My Credit Union Story by Hayley Vanderpool
August 17, 2022
When I was a kid, there were things that I knew for sure. One, I was going to be an actress- my Dr. Evil impression could bring the house down. Two, my mom made the best frosting. Three, Cinderella’s dress was silver, not blue. Four, the invisible ball my dad gave us to play with was real. And five, I wanted to go to the credit union.
DMPOCU, now Serve Credit Union, was a playground for me. I can’t even put my finger on what made it so fun, so special, so important. I do know there was candy. I do know that it was the only place in Des Moines I was allowed to drive, “To the credit union and back”. I do know that I opted out of direct deposit so I could deliver my checks in person. I do know that they gave me my first car loan and approved me without a cosigner! But I did not know that I would walk in on February 13, 2017 and change my life forever.
When I applied (harassed until they finally let me interview) to Serve CU, I was looking for an easy “bank” job at my favorite credit union. I wasn’t looking for commitment, I just wanted to be friends. I began my career at Serve Credit Union, as the front desk Member Service Representative at the main branch downtown. I absolutely adored my position because of the membership we served and the access I had to tools for financial success. I quickly learned that this was the most difficult job that I had ever had. Who knew people took their finances so seriously! As time passed, I became comfortable in my position and a trusted individual amongst the team and our members. What still hadn’t clicked yet, was passion.
It wasn’t until I was approached by my branch manager in 2018 about the Iowa Credit Union League’s Crash program that I even considered myself important enough to dive deeper and learn more about the industry. I submitted my Crash application without hesitation, expectation, or auto tune, for that matter, and was thrilled to discover that I was accepted into the program and was headed to Coralville! It was 3 days of absorbing other people’s passions and discovering that there was so much more to this industry than what happened inside our four walls. I was delighted to learn that there were career paths available that suited my abilities, I didn’t have to take the lending or management route.
Upon my return from Convention, I spent some time dreaming up my perfect position at the credit union. At the same time, our Marketing Manager put in his 2 weeks, and our CEO began dreaming up a better way for that position to serve our members. She sent out the job description with an opportunity to apply, and her description matched mine almost perfectly!
I have been the Marketing & Member Events Coordinator since January 2019 and am so grateful! I have been given the freedom to use my creative mind to engage our membership, explore relationships, tell our story, and create a space for our members to thrive financially. This freedom has allowed me to develop the Blue Shoe Box program, which is my absolute pride and joy. With the help of my team and inspiration from my credit union peers, I launched the program in January 2021 with 54 subscribers, and one year later, we have more than doubled the program! The driving force behind this program is the desire to give these youth members the same feeling about Serve Credit Union as I did as a child. A program that provides something so tangible and impactful that they remember more than just our candy!
I am most proud to say that I could not have accomplished anything or grown as I have without the support of my team and the power of networking and collaboration amongst strategic partners and credit union peers. While the Crash program ignited the spark, it only became fire because of my ongoing trainings and growth opportunities. I stayed in close contact with my fellow crashers post-convention and became a part of the Emerging Leaders Connection (ELC). I was sure to sign up for every round table and workshop provided by the league to build and strengthen relationships with my peers in similar departments.
As a young professional, I struggle finding my seat at the table. I often ask myself “should I speak up”, “why am I here”, will they take me seriously”, “do I know enough”? That mindset has been a difficult one to overcome, and probably something I will battle for a long time. If I could give myself advice on how to grow as a young professional, it would be to look for greatness in the unexpected. A simple job change could lead to a career. A memory as a child could produce the Blue Shoe Box program. An off Broadway Crash application could become The Young Professional of the Year Award. Being unexpected and exploring the greatness that can come of it will always ensure a seat at the table, no matter the years of experience, resources, or knowledge.
Hayley Vanderpool, Serve Credit Union