A few years in the past, the Washington Suburban Sanitary Commission began a program that allowed staff to acquire work-related certifications to assist increase their careers. The WSSC paid for the certifications program, however there was a catch: Employees needed to pay upfront earlier than being reimbursed.
Workers turned for assist to the WSSC Federal Credit Union, which provided to cowl the preliminary charges, permitting members to work towards the valued certifications.
“We know our members and are very attuned to their needs,” credit score union CEO Jeffrey Goff mentioned, recalling the incident. “We can deliver special services to them, services that cater to their special needs.”
Seventy-three credit score unions have headquarters in Maryland, with greater than 250 department areas, 2.02 million prospects and $33.53 billion in belongings, in line with
creditunionsonline.com, which offers knowledge on credit score unions in Maryland and throughout the nation. Nine of Maryland’s credit score unions have greater than $1 billion every in belongings.
The largest, the State Employees Credit Union, or SECU, of Maryland, has been open since 1951 and as we speak has $4.8 billion in belongings and practically 250,000 members.
At the opposite finish of the spectrum, the state additionally has dozens of small credit score unions, together with the WSSC Federal Credit Union, with about $34 million in belongings and three,700 members. Chartered in 1964, the credit score union is open to WSSC staff and, since 2016, to members and staff of Reid Temple Church in Glenn Dale.
The smaller credit score unions fill an necessary area of interest, Goff and others say.
“It’s about the level of service,” Goff mentioned.
While Goff mentioned his credit score union does lots of lending, he emphasised that mortgage choices should not automated however are made by staff. The credit score union additionally has no minimal credit score rating, he mentioned.
“We look beyond the credit score,” Goff mentioned. “We work very hard to help people out of any situations they might face.”
“For the most part, all financial institutions offer the same products and services,” mentioned Lois Profili, CEO of First Eagle Federal Credit Union, primarily based in Owings Mills. “We try to differentiate ourselves by offering personalized service to our membership.”
Profili mentioned all First Eagle staff are skilled to reply any query a member might need.
“This allows us to take ownership and find a solution immediately,” she mentioned. “Our members like that we know who they are and that we will respond when needed.”
First Eagle, with greater than 8,000 members and practically $112 million in belongings, was based in 1956 and as we speak serves staff of a number of firms and establishments, together with MedStar Union Memorial Hospital in Baltimore.
Another small credit score union, Baltimore-based Five Star Federal Credit Union, was based in 1969 because the St. Agnes Federal Credit Union. It now has greater than 6,000 members from roughly 50 employers and $63 million in belongings.
“Smaller credit unions, in our view, are the very best check against huge banks taking too much advantage of their customers,” Five Star President and CEO Jim Whipp mentioned. “We provide much more individualized service, and we take pride in knowing our members.”
Continued Whipp: “We can design our services for our specific groups, and we can also deliver all the technology that the large institutions offer.”
He identified one other key benefit of small credit score unions: Members have a say of their governance.
“Our members can run for our board of directors, vote for the board of directors and have access to management as a shareholder,” he mentioned. “They are not just customers.”
Whipp mentioned a key problem for small credit score unions is balancing the necessity for development with the will to keep up shut relations with prospects.
“The financial services industry is becoming more complicated and challenging every year, so we must remain large enough to make the investments in our people, our information security, service technology and many other areas,” he mentioned.
Tony Launi, president of the Rockville-based Capital Area Realtors Federal Credit Union, mentioned prospects of small credit score unions are spared the hassles related to bigger banks.
“Simple things like caller wait times are short or nonexistent, promotions tend to be more personalized and clients generally have direct access to the team they are working with,” Launi mentioned.
“When the average person thinks about calling their bank, they rarely speak to a person that truly knows them,” he continued. “Whereas when people bank with a smaller credit union, they get personalized attention.”
Capital Area Realtors FCU, with belongings of $23 million, serves Realtors and their shoppers.
John Bratsakis, president and CEO of the MD|DC Credit Union Association, mentioned all credit score unions, irrespective of their dimension, are targeted on serving to their members.
“They were created to serve their communities, whether it’s an employer group or a faith-based community,” Bratsakis mentioned.