Why Americans Are Seeking Loans from Credit Unions in Record Numbers
During the Covid-19 pandemic and its aftermath, many Americans have relied on loans to keep their personal and business finances healthy. However, a recent trend has developed, indicating that how Americans are seeking loans may be unique compared to how they did so in the past. Specifically, rather than seeking loans from traditional commercial banks, many are instead choosing to apply for loans with credit unions.
A credit union is typically a local financial institution whose services and products overlap substantially with that of a bank. However, most commercial banks are profit-making institutions beholden to shareholders. Credit unions, on the other hand, exist to serve a community’s needs instead of earning a profit.
Each member of a credit union has equal voting rights. Instead of following rules and adhering to standards dictated by executives who aren’t members of the community, credit union boards consist of volunteers elected by all members who wish to cast a vote.
These differences influence the customer experience in ways that have recently made credit unions more appealing to loan-seekers than banks may be. Perhaps more importantly, research indicates that particularly in times of crisis, credit unions are more inclined to approve loan applications. One recent study indicates that, while banks often become hesitant to approve loans during crises, during the Great Recession and pandemic, many credit unions not only continued to loan money to members, but actually increased their lending.
This may be a reflection of the basic nature of credit unions. They’re established to provide a necessary service, much like a fire department or local hospital. According to Jordan van Rijn, senior economist for the Credit Union National Association, “During periods of risk and uncertainty, banks tend to pull back a lot more on lending and just get a lot more conservative. But credit unions as part of their mission is just to continue to serve the members.”
It’s also worth noting that loan interest rates at credit unions tend to be lower than they are at banks. This is another reason many Americans may have opted to seek loans from credit unions in recent months. They don’t want to exacerbate their financial woes by taking out loans with prohibitively high interest rates.
Additionally, many have already found that credit unions offer similar benefits even when national crises aren’t occuring. For example, some who’ve been turned down by numerous banks for home mortgages find that credit unions are more willing to work with them to offer alternatives to traditional mortgages.
Credit unions don’t provide loans and mortgages more willingly than banks because they engage in predatory lending. On the contrary, their low interest rates on loans highlight how they exist to support their members. Often, members have greater luck receiving loans from credit unions than from major banks because the local quality of the service, combined with the fact that credit unions don’t have a responsibility to earn a profit, allow credit union decision-makers to make these particular decisions based on a more personal understanding of a member’s situation. At a bank, decision-makers are required to follow the same procedures from one branch to another.
Many speculate that credit unions will also continue to grow in popularity after the pandemic. The way they served their members during a time of crisis has generated significant loyalty that may last well into the future.
The Ultimate Guide to the Essential Social Skills in Business
Effective communication and strong relationships are essential for success in the workplace. One factor that can greatly influence these qualities is emotional intelligence, often abbreviated as EQ. EQ refers to the ability to identify, understand, and manage one’s own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. Research has shown that individuals with high levels of EQ are better equipped to handle stress, communicate effectively, and work collaboratively with others (Chamorro-Premuzic & Sanger, 2016).
Research has consistently shown that emotional intelligence (EQ) is an important predictor of job performance and success in the workplace. EQ is comprised of a set of skills that allow individuals to recognize, understand, and regulate their own emotions, as well as the emotions of others. In addition, individuals with high EQ are better able to communicate effectively, build relationships, and navigate complex social situations. As a result, they are often viewed as effective leaders and collaborators, and are more likely to achieve their personal and professional goals.
In fact, a number of studies have demonstrated the significant impact that EQ has on job performance and success. For example, one study of 85 upper-level managers found that those with higher EQ scores were rated as more effective leaders by their subordinates (Law, Wong, & Song, 2004). Another study of 151 employees found that those with higher EQ were more likely to be promoted within their organization over a five-year period (Carmeli, Brueller, & Dutton, 2009). These findings highlight the importance of EQ in the workplace and suggest that developing these skills can lead to significant benefits for both individuals and organizations.
According to a study conducted by TalentSmart, a leading provider of EQ assessments, EQ is responsible for 58% of success in all job types (Bradberry & Greaves, 2009). In contrast, IQ only accounts for about 4% of success in the workplace. This suggests that EQ is a crucial skill set for individuals in any professional field. Fortunately, EQ is a skill that can be developed and honed over time with practice and awareness.
There are several key components of EQ that are particularly important for success in the workplace. These include:
Self-Regulation: This refers to your capacity to recognize and control your emotions. Sometimes treating them when they arise may be necessary. Understanding how to manage your anger is essential. However, it can also cover how to control the feelings you’ll experience.
Self-Awareness: This implies recognizing and understanding your own feelings. Do noisy places make you nervous? Do other people talking over you make you angry? Knowing these truths about yourself shows that you are working on your self-awareness. Being conscious of yourself is necessary for this phase, which can be more complex than it sounds.
Socialization: This category focuses on your capacity to manage social interactions and direct relationships. It doesn’t entail dominating others but knowing how to work with others to achieve your goals. This could entail presenting your ideas to coworkers, leading a team, or resolving a personal disagreement.
Motivation: Strong motivators include external forces like money, status, or suffering. Internal motivation, however, plays a significant role in Goleman’s concept. By doing so, you demonstrate your ability to control your cause and initiate or continue initiatives of your own volition rather than in response to external demands.
Empathy: It’s equally critical to be sensitive to others’ feelings. This may entail learning to identify different emotional states in individuals — for example, can you tell the difference between someone at ease and someone anxious? — but it also requires comprehension of how other people may react to their current situation. Empathy is one of the essential traits in business and business leadership.
A thought leader in this space, Michael Ventura has built a career advising organizations on the importance of emotional intelligence in the workplace. In his book, Applied Empathy, Ventura highlights the value of empathy in business and provides strategies for developing and applying this skill set. With two decades of experience as a leader, facilitator, and educator, Ventura’s work has made impact in with prestigious institutions such as Princeton University and the United Nations as well as corporate clients such as Google and Nike.
Through his work, Ventura advises leaders to focus on the development of EQ in order to help individuals improve their communication, collaboration, and leadership skills, ultimately leading to greater success in the workplace. Experts like Ventura continue to support the growing body of research on the value of EQ in business, and the evidence that organizations who invest in the EQ of their teams help to create a more empathetic and successful professional environment.
And it’s worth noting that EQ isn’t just important for individual success in the workplace, but also for overall organizational success. A study by the Center for Creative Leadership found that EQ was a better predictor of success than IQ or technical skills in the workplace, and that teams with higher levels of EQ tend to be more effective and productive (Boyatzis, Goleman, & Rhee, 1999). By cultivating a culture of empathy and emotional intelligence, organizations can improve their overall performance and create a more positive work environment for their employees.
In conclusion, emotional intelligence is a crucial component of success in the workplace, and individuals and organizations alike should prioritize the development of these skills. The ones that do not only develop a leading edge in their category, but also become a meaningful place to work for their teams. And in today’s rapidly changing talent landscape, the retention of highly capable, emotionally intelligent leaders is one of the greatest keys to unlocking success.
Boyatzis, R. E., Goleman, D., & Rhee, K. S. (1999). Clustering competence in emotional intelligence: Insights from the emotional competence inventory (ECI). In R. Bar-On & J. D. A. Parker (Eds.), Handbook of emotional intelligence (pp. 343-362). Jossey-Bass.
Bradberry, T., & Greaves, J. (2009). Emotional intelligence 2.0. TalentSmart.
Chamorro-Premuzic, T., & Sanger, M. N. (2016). Does employee happiness matter? Journal of Organizational Effectiveness: People and Performance, 3(2), 168-191.
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