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LAS VEGAS – Visitors to Las Vegas may associate the city with casinos, glitzy shows and dancers, and a transient population. But Community One FCU sees a fast-growing city and high profiled banks, and the credit union is focused on constantly evaluating its products and services menu to make sure it keeps pace with the competitive financial services market there. Even though the $160 million credit union converted to a community charter five years ago – it was originally chartered in 1960 to serve nuclear test site employees of EG&G and eventually expanded its FOM to include other select employee groups such as hotels – Sidra Kain, vp of corporate communications says the credit unions still has to continually educate Clarke County residents and make them aware of the fact that as a community-chartered credit union, they’re eligible to join. Community One FCU has more than 28,000 members. “It’s important we make sure we have a proper diversity of products for our members. The two largest banks in our area are Wells Fargo and Bank of America, and we know many of our members have accounts at one or both of these banks. That encourages us to constantly evaluate our product offering to assess what we should be offering them,” says Kain. Earlier this year, Community One came out with a three-tiered checking account program: Express Account is a completely free account with no minimum balance, no monthly service charge, and a free VISA Debit/ATM card. If a member chooses to receive e-statements rather than paper statements, Bill Payment is provided at no charge; the Community One Account allows the account holder not to keep a minimum balance but the member pays a nominal monthly fee. A box of checks is included free, and a VISA Photo Debit card and Bill Payment are provided at no cost; the Platinum Account is an intererst-bearing checking account offering checks, Travelers’ Checks, a VISA Photo Debit card, Bill Payment, and other benefits at no cost. The member must maintain a $1,000 minimum account balance. The credit union also recently announced the capability for its members to apply for auto loans, home equity line of credit and other consumer loans online 24/7. Community One conducts an annual member survey to ascertain member feedback on the products and services the credit union offers, as well as those they want to be available from the credit union. VP of Branch Operations Fran Silverstein explained that in determining which new product or service to offer, Community One first considers how many members are interested in that product and then takes into consideration the cost of providing it. “We don’t want to take on the expense if only a handful of members want the product. Just because a relatively few members want a particular product doesn’t mean it will be good for the entire membership.” She cited by example safety deposit boxes. Only a “minimal” number of members indicated in a member survey they were interested in the credit union offering this service, but Community One couldn’t cost justify it. Feedback from member surveys has also given Community One information that allowed it to decide to discontinue particular services. In one case, the credit union ascertained its drive-up tellers were doing about a third of the transactions as branch tellers. Since the credit union determined they weren’t cost effective, it discontinued the drive-up tellers and replaced them with drive-up ATMs. “As a community charter serving one of the fastest growing counties in Nevada, we have to make sure our product offering remains diverse, but also cost effective,” says Kain. -

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