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Cash mobs pay off for CU members, local businesses
WAYNESVILLE, N.C. (4/30/14)--Credit union members don't always realize they're doing business with a local financial institution in which they have an ownership stake. But more and more consumers are learning to understand the importance of supporting locally owned businesses as a way of building healthy communities.
 
Mountain CU, Waynesville, N.C., has provided members with a chance to learn about and support local businesses, including the $156 million-asset credit union's role in the community, by scheduling a series of cash mob events at small businesses in western North Carolina, the Carolinas Credit Union League reported (In the Loop April 28).
 
Cash mobs are pre-planned events that connect consumers with local businesses. Consumers meet at a business, check out the goods and, hopefully, make purchases.
 
Mountain CU scheduled cash mobs with three local small businesses in the Asheville area in 2013, and it hopes to do more this year. "We target businesses that have an existing relationship with the credit union," said Mountain CU Business Development Director Chris Angel, "so it's a way for us to give back to them, and connect staff and members with local businesses they may not be aware of."
 
One business the credit union targeted was Asheville Home Crafts, which sells locally produced fiber art and yarns. Founded 11 years ago by Judy Quinn and Marie Hendrix, Asheville Home Crafts gives local artists a place to sell their crafts. The quintessential local business has provided a prime connecting point for artists and tourists alike. The owners of the store are longtime members of Mountain CU and have their business accounts there as well.
 
Besides giving local businesses a boost, the cash mob events have provided Mountain CU a chance to share with staff and members that the credit union is also a local, cooperatively owned business. "It's a win-win," said Angel, who envisioned the events as a means to educate staff and members about the credit union, while saying "thank you" to member businesses.
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