The Story of CU Lunch Local: An annual celebration of credit unions commitment to community.

CU Lunch Local aims to raise awareness about the importance of supporting local small businesses across Michigan. Studies show that money spent at local businesses tend to stay in the community and a greater percentage of every dollar spent is recirculated at the local level when compared with non-local businesses. CU Lunch Local was founded in 2011 in collaboration with Michigan Business Connection, a commercial lending CUSO.

Bill Beardsley, CEO of Michigan Business Connection and Board Member of NACUSO sat down with us to talk about CU Lunch Local. A unique way to celebrate International Credit Union Week.

Tell me a little bit about how this movement came to be? 

CU Lunch Local was born in 2012, when MBC reached out to its credit unions’ marketing departments to come up with ideas on how to capitalize on the impact the credit union industry has on local economies. On one of those calls, the idea of a “cash mob” type of event was thrown out to the group. Everyone loved it, and from there it was just a matter of sorting out the details. Since that time CU Lunch Local has become an annual event. One that we want to continue to see grow.

What is a cash mob? 

Cash mob events are similar to flash mob events, but with one key difference. Instead of dancing in the street, people who participate in cash mob events spend money.

Their goal is to support local businesses and encourage others to buy local. On October 17th, we hope to have hundreds of credit unions from all around the country that  will commit to dine, shop, or buy local.

Do you know how many credit unions participated last year?

That’s a tough question to answer. We ask participants to sign up, but we know there are dozens of participants that just go for it, and participate without signing up. I can estimate that we’re in the hundreds though.

What is your goal for this year? 

We’d like to see more states and more credit unions, and CUSOs join the movement. We’d also love to see credit unions, leagues, and other partner organizations “tag” another organization and challenge them to join CU Lunch Local this year.

What are some of your best memories of CU Lunch Local? 

There are just so many, it’s impossible to name just one. Every year one of the best parts about this event is, that we’ve always said, CU Lunch Local can be as simple as buying a cup of coffee locally and then sharing that purchase via social media with the hashtag #culunchlocal. But, the reality is credit unions and the industry go all out, and the ideas and the impact and the fun everyone has with CU Lunch Local is amazing.  

How can credit unions and CUSOs get involved?

Getting involved is easy. First, like the official CU Lunch Local FB page, www.facebook.com/culunchlocal, then sign up, http://signup.com/go/AXePFmr, questions and requests for the logo, etc. can be emailed to: jessica@in-fusiongroup.com.