Looking to the Future
One of the major concerns of these long-tenured volunteers is “getting younger volunteers
to help,” according to Holly Fleming of ICI America FCU. Reaching out to new, younger members to volunteer
becomes daunting since many of those younger members have very stretched lives. Board members must attend regularly
scheduled meetings, find time to interact with their membership, meet with lawmakers to discuss credit union issues,
more about their credit union operations.
Long-time board members know a lot about a credit union’s history and purpose. Several
credit unions understand that this information can be helpful to the next generation. Dover FCU and E.W.O.D FCU
have created a “director emeritus” position, in which a retiring board member may continue to come
to meetings and provide input – without a vote – and the credit union does not lose that
It is obvious that volunteers are the cornerstone of many Delaware credit unions. No matter
how things change, volunteers will continue to be an important part of the credit union movement. It is because
of people like those listed above that credit unions are unique, that they are thriving even in today’s
competitive marketplace, and that so many lives are made fuller through the credit union movement.
Joel Romaine was elected to serve as the chairman of the Delaware Credit Union League’s board
of directors at the 2006 annual meeting. He has been active in the credit union industry for 23 years and was
elected to the League board in 2000. Communications director Alice Smith interviewed Joel as he completes his
first year as board chairman.
1. What experiences have you had (past and present) in the credit union movement?
I've been in credit unions for approximately 23 years. I started as a member services representative
and worked my up. I've been with DPL since 1997 and am currently the vice president of operations.
Maybe it was Karma – my first car loan (for a new 1972 Chevy Vega) was obtained through my Dad's credit
union on Long Island, New York – Valley Stream Teachers FCU.
2. What is it that you like about the credit union movement?
I really believe in the "people helping people" philosophy. For the most part
the people you deal with are great. I get a warm feeling when I know that I have helped someone achieve a
goal or that we were able to help someone out of a tough situation. It's the same reason I get misty every time
I see "It's a Wonderful Life." When there is the run on the Bailey Savings and Loan, George tells
them “Your money isn't here, it's in Fred's home and Vinnie's business.”
One thing I miss on the operations side is not doing hands on lending. That's when you really
see the fruits of our collective labor.
At my first credit union, on the wall behind the teller line in big bold letters was "Not
for Profit, Not for Charity, But for Service." Our CEO drilled it into us that this was our mission. I've
never forgotten this.
3. Joel: Why did you agree to serve as board chairman? What skills do you bring
to that position?
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