Like many Credit Union Heroes, Herb White did not originally set out for a career in a credit union, but his roots as a minister in the Salvation Army are not so far afield from the credit union philosophy after all.
White grew up in Buffalo, N.Y., and relocated to Massachusetts when his job brought him here. He joined the Fitchburg-based Workers’ Credit Union in 1976, thinking he would “try it out” for a little while, but today, as the assistant vice president of business development, he is one of the credit union’s most senior employees, with 37 years under his belt.
White recalled how he logged a great many hours on the road during his early days, working in the credit union’s loan department and its Bank At Work program, when he first started.
The Bank At Work program makes life a little easier for members who can’t get away from their jobs between 9 and 5, he said, bringing banking and other financial services to those members.
White also played a key role in helping bring the CU4Reality program to the community in 2009. Workers’ Credit Union partnered with three other area credit unions to bring a credit reality fair to approximately 800 middle school and high school students.
One catch to the program, helping it succeed and grow: teachers at the participating schools have to incorporate the lessons into their own curricula throughout the school year, and “the teachers have found they’ve learned so much themselves. It’s taken on a life of its own now,” White said.
White also speaks with some pride about the credit union’s BALANCE Financial Program, which provides financial education materials both online and in branch to its members, and its student loan program.
Outside of the office, he’s served as a campaign advisor for the United Way of North Central Massachusetts since 1995, encouraging companies to adopt payroll campaigns to fundraise for the organization. Workers’ Credit Union has contributed more than $1 million dollars to the cause during that time, too.
More recently, White has begun serving on the Patient Family Advisory Council at HealthAlliance Hospital in Leominster since 2010.
And of course, White is still active in the Salvation Army as a corps sergeant major and lay minister, and he said the organization shares a common bond with the credit union that’s made his evolution into a Credit Union Hero a natural progression.
“‘People helping people’ is still a credit union’s role,” he said. “I think it gave me the opportunity over all these years to work with people and grow with people.”
As he talked about his job and his work in the community, White echoed a common sentiment among credit union employees, saying that “working with people is the key ingredient because you’re making a difference to everybody you encounter.”
He added, “It’s really rewarding to me to see that we can help people and see them succeed on their own – with a little help from us.”