DES MOINES, Iowa (11/1/13)--While an economic recovery is underway, financial literacy remains a challenge for consumers, Shazia Manus, CEO of The Members Group, told The Des Moines Register in an interview published Oct. 25.
Manus, who previously served as CEO of Greater Iowa CU, Ames, Iowa, before taking over the leadership of TMG in 2011, said among her most difficult decisions was declining loans to members who were overextended financially and in need of assistance.
Consumers must learn to balance needs versus wants, she said.
Regulators and business must also understand the importance of balance, she said. Coming out of the financial crisis regulators must understand the necessity of balancing the need for proactive oversight with a view toward unintended consequences, Manus told the Register. Business holders must weigh the desires of stakeholders with the needs of the constituents they serve.
Manus said she did not the view the economic downturn as only a crisis, but also as an opportunity to provide leadership.
During that downturn, she learned the credit union "people-helping-people" philosophy can make a difference in assisting people who are faced with challenges. At Greater Iowa, she made a difference by fostering the credit union's role as a financial educator.
At TMG, the company took the time to listen the challenges facing credit unions and helped its clients fight through a time when consumers were spending less.
Change is constant, Manus said. By making hard decisions, and opening members' eyes to the reality of their financial decisions, credit unions are positioning themselves--and their members--for a sustainable future.