A Message to our Members from CEO Benson Porter
Recently, we've witnessed the tragic and senseless deaths of George Floyd, Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor and others. I am deeply saddened by these events, which came at the height of an already stressful time as we all work to regain our health and economic footing during the COVID-19 pandemic.
These events have likely evoked a range of emotions, from outrage, to sadness, to fear, and everything in between. And those emotions take us to a painful place that is all too familiar for those whom society has marginalized for far too long.
At BECU, we will not stand for bias and racism, nor do we condone or rationalize violent acts done by anyone. While our immediate accountability is to the safety of all our employees and members, we have a duty to act on our purpose to support the financial health and well-being of our communities.
As individuals, and as a credit union, we also have a responsibility to recognize and embrace the diverse experiences and viewpoints that make our membership, employee base and community so unique and wonderful. It is part of why the work of an internal program we call BILD (Belonging, Inclusion and Leveraging Differences) is so important. BILD is about fully honoring the differences, ideas, and perspectives of all individuals and ensuring those differences and values are fully integrated into how we operate and thrive as a cooperative.
As I shared with my colleagues and our full staff, I recognize the advantages I have as a white male executive and cannot pretend to fully understand the inequities that people of color – Black and African American in particular – regularly experience. But, I do have compassion and a desire to listen, learn, and drive meaningful change. My goal for all of us is the same as when I joined BECU; for BECU to be a place where good things happen even with all the challenges and chaos taking place around us.
A recent Harvard Business Review article stated, "Racism isn't just Black people's problem; it's everyone's problem because it erodes the fabric of society. Leaders at every level must use their power, platforms, and resources to help communities overcome these challenges and build a better world for us all."
We don't have all the answers, but we know we have to do more. What we do have is a strong desire to live out our Values, in particular, to "Do the Right Thing" in this situation. And together, through compassion, acknowledgement, open and honest conversations and action, we can make strides toward progress in truly caring for each other and our communities.
Now more than ever we must draw upon our collective strength as a cooperative driven by the principle of "People Helping People." Our voices, our intentions, and our collective spirit compel us to put that principle to work and keep it alive through our actions.
I thank you for sharing the values of BECU through your membership, and I encourage us all to join together to be part of the change we need to see.