Your Say: How Do You Remove Barriers, Foster Service Excellence?

'We try not to shut out those who have had issues.'

March 9, 2015

Paula Nihoff

Paula Nihoff, president/CEO, HealthCare First FCU, Johnstown, Pa.
“We teach blind and visually impaired students financial literacy. These kids are high school age or graduating from high school--they have to be college bound--they are with us for three weeks and they learn how to maneuver, how to walk, how to negotiate, how to handle their own banking, how to clean, how to cook, everything, and they do all of this with the credit union as the core, and the other people are there to teach them the other skills.”

John King

John King, president/CEO, Eagle One FCU, Claymont, Del.

“At our credit union we try to remove barriers. We have lending products that are geared toward everyone. We try not to shut out those who have had issues, and we try to work with them.”

“Our lending portfolio is a challenge, however we are helping people build credit, and our share-to-loan ratio today of 70% is pretty healthy… We try to work with many people and we are able to continue that practice.”

Paul Stull

Paul Stull, president/CEO, Credit Union Association of New Mexico
“I think we can remove barriers by increasing the amount of communication that we produce to help our member credit unions understand the value of the league and CUNA partnership. That’s really important.”

“As far as service excellence is concerned, I think that’s a matter of being able to produce a value proposition that relates to our members, and a big part of that value proposition is the advocacy piece, both in the state and at the federal level. And a lot of times being able to show the results from those efforts is a big part of that value piece.”

Barbara Martin

Barbara Martin VanDuser, vice president of branch operations, GeoVista CU, Hinesville, Ga.
“As a matter of fact, our mission is to help the underserved and to help people afford life, and with that we have brought in a loan product that would help people do that, and it’s been very successful. And of course we do a lot of community service to spread the word.”

Michael Stremme

Michael Stremme, president/CEO, Kaiperm Diablo FCU, Walnut Creek, Calif.
Kaiperm Diablo FCU fosters service excellence by building on foundation it has developed with its sponsor, Stremme said. “Most recently, we’ve joined shared branching,” he said. “Instead of having to drive 30 miles to a branch, our members can visit virtually any branch in their communities. We’ve increased expectations.”

Sheila Jones

Sheila Jones, board member, Tinker FCU, Tinker Air Force Base, Okla.
“More than 12,000 people attend our financial literacy courses. We also make serving the underserved community a priority. We serve lots of people and we’re very proud of that.

Clara Burdette

Clara Burdette, ACH coordinator, Members Choice WV FCU, Charleston, W. Va.
Members Choice WV FCU uses its relative small size to foster better service, said Burdette, pictured here with Joyce Smith, the credit union’s loan officer . “Because we’re small we really emphasize taking the time to get to know of each of our members and serving their individual needs. We pride ourselves on building a family atmosphere.”

Patty Sarne

Patty Sarne, senior vice president and chief operating officer, San Antonio Citizens FCU, San Antonio, Fla.
“The services we can give our members changes lives. And whenever we’re able to help someone, we spread it around the staff. When someone helps a member, for example, refinance a loan that helps them in a big way, they’ll tell the other staff members,” she said. “A transaction like that might be commonplace for us, but it’s a big deal for our member, and our goal is to make sure no one forgets that.

She added, ”that’s what helps foster our service excellence, because our staff knows that the work they come in and do every single day changes lives for the better.”

Dawn Newsome

Dawn Newsome, vice president of business lending, San Antonio Citizens FCU, San Antonio, Fla.
“A woman came in very concerned about what she was spending on her car loan, so much so that she didn’t think there would be any money for her family for Christmas. We were able to restructure her loan to such a degree that she was able to put presents under the tree. That’s an example of what we’re able to do, and stories like savings someone’s Christmas are exactly why we do it,” she said. “That family is very aware of what a difference changing that loan was, and it’s not something any of us will forget.”