If there's one thing the 2007-09 recession taught us, it1s to never underestimate an economic contraction. Historically, the average duration of a recession has been about 11 months. Not only did this downturn last around two and a half years, but the recovery continues to struggle.

One of the ground rules for building a solid financial footing is to carefully manage your expenditures. During a recession, extra care is needed to ensure that financial goals are not jeopardized. It is best to prepare for the worst and examine expenses early.

As the economy contracts, credit union members often stop borrowing, which reduces credit union income. And while many businesses react to a downturn by eliminating jobs, credit unions are committed to maintaining their employee family. That is why it's important to quickly identify what fixed and variable costs can be decreased without reducing service or the work force.

Credit union employees are often a valuable resource when it comes to eliminating unnecessary expenses. With the benefit of hindsight, we can be better prepared for the next inevitable downturn. Be smart, act quickly and reap the reward of a loyal, long term work force.

Lonny Maurer, CEO
Belco Community CU
Harrisburg, Penn.

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