/4/2018

Unitus Community Credit Union is committed to good business practices that strengthen their membership and the community. With an inclusive focus, their outreach is making an impact on all ages.

This month, the Oregon-based credit union is kicking off its annual Holiday Drive with a new, narrower focus by collecting a certain set of high-need items: new shoes and socks for children.

Unitus is partnering with Gotta Have Sole, a nonprofit organization that donates new footwear to children in homeless shelters around the U.S., to provide new shoes for children living in shelters across Portland. Each child will receive a new pair of boots, sneakers, and socks to help keep their feet comfortable.

“We can’t express how grateful we are for the work Gotta Have Sole does to help underserved youth in their communities, and how excited we are to share that work with our communities here at home,” said Unitus Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Laurie Kresl.

Unitus will also partner with the World Council of Credit Unions to collect donations for the Busia Compassionate Centre in western Kenya, where more than one million children have lost one or both parents due to the AIDS epidemic. Funds collected will support the orphanage and provide essentials such as clothing and food, and support ongoing needs such as facilities maintenance and mosquito netting.

Members and the public can drop off donations at Holiday Drive collection bins available at all Unitus branches throughout December. To support Busia Compassionate Centre, visit www.doglobalgood.org/busia or stop by any Unitus branch.

The credit union isn’t only focusing on youth. It is also committed to better serving its older members. That commitment was recognized recently when the City of Portland awarded Unitus with the inaugural Age-Friendly Business Award.

The credit union was nominated for the award after an employee was observed assisting an elderly man at a local branch, showing personal interest and keeping him company longer than usual. According to Kresl, the elderly man was left in tears, describing how rare it was that he felt so thoroughly seen, heard, and respected.

The employee serving the elderly man was a Unitus Member Advocate, a role the credit union introduced in 2015 to improve the service experience for members.

“When a member has trouble grasping something, or needs more explanation, our Member Advocates will take as much time as needed to guide that member through to their desired outcome,” said Kresl. “Adults over age 55 make up the largest growing demographic in our region – they are a vital part of our community.”

Unitus also received the award for a variety of elder-friendly policies: Accommodation for older adults is built into the branches and reinforced in daily operations throughout the credit union; employees must successfully complete annual training to detect elderly financial abuse and learn how to prevent it from occurring; and high-contrast designs in marketing materials ensure older audiences and the vision-impaired can easily see and interpret credit union materials.

“Connecting people and building an inclusive community are at the heart of our work every day,” said Unitus Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer, Jason Werts. “It’s right there in our name, ‘Unitus.’”

Unitus plans additional training at all branch locations to learn more about city and county resources available to spot and prevent elder abuse beginning in 2019.