As much as he loves the financial services industry, Andy Ramos knew early on he wanted to do something beyond just making a buck.
“I come from a traditional banking background. I wanted to do something that felt like a calling versus just pushing product,” says Ramos, senior vice president, member experience, for $3.5 billion asset Redwood Credit Union in Santa Rosa, Calif.
“I found that calling when I started in credit unions more than 25 years ago,” he adds. “Here were member-oriented financial institutions not beholden to stockholders. That experience enamored me of credit unions.”
As part of the senior leadership team, Ramos is immersed in Redwood’s three-year strategic plan.
A current initiative is “Total Member Experience (TME),” which strives to exceed members’ expectations by providing interactions that are simple and easy.
“The best way to anticipate member needs is to pause and examine the experiences our members are having with our products, services, and staff,” he says. “We want to create ‘wow’ experiences that compel them to bring us their full financial relationship while also sharing their story with family and friends.”
The strategy incorporates member feedback from a variety of channels including surveys, comments, social media, and suggestions from staff on how to improve processes and systems for a better member experience.
“TME gives members a seat at the decision table,” Ramos says. “Ideas don’t get lost in the shuffle—they get noted and acted upon.”
Plus, he’s always mindful of meeting the community’s needs in a mutually beneficial way.
“As a community-based credit union, Redwood believes investing in our communities is integral to the health of our members, others around us, and our business,” Ramos says. “It’s not sustainable to simply cut checks to worthy causes. We participate in outreach in a more meaningful way.
“Credit unions are uniquely positioned to provide economic opportunity by teaching financial literacy,” Ramos continues. “We partner with local businesses and nonprofits to bring financial education to their employees via in-person presentations and online content.”
The credit union also sets up financial literacy programs at local schools, including its “Bite of Reality” workshop.
“I love coming to work every morning, and making a difference in people’s lives,” Ramos adds. “I’ve never looked back in regret. This has been a lifelong opportunity to do good for people.”