Lending

Match Students with the Right Loans

Oregon Community CU builds lasting relationships with student-members.

August 30, 2011
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A chance to expand

Offering a student lending program is good for the credit union, says Whittaker, because it’s another avenue through which it can work with members.

“One of the goals of [our] credit union is to be diverse in our lending portfolio, so we’re not focused heavily in any one area,” he says. 

The credit union already had established a relationship with the University of Oregon nearby. Starting a student lending program gave it the chance to serve the university’s students and their parents, and students attending other schools as well.

Oregon Community has been active in the community for years, according to Whittaker. Today, credit union staff are taking advantage of the relationships they’ve built.

The credit union offers financial awareness seminars across the community to foster relationships with members, says Whittaker. Seminars for high school students and their parents provide information about financing college. And the credit union also provides financial aid and student loan information to university students and their parents.

  Chris Whittaker
 "One of our goals is to be diverse in our lending portfolio," says Chris Whittaker.

"One of our goals is to be diverse in our lending portfolio," says Chris Whittaker 

“[The university has] seen value in partnering with us to be able to talk about [financial aid],” says Whittaker. He says it was a “natural progression” for the university to invite the credit union to present information to students and parents once it began offering student loans.

CUs must compete

But achieving success in a student lending program is no easy feat, emphasizes Whittaker. A credit union beginning a student loan program must offer a competitive student loan.

“There are obviously some big players that have been around for quite some time,” he notes. “So you need to be able to compete with them.”

He emphasizes the importance of transparency in student lending, especially when it comes to loan details. That’s how Oregon Community has set itself apart.

And be sure to know and understand the nuances of the student lending regulatory environment, he notes. As always, regulatory nuances can make or break your efforts.

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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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