At Pelican State Credit Union in Baton Rouge, La., members in need of loans are more than credit scores. They’re separate stories.
“When we review the credit report, we ask a ton of questions," Jessica Oliver, director of financial outreach at the $311 million asset credit union, tells the CUNA News Podcast. "We want to make sure the member’s story matches what we’re seeing in print.”
Often, members who have blemishes on their credit report will say they’ve had a family emergency, a death in the family, a job loss, or another life event that caused them to fall behind on paying their bills, she says.
“You really want to get to the meat of what’s going on in the member’s life because that will help guide you in determining whether they will pay you back,” says Oliver, who will discuss how to create qualified borrowers through financial education and outreach during the CUNA Lending Council Conference in Nashville, Tenn., Nov. 12-15.
Part of getting the member’s story involves gaining members' trust and enabling them to feel comfortable enough to be open and honest about their financial situation.
Oliver likens Pelican State's member service representatives and credit counselors to "money therapists."
"It's a great way to continue to build member loyalty," she says. "If you are the person who continues to assist them, improve their credit scores, and meet their needs, they'll continue to come back to you time and time again.”
Oliver also talks about Pelican State's financial outreach and education efforts, and why it’s important for credit unions to offer these types of programs to their members.