In his role as the Call to Action speaker at the NCUA's inaugural Credit Union Diversity, Equity and Inclusion Summit, CU Strategic Planning's Ronaldo Hardy joined Chairman Rodney Hood in calling financial inclusion a civil rights issue.
“Whether you like to recognize it or not, we are in a modern day civil rights movement," said Hardy. "I don’t know what name history will give this time, but what we are hearing from different groups elevating their voices is very reminiscent of the civil rights movement. In the civil rights movement money was withheld whenever an organization was not performing. It’s the very same thing happening today.”
DEI is also a “moral issue” for the credit union movement's business model of people helping people according to Hardy. “We should be doing this for all aspects of the community so we create the financial inclusion and equity we all believe in.”
Hardy shared his personal story of coming to credit unions as a young, black man with poor credit, "a product of growing up in poverty." Adding, "Ultimately I got hired [at a credit union] because of my honesty. But there were not a lot of people who looked like me.”
Mike Beall joined Hardy in speaking about his personal story volunteering to lead the LGBTQ Issues discussion, "I am a gay man and I am a credit union leader and this is the first time I have ever said that at a conference like this." In response to tearful reception he added, "We are your board members, staff members and credit union members."
Hardy closed the Call to Action, "There are people in your organization who can move the needle for your organization and maybe for our industry as a whole. But they need to be seen and heard.”
CU Strategic Planning provides DEI consulting to credit unions to improve culture, productivity, morale and profitability.