One of my fondest memories as a child was driving to the credit union with my mom to deposit her paycheck. These trips were usually right after school. My mom and I would talk during the drive, meanwhile oldies played on the radio. Each time we walked into the credit union, I was always amazed at how the tellers seemed to know my mom. They would ask her specific questions about work and our family – things that only friends would seem to know or care about. Even as a kid, I could tell this meant something to my mom.
As for me, I particularly enjoyed bumping into Mary, the loan officer who had an office just to the left of the front doors. She always took the time to say hi, no matter what she was doing. And she loved to hear about how my soccer team did the previous weekend. It didn’t hurt that she also kept an assortment of chocolates in a small glass dish on the corner of her desk. For years my mom and I made that trip every other week.
At age 12 my mom walked me up to the teller line and said “My son wishes to open an account.” I only had 13 dollars – in quarters, nickels and dimes – inside my piggy bank, but the tellers made me feel like a millionaire. When I turned 16, my mom took me there to get my first auto loan. Mary, the same lady who asked about my soccer games as a child, helped me with the paperwork. When I turned 19, my mom took me there to transfer money from her savings so that I could have extra money while attending college. At 25, my wife and I walked into Mary’s office and asked for advice on how to manage our money. We were expecting a baby and wanted to start saving. “I think Mary is a lovely name, if it’s a girl,” she suggested with a smile.
When I turned 27, my family and I moved and were unable to continue our business with that particular credit union. The day I went in to close out my accounts, I took my small son with me. Despite some of the faces behind the teller line changing over the years I was still greeted with warm smiles. Just off to the right of the teller line was Mary, still kind and sweet and now the branch manager. She came out to greet us and offer my son chocolate – just as she’d done to me for the past 17 years. Leaving that credit union was like leaving behind family. I thought there’d never be a way any other financial institution would compare. What I didn’t realize at the time, was that the customer service I was given wasn’t specific to that credit union, but rather it extended throughout all credit unions.
Credit unions are part of the community. They care about what happens in their community and to the people they serve. I see this daily in my work here at Fort Worth Community Credit Union. Not a day goes that I don’t see or hear of someone going above and beyond to ensure that a member is treated with respect.
If someone were to ask me, “Why do you bank at a credit union?” I could tell them because of the competitive rates, or because they are nonprofit. But I think the real reason I bank at a credit union is because I like to walk into an office where people know me and genuinely care.
This post was written by Domingo Garcia, FTWCCU Lending Administrative Assistant.