A Friend in Need is a Friend Indeed (video)

An innovative healthcare nonprofit displays more than a few similarities with credit union collections management.


A  January 24 article from The New Yorker describes a new twist on healthcare practiced by Dr. Jeffrey Brenner, of Camden, NJ.

Brenner’s approach to preventative healthcare targets the most difficult and cost-consuming patients in his practice, which, he found more often than not, also suffer serious addiction problems. Brenner’s group, the Camden Coalition, has identified several steps it can take to help return these patients to independent and healthy lifestyles. The office’s actions range from a weekly phone call regarding the patient’s meeting attendance to teaching the patient how to cook healthy meals on a budget instead of relying on cheap, fast food.

Now, stay with me … I’m not saying members who suffer financial setbacks are the same as the Camden Coalition’s recovering addicts, but the basis of Dr. Brenner’s healthcare model resembles a credit union’s dedication to helping members, especially those at risk.

Credit unions champion themselves on their ability to reach out to in-need members and offer support, literacy, and a second chance. The Camden Coalition offers the same thing to those most in need of basic healthcare and lifestyle changes. This focus on what is in the best interest of the member – and on giving members the ability to create shared value – is a valuable differentiation from banks, just as Dr. Brenner’s practice is a far cry from overcrowded hospitals and skyrocketing healthcare costs.

Below, Nancy O’Malley, vice president of asset recovery at Security Service Federal Credit Union, sums up how the credit union identifies different types of at-risk members during the collections process.

Beyond touting the credit union difference, what more can your credit union do to reach out to members with increasing financial burdens? It’s not just monitoring late payments. In today’s jilted economy oversight includes reaching out to members with delayed payments and abnormally high credit card usage in short period of time as well as watching for area layoffs or furloughs.


Feb. 2, 2011



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