Money matters Featured

7:40pm EDT August 30, 2006
Hiring new employees is always a challenge. One of the most important elements of the hiring process is competitively answering the question, “What does your benefits package include?” For many employees, a solid benefits package is a major part of the decision-making process on whether to accept or decline a job offer or to seek other employment opportunities.

“Offering membership to credit unions is a great, cost-effective way to keep your current employees satisfied and entice future employees,” says Brian Robinson, director of marketing at floridacentral Credit Union.

Smart Business talked to Robinson about how employers use membership to a credit union as a hiring tool.

How does an employer benefit by offering a credit union benefit option to its employees?
Membership is a key and valuable benefit for employers to include in their employees benefits package. Traditionally, credit unions have provided lower cost services with little or no fees, higher interest rates for savings accounts, and lower interest rates on loans for members.

Employers would help their employees save money by allowing them to have access to a variety of highly valued credit union services such as checking and saving accounts, loan products, mortgage products, insurance options and more.

Adding the credit union as a benefit will help create happier and loyal employees, who will in turn create a pleasant work environment for everyone.

What are the benefits of employees joining a credit union through their company?
Convenience, customer service and communication are the three major benefits of joining. Representatives go to companies so employees can join the credit union while at work. Financial literature, on-site seminars and Web site access is readily available to employees.

What makes the employee benefits offered through a credit union different from those offered by a bank?
One of the major benefits of having a credit union is customer service. Because we are accountable to our members rather than to shareholders, we provide the utmost care and believe it’s important to educate customers about the variety of financial programs that serve their best interests. You can walk into any branch, enter the lobby, and you will likely be greeted by name. You don’t get that in a large financial institution. There you will hear, ‘Next!’

What communication and/or member service benefits do employers and employees receive from having a credit union as an offered benefit?
Many credit unions offer educational seminars surrounding personal finance issues: what to look for when buying a car, balancing a checkbook, or sticking to a budget.

Credit unions are often invited to employee events to inform present and potential members about new services or changes in existing services. In addition to face-to-face messaging, credit unions have brochures and Web sites that are very informative for the employee and employer. At some institutions, materials and financial education seminars are even available in Spanish, which many companies find valuable.

How are credit unions conveying the message to companies/organizations about credit union benefits?
Credit unions develop a lasting relationship with a company representative. At floridacentral, we refer to the representative as an Ambassador of our Select Employee Groups. A Select Employee Group is any company that offers the services and benefits of the credit union to its employees. The Ambassador forms a lasting relationship with the credit union representative to ensure that the ongoing needs of their employees are met. Ambassadors continually receive literature and information from the credit union.

What are the requirements for a company/organization to partner with a credit union?
Any company can become a partner without adding additional costs to its benefits package. The only requirement is that the company supports this partnership by agreeing to provide payroll deduction and/or direct deposit to the credit union for the employees. A company simply contacts the credit union to get set up. A credit union representative then visits the company to inform the employees of the credit union products and services and helps set up their accounts.

BRIAN ROBINSON is director of marketing at floridacentral Credit Union. Reach him at (813) 879-3333 or