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Source: "Relationships important in lending" by Dave Rogalsky for the Canadian Mennonite
Tiffany MyerTiffany Meyer cares for 120-plus clients at Mennonite Savings and Credit Union

NEW HAMBURG, ONT. – Coming from a conservative Mennonite Background, the Midwest Mennonite Fellowship, Tiffany Meyer absorbed what it meant to be Christian and Mennonite through both church and family. But she and her husband desired a less "bounded" faith experience and moved first to a Mennonite Brethren congregation and now to Creekside Church, a Waterloo church plant of First Baptist in Kitchener.

She believes her Mennonite background influences the work she now does at Mennonite Savings and Credit Union (MSCU), New Hamburg branch. As a twenty-something she is a senior account manager, overseeing more than 120 families in a wide range of agricultural and commercial industries.

Ben Janzen of MSCU nominated Meyer for the Mennonite Economic Development Associates (MEDA) 20 under 35 honour. In an e-mail he said he nominated her because of the length of time in her role with MSCU, having served members in different branches, living out her values in the job and serving members who do similar work to what MEDA does in agricultural communities.

While not an entrepreneur herself, she serves many entrepreneurs in her work, supporting them as they create businesses. She sees her work as service, "fulfilling our purpose on earth," especially when she can give a listening ear to members with difficult stories to tell. She does the same with her friends, family and relatively new neighbours in New Hamburg, living out her internalized Christian and Mennonite values: "community, fellowship and mutual aid."

Meyer entered employment at MSCU as a teller and worked her way up, eventually going to head office in Kitchener for nine months to be trained for her current job. There are ongoing courses she takes online to keep up with her position, but a big part is building relationships with clients and families. She is glad that she has time to listen to the story, rather than just look at the numbers, especially if a client or family has fallen into a difficult situation, whether financial, health or relational.

"But this is still a business," she adds, noting that in some situations MSCU has to move to end a loan or mortgage in spite of trying other avenues first.

Meyer takes the lead in weekly meetings in the branch, reviewing lending, and making and following policies. Annually she is part of the team that reviews all files. MSCU does "not just loan and then leave [the client] for 10 years," she says.

The new connection with MEDA, including the chance to travel to the annual convention in Winnipeg last November, opened her to the sense of wanting to be more involved with MEDA in the future, although she still feels humbled to have been chosen for the award.