Queer or straight, you can’t deny that times have changed for Connecticut. With the rise of technology and increased connection, it might seem that everything is more complicated, harder to navigate and manage. All these smart phones and computers–how does anyone keep up?
If you have anxieties about your finances in the age of tech, Nutmeg State FCU is here to guide you. We spoke to President and CEO John Holt about money management and the ever-connected future.
CT VOICE: As President and CEO, you’ve advocated for the virtues of tech, and you’ve worked to introduce digital options to Nutmeg State FCU’s financial services. What is it about our increasingly connected future that excites you? How do you feel that the shift in technology impacts the LGBT community in particular?
JOHN HOLT: People want technology to make their lives easier, especially when it comes to banking. Technology is convenient, it makes life simpler—now you don’t have to travel to a branch unless you want to. It saves money, ultimately, because there’s less paperwork and less time involved. And in any industry, particularly ours, if we don’t focus on developing the technology that people want, chances are we won’t survive. We’re trying to be as progressive and forward-thinking as possible.
Of course, we’re not going to do away with branches. We feel that branches are an important part of being in a community—for helping people, sponsoring events, and being involved in the lives of the people in our community. Technology can’t do all of that, so we want to keep the humanity at Nutmeg.
Regarding the LGBT community, we are no different. The LGBT community needs technology just as much as everyone else. At Nutmeg State FCU, we are all about inclusivity and treating everyone with equality.
CT VOICE: It seems that nowadays, for a company to differentiate itself and get ahead in any industry, a business leader must become innovative and open-minded to creative possibilities. Where do you seek inspiration for your work, and what about your leadership style is especially innovative?
JOHN HOLT: I look towards the future. We can’t disregard the past or the present, we have to anticipate what could happen in the future, and where we see indicators of what is to come. I always say, we need to be at least one step ahead.
We have a partnership with the Department of Motor Vehicles. We have two branches that have DMV Express services in North Haven and Milford, so Connecticut residents can renew their driver’s licenses at our branches, change their address or their name. And if you’re a member of Nutmeg, you won’t be charged the eight-dollar fee. We’ve also acquired a tech firm out of Denver, and we’re working with them to get to the next level of innovative products and services.
What inspires me? I want to know what I can do to make members’ lives easier, to save them time, save them money, or even make them money. When you join Nutmeg or any credit union, you become a member, and you are a part-owner of the organization. If you’re a part-owner, then you’ll want to see things happen that will help you.
CT VOICE: As technology changes the guidebook for business, it’s also changing the guidebook for money management. What is your number-one piece of advice for money management in the age of invisible money?
JOHN HOLT: My personal mantra for money management is, if you don’t have it then don’t spend it! You have to have a budget, and if you’re spending way more than you’re making, eventually that will accumulate and become very problematic.
In regards to app technology, payment services like Venmo is what excites me. The ability to move money through a text message or through an email is convenient and easy. The ability to speed up payments so it’s there instantly is amazing. It goes back to the convenience, the experience of making it easier. You think: wow, this took me less than thirty seconds! But just like with human financial consultants, I think the technology needs to have intuition about your budget. The technology shouldn’t confuse you, it should make money management easier.
Younger generations will appreciate this in particular. When young people think of a credit union, they often think, “What is that? Do I have to belong to a union? Do I have to get credit?” And it isn’t actually any of that. What people would appreciate is that a credit union is a not-for-profit organization, in which all of the money goes back to the members, who also become part-owners. Especially in the times we’re in, I think people appreciate having that kind of voice—with Nutmeg, you can.
CT VOICE: The LGBT community is not the most obvious demographic for a credit union to court. Why does Nutmeg feel so strongly about getting in touch with the LGBT community?
JOHN HOLT: I believe everyone should be treated as an equal. Who am I, who are you, who is anyone to judge? It’s a free world, it’s our right to make decisions the way we want. When I think of any community, they’re all equal to me, and they’re all welcome at Nutmeg State FCU.