I got a message from Bill Butler, CEO of Ohio HealthCare FCU this morning. I did brand consulting for Bill and his gang many many years ago. Unlike the plethora of credit unions expanding their fields of membership to include anyone who lives, works or worships in a five plus county area, Bill decided to kick up his affinity. He decided to buck the trend and stay true to his founders. Some would say it was a very bold move.

The Ohio Healthcare FCU is limited to health care professionals (and their families).

Their tagline: We care because you care.

His members care for the sick, the elderly, the dying, the suffering. The credit union cares for their financial well being. OHCFCU launched an amazing contest this month to celebrate their members. It’s called the Next Top CU Member.

Check out Sandy’s Jessberger’s video. It’s simple and sweet and tells of her affinity with OHCFCU. She’s a trauma nurse – and when she’s not saving lives she’s raising her kids and remodeling her home and saving for Christmas and a dream vacation.  Her kids and grandkids are members of the credit union. It’s all about the affinity.

Affinity (noun)

1. A natural attraction, liking, or feeling of kinship.

2. An inherent similarity between persons or things.

All credit unions were founded on affinity. Or common bond. In the last ten years the trend has been to expand territory and target anyone. Lately the trend has been merger – yet very few are based on affinity. Some are out of necessity, others out of rapacity.

But beware — when you lose affinity,  you will likely become a utility.

Utility (noun)

1. something useful or designed for use

2. a program or routine designed to perform or facilitate especially routine operations

Also known as a bank.