Kay Rankin
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Q.  How does a Credit Union differ from a Bank?

A.  From the outside - a Credit Union and a Bank appear to be the same, both offer basic financial services; i.e.:  checking, savings, certificate deposit accounts - CD's / IRA's, consumer loans - signature/unsecured loans, automobile loans, mortgage and home equity loans, and business loans.

BUT, it is within our corporate structure that we differ.  Banks are basically owned and operated by a few stock holders and are "for profit" driven - of which any person who owns their own business knows - you want to stay in business if you make a profit - not break even.  Profit Driven.

Credit Unions are owned by 100% of the membership, not just the large depositors - everyone is equal, one member / one vote.  Yes, we too have to generate enough income to pay the staff, electric bill, insurances, and basic office operating cost.  Credit Unions also pay property taxes and those who are Texas (State) Chartered pay sales taxes on all items we purchase just like all individuals do when they buy something. 

Credit unions are not-for-profit financial cooperatives.  They exist to serve their members, to help them gain financial freedom, to build financial stability in their lives, and to obtain financial services without needless and costly fees and charge.  Unlike most other financial institutions, credit unions do not issue stock or pay dividends to outside stockholders.  Instead, the earnings are returned to the members in the form of lower loan rates, higher interest on deposits, lower fees, and dividend returns. Putting money into accounts at a credit union is more than a deposit, it's an investment.  That's why the symbol contains hands, representing people helping people with personal touch and mutual respect.  That's why the hands are in a circle, symbolizing cooperation, collective strength, unity, stability and security.

Credit unions exist to help people.  The goal is to serve all of the members well, rich or poor.   Credit unions are there for their members in bad times, as well as good, when other financial institutions would cast them aside as a "unprofitable account."  This same people-first philosophy drives credit unions to get involved in community charitable activities and worthwhile social causes.
That's why the circle of hands form a star, a symbol of America's value, striving for higher social goals and principles, and painted in red for strength, white for purity, and blue for compassion.

America was founded on a few strong words, such as "We, the People." America's credit unions carry out that tradition and meaning.

Q.  Who are your Board of Directors?

A.  WCTCU seven board members are elected at the annual membership meeting on a rotating basis - two or three each year for three year terms.  WCTCU is composed of active and retired teachers, members who are employed in the public sector, and self employed.

Q.  How secure is my money in your facility?  Up to a particular dollar amount?

A.  WCTCU is insured thru the federal agency - National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund - NCUSIF.  Accounts are insured to at least $100,000.00.  WCTCU is well capitalized and is very healthy.  Credit Union's as a whole have steered clear of the sub prime mess and have operated responsibly - our incentive is not profit driven, but the best financial interest of our membership / owners!

Q.  How would you contrast West Texas Credit Unions to East Coast Credit Unions?

A.  On the outside we are the same - offering financial services to our membership / owners.  I am sure that most West Texas people would agree with me in that:  west Texas people are friendly and interested in helping our neighbors.  My personal "outsider" observation of an east coast credit union is that they have the same goal.  During the devastation of hurricanes Rita and Katrina credit unions from across the entire United States sent not only money, but also staff to assist the credit unions in the hit areas.  Credit Unions as a whole operate with the same philosophy - "People Helping People!"

Q.  Do you have plans for growth?

A.  The WCTCU moved to our new location at 301 South Main Street a year and a half ago and have experienced a growth in membership - mostly because of our location, simply more visible.  Since our move and in the near future we have introduced new services and enhancements to the financial services we already offer.  Working to better meet and exceed the financial needs and expectations of our membership/owners.  Like any business we review our goals and decide if where we are at is enough or do we need to make changes to continue in our ever changing global market.

Q.  What kind of rates are you paying for the use of my money?

A.  Monthly (more often if needed) the WCTCU board of directors review the dividend rates we are paying on the deposit accounts.  Typically these rates are similar to the market.

Q.  What kind of rates am I paying for the use of your money?

A.  Monthly (more often if needed) the WCTCU board of directors review the loan interest rates we are charging for loans.  Typically these rates are lower than the market. - Not Profit Driven!

Q.  How does a credit score effect the interest rate on a loan?  Is there a minimum credit score required?

A.  An individual's credit history and credit score will affect the interest rate charged for a loan.  If an individual has taken care of their debts and paid them on a timely basis their credit score and history will reflect that, showing a potential lender that the individual pays their debts timely and probably without a lot of collection efforts.  If an individual has a lower credit score and late payment or collection history that shows a potential lender that the individual does not pay their debts on a timely basis and could create a need to spend collection effort time - making the loan more costly.  At WCTCU we do not use in policy a minimum score to affect an interest rate, but we certainly take credit history into consideration when reviewing the loan applicant.

Q.  What challenges do you encounter as a female executive?

A.  I personally think I faced more challenges being a female executive when my son was in school - both elementary and high school.  As a mom you think it is your responsibility to do the food and clothes shopping, cook the meals, wash the clothes, and of course you want to spend time with your child(ren) at home, reviewing and assisting with homework, be involved with the campus PTA, and attending their school, 4-H, band, etc.   activities.  All of this while working to build your career, improve your business, being involved with the community, and somewhere in your schedule having a personal life - "Super Woman!"

As parents we all do this to the best of our ability, as an executive you simply have more decisions to make.  I think our world accepts female executives and the opportunities are there for anyone willing to commit the effort and time.  Time is the biggest restraint for most female (mom's) seeking to excel in an executive environment.  Surround yourself with a great team, family, and friends and life is good!

Q.  What strengths do you bring to your profession?

A.  With more than sixteen years of credit union experience - my first credit union did not even have a computer - that meant I learned how to manually calculate dividends and interest and used basic accounting skills.  With this many years experience I have certainly experienced a plethora of regulation changes, seen all types of credit, and all types of loan requests.  But what I find the most rewarding is:

First - for years I have felt that the average borrower is not educated in how to operate from a well planned budget and improve their credit score.  In 2004 I decided to go thru the training for a Financial Counseling Certification, so now I personally work with individuals to improve their financial future.

Second - On the financial sector scale the WCTCU is a "small credit union" and I have served on the Texas Small Credit Union Committee for several years now.  The sixteen members of this committee plan and offer training for other small credit unions and their staff members, but our most important goal is to assist other credit unions with their needs - mentor others.  Growing up in a strong 4-H environment - "Make the Best Better" continues to reward me thru others.

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