NORTH HIGHLANDS, Calif. -- SAFE Credit Union has no problem gaining new members and keeping its existing members happy.
The credit union was recently recognized as the highest--ranking credit union in return to members in a peer-to-peer study of 20 credit unions performed by Callahan & Associates. SAFE has also seen a three-year membership growth that is almost twice the industry average.
"Quality service is really the way to grow members and the best way to keep current members," said Henry Wirz, SAFE President/CEO.
Wirz said that he believes that credit unions can compete to gain members by offering the lowest price, having the easiest access and offering the best member service, which is what SAFE focuses on. Currently, SAFE offers a program to its members that reward them with a chance to win a trip if they bring in other members. SAFE has also developed a relationship with the Sacramento Municipal Utility District to put information about SAFE in employee pay envelopes.
SAFE monitors its own member services as well as its competitors by having a mystery shopper at each branch every quarter and at one of its top five competitor's branches. Feedback from members is also a way SAFE monitors its member service by surveying a random 100 members every month that have used a call center or been to a branch.
"Our promise to members is that they will have an exceptional experience and that means that after they're done with our service they will walk away and say 'Wow'," Wirz said. We offer members the best solutions and our employees as professional experts."
Wirz said that SAFE employees don't dress casually like employees at some other credit unions do. SAFE employees wear business dress because Wirz said it creates a professional appearance that adds to the professional experience they want a member to have at their branches.
Training employees is also important in order to back up the professional appearance. Wirz said that employees at SAFE received training a few months ago on NCUSIF and how to set up member accounts to maximize their coverage.
"That kind of training allowed our staff to be immediately ready to answer questions on safety and soundness," Wirz said.
In advice to credit unions that may be struggle to gain new members Wirz said to make sure every member is aware of all the services the credit union offers and that you have an understanding of what your current member's needs are so that you can retain them.
"The best way to bring in new membership is to give existing members exceptional service so they bring in other members," Wirz said. "Good service means good growth and you can't have growth with out good service."