The Foundational Story of Civic Federal Credit Union

A foundations and start-up story book that portrays the vision, processes and impact leading the creation of Civic Federal Credit Union as a wholly digital financial cooperative serving the people of North Carolina

Civic’s Return on History

In working through this project, we all really got a much better sense of all that had been done by so many in building this digital credit union. When you're in the game, you often lose sight of the season, and in working through this, we saw how much had really been accomplished from a very broad spectrum of people and talent in and outside our organization. The book has proven an invaluable tool, on several fronts. First, internally, it gives a solid account of the build and why it happened for staff that are new or weren't closely involved. We also use it to convey our story to important constituents, as well as among our nearly 500 Advisory Council members across the state of North Carolina.

Dwayne Naylor
CEO of Local Government Federal Credit Union (LGFCU) and Civic Federal Credit Union (CIVIC)

The Story

In the fall of 2018, Civic Federal Credit Union was launched as a fully digital credit union serving local government and the people of North Carolina. Its foundational story is one of vision, dedication, and hard work. It’s the living legacy of a value-driven group of people coming together—as board members, management, and staff—to create a financial institution that set out to change the way people will bank in the future. The creation and early start-up story of this innovative, member-centric financial cooperative is embedded in the broader context of the credit union movement, its underlying values, and aspirations for having a sustained impact in the community. Built on the foundational credit union principle of cooperation, the inception of Civic is the story of one credit union (LGFCU) creating another credit union (Civic). Once established, the journey of Civic as a fully digital credit union becomes a story of creating a niche and building a distinct culture while taking the foundational principles of value-based banking to the next level.

The Mandate

When they contacted us with the idea for a foundations story book and video series capturing the creation and start-up phase of Civic, Paul Miller, Chairman of the Board of Directors, and Dwayne Naylor, President of Civic, were driven by the goal to record the vision, values and principles leading to the founding of Civic in 2018 for posterity. They jointly saw the book as a road map for future generations of board members, management, staff and community partners. At the height of the Covid-19 pandemic, the Civic leadership team was looking for a culture-reinforcing project, involving virtual interviews with over 60 internal and external stakeholders, including members, who had helped make the shared dream come true. The focus of the book was to be on both the actual creation and start-up processes leading to the launch of Civic and the larger vision of economic and social empowerment for North Carolina based on triple bottom line thinking carrying the vision forward.

Our Solution

Designed around the vision of “Serving those who serve North Carolina,” the Civic story is built on the foundations of triple bottom line thinking, full sustainability, and community impact. While tracing the founding vision and looking at its practical applications throughout the creation process and beyond, the narrative focusses on the value principles, distinct culture, and long-term goals of the organization. To convey the innate complexity, obstacles and challenges that needed to be overcome by the Civic team while creating a digital financial institution from scratch, we looked at the Civic story from a broad range of perspectives—regulator, board, management, the creation team, members, as well as technology and community partners.

The need to execute this project during lockdowns and while both the Civic and HBS teams were working remotely due to the Covid-19 pandemic, prompted us to fully embrace the virtual format for interviews, on-site video shoots, as well as for content and design review sessions. While we missed the face-to-face meetings that had added another personal touch to so many past projects, we quickly realized that the virtual format did not limit us at all in our ability to execute efficiently and produce quality results on a large-scale project like this.

The outcome is an inspirational values-driven story, enhanced by pullout quotes from many stakeholders, with a people-focused design and creative design elements such as sticky tabs and whiteboards from brain-storming sessions by the Civic creation teams that speak to the culture and impact created by Civic since its inception in late 2018.

As required by the client, we delivered the books in December 2021 for distribution before Christmas. Our president and author, Dr. Ulrich Frisse, and Lesley Warren of Lesley Warren Design Group, who masterminded the design of the book, gladly accepted the invitation by the Civic executive team to attend the board meeting at which the book was officially launched and each board member received their personal book copy. Attending it by video conference due to travel restrictions seemed a fitting conclusion for an outstanding project executed during exceptional times.

  • Foundations and start-up story book covering the founding story and start-up phase of a three-year old financial company
  • Vision and values-driven narrative written and designed in a highly accessible style with inclusivity goals in mind
  • Large scale community engagement project including over 60 virtual interviews
  • 192-page hardcover book with a contemporary design and highly branded design features
  • Book design includes sticky tab collages and full page quotes to visually represent the creative process and multi-dimensional perspectives involved in building a digital credit union from scratch
  • Virtually directed video shoots of selected board member interviews as a value-added deliverable

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