Even the best policies and procedures can’t prepare you for every situation you encounter on the job.
But every day, at thousands of credit unions across the country, staff provide exceptional service— even when they don’t have a blueprint—by taking the people helping- people philosophy to heart and prioritizing members’ needs.
They devise creative solutions for members. They demonstrate care and concern in sensitive situations. They forge relationships that stand the test of time.
Consider these stories of three credit union professionals fostering service excellence, adapted from Credit Union Front Line newsletter’s “Above & Beyond” section:
1. Sarah Herrington was just about to leave for the day when a man approached the member service representative at $100 million asset Service 1 Federal Credit Union in Muskegon, Mich.
He explained that his wife had passed away and he needed to sign as a guardian for his kids’ accounts. To spare the member the stress and confusion of retelling the heartbreaking reason for his visit, Herrington decided to stay late and assist him.
She spent more than an hour updating his sons’ accounts while also setting up a representative payee account, which allows him to manage Social Security benefits payments for his children.
“I wanted to treat the member with the same respect and attention that I would offer my own family members,” Herrington says.
2. Brian Pennington recognized the member as soon he walked into $685 million asset Wildfire Credit Union in Saginaw, Mich., to co-sign his daughter’s loan.
Many months earlier, Pennington, a loan officer and assistant branch manager, had attempted to transfer the member’s long-term auto loan to Wildfire. But the loan didn’t fit the credit union’s lending policy.
Pennington inquired about their earlier interaction, and discovered the member had paid down his loan to a point where it fit within Wildfire’s parameters, at a competitive rate and with auto pay. Pennington suggested the member move the loan—and he jumped at the chance.
“I remember I had worked with him on this loan over a year ago and wasn’t able to help,” Pennington says. “Well, this time we were able to help—and the member was thrilled with the convenience!”
3. Penny Eagles received a call from a man who questioned a $1,700 check that had cleared his account at $485 million asset SeaComm Federal Credit Union in Massena, N.Y.
Aft er determining the check was fraudulent and someone had compromised the man’s account, Eagles shut down the member’s debit card and checking account. She advised him to come to a branch to open a new account, which is the credit union’s policy.
But that wasn’t practical because the man lived out of state. He had retained SeaComm Federal as his primary financial institution aft er moving away. Eagles approached senior management and proposed the credit union reactivate a dormant account associated with the member, which would negate the need for a personal visit.
Upon receiving approval, Eagles processed orders for new checks and a debit card—and monitored the member’s account daily for further signs of tampering. She also contacted the bank where the fraudster cashed the bad check and recouped the $1,700 for the member.
“It was a solution that benefited both the member and the credit union,” says Donna Deruchia, SeaComm Federal’s call center manager.
It’s no surprise Eagles has been honored frequently in her 20 years at SeaComm Federal, including in January when she earned the President’s Award for Service Excellence.
Visit uniteforgood.org to tell your credit union’s story about participating in grassroots activities, expanding credit unions’ reach in the community, and improving financial services for members of all backgrounds and life stages.