Jon Reske might be marketing chief for UMassFive College Federal Credit Union, but his work touches on nearly every aspect of the financial institution’s mission.
As vice president of marketing and member outreach, Reske and his team are in charge of the credit union’s website; they support financial literacy programs and handle public affairs issues; and they handle all member research duties.
But instead of intimidating, the variety of tasks and importance of outreach for the financial institution drive Reske in his work every day.
It’s not like this is Reske’s first marketing rodeo – the man started the marketing department from scratch after joining the credit union in 1996 as its first-ever vice president.
“Through strategic planning we brought in a layer of senior management to grow the credit union,” said Reske. “At first it was just me and an agency,” working on marketing.
Reske was an early champion of developing financial literacy programs, with workshops, takeaway materials and web resources from UMassFive.
“A big part of the co-operative movement is about educating members to be knowledgeable financial services users,” he offered. “It was a natural fit that we’d offer new resources and services, helping members understand identity theft, home-buying,” and related issues.
He and his team take their messages to the streets. Besides working on starting a financial literacy blog, he and his cohorts go to community meeting places and give workshops for unemployed residents, helping teach them how to budget their limited finances.
“Jon brings a sense of evangelism to credit unions, and his belief that credit unions provide something materially different from banks in the form of accountability, mission and products has helped UMassFive retain great loyalty amongst our members,” wrote Sean Capaloff-Jones, manager of member outreach for UMassFive.
Beyond the walls of the credit union, Reske serves a variety of functions to help raise the profile of UMassFive and of credit unions in general, Capaloff-Jones wrote. Reske serves as vice president of the board of directors for the Cooperative Fund of New England, the oldest co-operative fund in the U.S. He is also a founding member of the Valley Co-operative Business Association, a co-operative association which seeks to foster cross-sector collaboration in Western Massachusetts, Northern Connecticut, and Southern Vermont.
“A credit union is a nonprofit financial co-operative,” Reske explained in a recent interview. “What we’ve learned about co-operatives is, as a business model it’s very resilient and democratic. It puts members before profits. A co-op is owned by the membership, so obviously you’re going to do what’s in the best interest of your membership.”