Lending

SafeAmerica CU Lends Expertise to Members

Loan officers take the fear out of buying a vehicle.

October 25, 2013
KEYWORDS loan , safeamerica
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Members don’t just get an auto loan at SafeAmerica Credit Union—they receive an education on the car-buying process that makes them better consumers.

“The car-buying process has become so competitive, so intimidating—even with promises of no haggling—that during or after a sale members often feel like they’ve been taken advantage of,” says Amrita Prasad, lending manager at the $309 million asset credit union in Pleasanton, Calif. “We want to walk them through the process, step by step. They feel someone is on their side.”

Consider these two recent examples in which loan officers went above and beyond to help members choose a vehicle and loan that fit their budget.

Barbara Reddy, a SafeAmerica employee for 23 years, consulted with a member seeking a new vehicle to accommodate her growing family. The woman acknowledged a lack of confidence in negotiating a favorable price at a dealership.subscribefrontline

In handling the preapproval application, Reddy not only gave the member a competitive interest rate but explained the process. She showed the member how to conduct research through the credit union’s website, and Reddy obtained the vehicle’s invoice price and specifications before the member went to the dealership.

In a letter to the credit union, the member thanked Reddy for her honesty and training in countering the dealership’s “predatory ways.”

“She eats, sleeps, and breathes SafeAmerica,” Darrell Kazak, vice president of lending, says of Reddy. “No one knows the company better than she does on a consumer lending level.

“She consistently receives thank-you letters, meets goals, and sets a great example for newer staff as a team leader, always providing coaching and assistance. I can’t speak highly enough of her.”

Meanwhile, Shena Sunsin assisted a member who desperately needed a commuter car after experiencing some life-changing issues. Two banks denied the
woman an auto loan due to substandard credit before she applied to SafeAmerica.

After learning the circumstances contributing to the member’s credit score, Sunsin structured an auto loan with monthly payments that fit her budget. Sunsin also contacted one of the credit union’s preferred dealerships and located a car for the member, who then purchased it.

“She’s one of those loan officers who won’t stop at the first challenge,” Kazak says of Sunsin, an employee for two years. “It’s not about meeting a sales goal—it’s about being there for the members. She’s getting a loyal following, too.

“We’re a financial family network—that’s what we preach,” Kazak continues. “We’re a full-service credit union that’ll protect our members every step of the way.”

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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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