In the past, credit unions could expect to recruit workers from certain employee groups (SEG), offer better rates on loans and deposits, and offer “sharing project” accounts. The relationship was simple, emphasizing credit and the common bond between members.
Today, the proposition is much more nuanced as employee consumers have more choice than ever among financial service providers.
Educators Credit Union in Racine, Wisconsin, is deepening its SEG relationships to address these challenges. Educators provides personal financial wellness counseling and training to its SEG employees.
“Research shows that a healthy employee will be more productive at work,” says Brett Nielsen, director of business relations at the $3 billion asset credit union. “We align financial well-being and education with health and physical well-being. If a member is behind on their credit card payment or worried about how they’ll make their next mortgage payment, that’s a real source of stress. This affects their performance and ultimately the performance of the business.
Educators have about 50 SEG connections in his southeastern Wisconsin service area, and it’s Nielsen’s responsibility — or pleasure, as he describes it — to meet with members one-on-one and in groups. .
“We assess the needs of each group of employees,” he says. “They are happy to contact us. For example, fraud is a huge problem and a real source of anxiety for members. We can sit down with several hundred SEG employees, present them with a module we have prepared, and then answer all their questions. »
“We assess the needs of each group of employees.”
Individual counseling requires a more direct and holistic approach, Nielsen says. “Typically we look at everything – car payment, mortgage payment, credit cards – and then try to find a way to consolidate them all and get people working on a budget.”
But the financial well-being of educators for all is about more than budget planning and education. Nielsen says the credit union wants to make its financial services a seamless experience for all members.
In 2019, when Aurora Health Credit Union merged with Educators, Nielsen led an effort to develop a concierge service for physicians contracting to Advocate Aurora Healthcare.
“These doctors need new cars and new houses, and they need to develop a financial relationship,” he says. “We are here to help them.”
Equally important, Nielsen and his team go the extra mile to deliver service.
“Obviously doctors are very busy and we want to make their lives as easy as possible,” says Nielsen. “We took out a car loan and I told the doctor I was ready to deliver his car. He said he didn’t want to bother me. I told him, ‘Extra effort is part of my work.’ »
In 2020, Educators received a CUNA Marketing & Business Development Council Diamond Award for its concierge service.