The credit union difference

It wasn’t long ago that I, like the majority of U.S. consumers, didn’t understand the credit union difference. To me, they were all the same, just like every other financial institution. They were all banks, not at all engrained in my community or who I am. That was my mentality and it’s one I shared with many people in my generation – until three years ago.

Stuck in a part time job at a large, for-profit bank while attending school full-time, I noticed my motivation – even my self-esteem – slowly dwindling. I needed to find something different; there had to be something else. It’s when I came across the website for a local credit union empathetically exclaiming Not for Profit. For People., that I found my career path. I found my passion.

It’s been three years since I started at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union and it’s been quite the eye-opening experience. I’ve learned a lot about who I am as a person, a professional and as a Millennial. I’ve developed a filter for what I believe in, what I stand for, and where and how I spend my time. This has led to a few simple questions when making decisions.

Does it align with my values? More so, can I be a proud promoter of this organization? In a time when communication with peers is constant and building your personal brand is a necessity, the businesses and organizations we choose to support become our identity. It’s who we are.

Is it local? In a culture of craft, locally sourced is the only way to go for the best of the best. It’s fresh, it’s pure, it’s natural. And, putting an actual face to the name is truly powerful. It just feels good to be a part of a community.

Is it convenient? So, you may be local and down the street, but accessibility is crucial. Extraordinary customer service doesn’t end at friendly staff. That means available at any time, all the time. That means offering many different ways to conduct business with you. That means interactions with real people, but also up-to-date online and mobile capabilities.

Is it trustworthy? Perhaps the most important, this question is an underlying component in each of the above topics. Genuineness and focusing on what’s in my best interest are essential. Like any other trusting relationship, I will go out of my way to remain loyal. In other words, be real because trust trumps the rest.

We all know credit unions have the advantage of being a cooperative in our industry. But does anyone else know that about you? Or, are you lumped into the “just another bank” pile with everyone else? Taking action on these key considerations will attract Millennials who may even become loyal advocates behind your movement.

Ben Hering

Ben Hering

Ben stumbled upon his passion for the financial industry while studying psychology at the University of Minnesota. Like most students, he held an array of part-time jobs in an attempt ... Web: Details