Credit union crusader

Theresa Velez preaches the value of credit unions while on police patrol.

August 21, 2019

Providing compression socks with the credit union logo isn’t a sexy marketing idea.

Unless the target audience consists of police officers who spend long hours on their feet.

That was one of the ideas of Theresa Velez, a 15-year veteran officer of the Hartford Police Department and member of the board of directors and supervisory committee at Greater Hartford (Conn.) Police Federal Credit Union.

A local hospital hires law enforcement officers for nightly duty. Velez was talking with a nurse and inquired about the compression socks she was wearing.

“They’re good for your circulation when you’re on your feet a lot,” Velez says. “That’s good for police officers because we’re on our feet all the time.”

Velez, who’s the wellness coordinator for the police department, immediately saw a marketing idea and got the credit union to buy in.

“I know my legs are killing me when I’m out there,” she adds.

Wendy Tariff, CEO of the $24 million asset credit union, says Velez is a tireless advocate.

“She also has a great deal of marketing knowledge and comes up with unique and creative ideas for ways to promote the credit union,” Tariff says. “She fearlessly makes contacts, asks questions, and puts people together to form powerful teams and projects.”

Velez teaches at the police academy and she often preaches the virtues of credit union membership to police recruits.

“I tell them about the benefits of belonging to a credit union and how it’s an extension of the police department,” she says. 

'Her advocacy can come anytime during the day.

“If somebody is telling me they need to buy something that requires a loan, I tell them to head to the credit union and get a loan in three hours,” she adds.

Velez recently recruited Tariff to serve on the credit union’s Retire Well Committee, which assists police department retirees with financial, physical, and emotional wellness after they retire.

Velez says the personal touch that the credit union offers is special.

“I like things personalized,” she admits. “I like to walk into a restaurant where they know my name and I like to walk into a financial institution that knows my name. It’s like family here.” 

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