As I write this message to members each month I try to convey information that helps folks understand the inner workings of the Wright-Patt cooperative. By doing so, I hope to provide a greater level of transparency than you might find at any other financial institution, further building the trust between WPCU, its members, and its employees.
Our belief is simple. We think as member-owners of this cooperative you have a right to know how your money is being managed. This includes disclosing our financial performance, discussing major priorities, and keeping you informed about other initiatives designed to make WPCU more valuable for you.
Here are just a few of the ways we create transparency for members:
- Each month management posts current financial statements (unaudited) in every WPCU member center.
- Annually, management engages an independent audit firm to audit WPCU’s financial statements. Audit results are summarized in WPCU’s annual report, which is made available to every member, and members may request a copy of the full audit report at any time.
- Members may ask questions of their credit union via the “Contact Us” section of the website. In addition, I provide my direct email address in every column I write to the membership.
- I write this column. (One of the most frequent questions I get is if it is really me who writes this … and yes, it is.)
Keeping members up-to-date is just part of the transparency plan. We also work hard to keep our employees informed, especially as our performance relates to their jobs and their futures. For employees:
- WPCU’s strategic plan, once approved by the Board, is made available to every employee.
- I write a monthly performance email update and send it to all staff. I usually include comments about our financial performance and provide updates on initiatives we’re working on, hoping to relate decisions we make to how employees do their jobs.
- Each quarter we hold a meeting of all WPCU managers to provide a more detailed update on credit union performance and provide plenty of time to answer questions.
- Also on a quarterly basis, we hold a company-wide internal webinar for employees. During these webinars, I provide substantially the same update as that given to managers and invite questions and comments from any employee.
We find that a commitment to transparency helps us build a different kind of value stakeholders can expect from the Wright-Patt cooperative. Of course, sometimes folks may reasonably disagree with some action we’ve taken or strategies we’ve followed, but even then the basis of trust we try to build generally results in an air of understanding and communication. I like that.
I hope that by knowing a little more about our practice towards making operations transparent that we further differentiate Wright-Patt from other financial service providers. But then again, our mission of serving people, not investors, makes it easier – and more important – for us to let everyone know what we’re up to. Indeed, the folks have a right to know.
In the end, transparency really isn’t a choice we make, but a value we hold. Wright-Patt Credit Union is not “my” credit union, nor is it the Board’s credit union, or the employees’. Wright-Patt is “our” credit union – an organization that belongs to the people it serves. And that makes all the difference.
Thanks for your trust … and for being a member.
Douglas A. Fecher
President & CEO
Wright-Patt Credit Union, Inc.