Education is essential to developing skills, knowledge and critical thinking. Having received an education loan through United Nations Federal Credit Union [UNFCU], I have taken a gigantic leap forward towards the fulfilment of one of my childhood dreams: the completion of a stage in university studies.. Education has served as a compass to direct my thoughts; structure my tentative answers and essentially to become aware of my ignorance and I felt compelled to tell you my story.
My belonging to a United Nations family has certainly played a tremendous role in my pursuing my education... Nowadays, one cannot treat education as a luxury. In fact as Derek Bok, the former president of Harvard University would say, “If you think education is expensive, try ignorance”. However private education is not a service that any other parent can afford regardless of their determination to send their children to the best possible academic institution. In fact, it is common practice for talented students to either apply for scholarships or to work part-time to be able to pay up tuition fees.
In my particular case, I have been blessed with parents whose heart is made of gold and because they are members of UNFCU with financial advisors and financiers who are filled with knowledge and the vocation to support the aspirations of young adults. As a matter of fact, they are guarantors in financial terms, but the nature of my relationship with them has evolved to form an intricate web of trust, confidence and mutual respect. Indeed, parental support and the backing of a financial institution, such as UNFCU have provided me with moral strength and the courage necessary to undertake arduous, yet fascinating studies. Indeed, I have always wanted to be a professional journalist and education has provided me with the tools to succeed. From the very moment I was officially admitted into my university, there never existed a moment that I doubted whether I had made the right decision. There, I began to closely associate my own personal worth with the value my parents and our financial advisors at UNFCU assigned to me to be able to recognize that I am capable of crossing the finish line.
The close association between UNFCU and the United Nations in general is apparent from the values that are embraced by the financial institution. The mission of UNFCU is notably to “serve the people who serve the world”. This endeavour can only inspire a great deal of respect. These days, it can be difficult to obtain a loan from any financial institution when one considers collateral and creditworthiness that is necessary to meet eligibility requirements.. To complicate matters, hyphenate loan with student and you will probably inspire further caution in your traditional financier. Our partnership and experience with UNFCU underscored their knowledge of the UN community and its needs which is second to none. Year-todate, UNFCU reported that booked education loans totalled $11.4 million. The average education loan amount is 21,000 USD.
Student loans fall under a broad array of financial solutions that are provided by UNFCU that encompass savings and investment services, wealth management, retirement resources, international insurance schemes, global payment cards and mortgages available in Switzerland, France, Austria and the U.S. According to Pamela Agnone, senior vice president of Retail Services at UNFCU headquarters in New York, the institution positions itself as a “conservative and responsible lender”, which constitutes a “source of financial strength and stability”. In particular, the recent financial crisis did not exact a toll from the institution, which owes to a strategic choice of prudent lending. For instance the track record of the institution indicates no traces of toxic assets such as sub prime mortgage loans. This approach reflects a high sense of responsibility and dedication to offer the most reliable products.
Furthermore, a distinctive feature is the outlook of the institution that embraces the aspirations, ideals and human values of its 86,000 members that gather people from 211 countries and territories present on all six continents. The institution serves as a catalyst agent towards various social movements through the support of civil society that exist at the level of grass-roots. A salient example is the “Kilimanjaro Initiative” in Kenya that consists of an NGO led by Timothy Challen, a UNFCU staff member, that together with UN HABITAT and other UN agencies, UNFCU and the public/private sectors are raising awareness and funds about greener, safer more sustainable cities in East Africa. The UNFCU staff members mobilize support through personal involvement at various fund raising events. For instance, UNFCU staff, management and board of directors recently took part in a 224 mile walkathon and running relay around its headquarters in Long Island City, New York to commemorate UN Day and the 64 years of its sole sponsor’s existence.
Partnership with UNFCU guarantees strong member service. For instance, when a UN staff member journeys to a new duty station with his/her family, UNFCU knows the member and there is not need to re-establish oneself. In Geneva and Vienna multicurrency investment services are provided and overall some 30 languages are spoken at UNFCU. Yet, the single most important feature of UNFCU is the degree of attention customers receive. On all occasions, advisors at UNFCU are prepared to listen to our needs and wants. Their recommendations are the product of unbiased and unselfish motives with the primary aim of delivering the most suitable financial product. According to Khalid Gherzeddine, manager of the Geneva Representative Office of UNFCU, “what makes me wake up in the morning is the knowledge that I help people”. Mr. Gherzeddine walks the talk, which is a conclusion I draw from the lasting impression I have of him through various meetings I have had in the course of my studies. The environment at UNFCU is warm, friendly and exceptionally humane and this spirit is imbued in each and every staff member.
In the present, I consider that I have a great responsibility towards my fellow human beings, especially those who have not been as fortunate as me to receive an exceptional education. My relationship with UNFCU has instilled in me the same values that drive the staff members of this financial institution. In fact, I aspire to contribute one day to sending children from underprivileged backgrounds to school for them to perpetuate a virtuous cycle of learning, tolerance and understanding across society and different cultures.