For ex-banker, switch to CUs couldn’t come soon enough

November 6, 2015

HAMPDEN, Maine (11/6/15)--Bankers calling credit unions “the dark side.” Is that rich or what?

But when Marcel Blais, after 35 years of working in the banking industry, told colleagues he was taking a position with Maine Savings FCU, Hampden, Maine, that’s exactly what they said.

His response?

“I wish I had done it sooner,” he told the Portland Press Herald this week.

Blais became the credit union’s chief retail officer in September, and said that with credit union memberships climbing and technology providing smaller financial institutions the ability to offer more services, it was a good time to switch teams.

“We can provide virtually everything that banks can provide,” Blais said. “I would not have known that being on the bank side.”

The former banker also said that the credit union movement’s commitment to serving members is a large reason why he made the jump.

“I wanted to get back to dealing with members,” he told the Press Herald. “As I started looking around … it became apparent to me that credit unions are the place to be.”

John Murphy, president of the Maine Credit Union League, said it’s not surprising to him that a former banker would find credit unions a desirable place to work.

“I regularly speak with people that come from banks, and they’re very happy to make the transition,” Murphy told the Press Herald.

While credit unions have posted solid growth in recent years, the article points out that the member-owned financial cooperatives remain relatively small in scale compared with their banking counterparts.

To continue moving the needle in a positive direction, Blais said credit unions could ramp up marketing efforts to attract more members. He added that many consumers aren’t aware credit unions provide mortgages, commercial loans, and online and mobile banking services.