Operations

Serving Those Who Serve

CUs face many challenges as they serve members deployed around the world.

August 10, 2011
KEYWORDS family , services , troops
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Delivering value

At $15.1 billion asset Pentagon Federal Credit Union (PenFed), Alexandria, Va., members use a worldwide toll-free line to access its call center 18 hours a day, visit a shared branch, connect via iPad or mobile phone applications, correspond via e-mail, or take advantage of online financial education and services. All communication lines are free to overseas troops.

Chris Flynn, senior executive vice president of PenFed and president of its nonprofit affiliate PenFed Foundation, says active-duty military make up 36% of credit union members, with military family members accounting for another 18%. Technology is essential to connect with these far-flung members, including many U.S. members located in California, where PenFed doesn’t have any branches.

Military members who need a mortgage loan modification due to an involuntary hardship—such as deployment, death of a spouse, medical bills, or reduced income—can complete a “hardship application” on the credit union’s website. PenFed helps qualifying military members with measures such as payment deferrals, a loan to cover deficiency on a short sale, or consolidation of loans into one affordable payment.

Deb York, senior manager, service center and branch operations, says several Fort Hood branch employees are military spouses whose husbands have been deployed three to five times. These employees share their experiences so the credit union understands what military members need. The credit union stays in touch with Fort Hood members by supporting base activities, providing USO volunteers and other organizations, offering pre-deployment briefings, and holding financial education events.

RESOURCES

  • CUNA
    • Servicemembers Civil Relief Act resources: enter “servicemembers civil relief act” in search box.
    • Consumer lending schools, select “find training by your position” and then “consumer lending.”
  • Defense Credit Union Council

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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