Consumer Sentiments And Employee Insights (4Q 2017)

Real comments from online review sites to inform strategies, policies, and practices.



I opened a [credit union name] savings account as part of a mortgage process … One year later I get a notice in the mail saying I have a negative $20 balance on my initial $25 deposit. Over the span of one year, they charged me $45 in fees. If you think [credit union name] will treat you better than a big bank you are wrong. … I planned to use this savings account for long-term savings but will be taking my business to someone that won't fee me to a negative balance.



Sure, there’s a business justification for fees on paper statements, dormant accounts, negative balances, and returned mail. Unfortunately, in this case, the bevy of fees fed this member’s perception that there is no difference between a credit union and a bank. This is just one person, but in the world of online reviews, even one person can hurt the movement. And more bad news for this credit union that serves a major university — nowhere near Wyoming, despite the reviewer’s name — several other online reviews noted the cooperative’s dated, clunky online banking system. Most young members don’t have deep-rooted banking relationships, making it easier for them to pick up and go. So how does a credit union set itself apart? By underscoring the credit union difference, for starters. And this experience did not make the member feel like a member-owner.


My time at [credit union name] was great. The branches are wonderfully managed, and the back offices were always helpful. There is a real sense of team among the branches … There was a concern for me that corporate wasn't as aware of branch issues as I felt they should have been. Because the headquarters is [across the state], there wasn't a whole lot of interaction, but they make a lot of effort to be in touch with everything. I felt like it just wasn't enough. But the interoffice workings went well, and it was easy to call over to HQ for assistance with member issues. All in all, I had a wonderful experience at [credit union name].

— ITELLER (Former Employee),


You can’t be everywhere all the time. And as footprints grow, more credit unions operate full-service branches far away from the home office. This credit union seems to be doing it pretty well. Even when this teller didn’t feel connected enough, he or she was connected enough to know who and how to contact to resolve member issues, and isn’t that what it’s all about?

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Most things are pretty good, but it takes longer to transfer money to them from my bank account than from my bank account to literally anywhere else. Including competing credit card entities.

— Anonymous,


The lesson here is in the credit union’s reply to this comment, which is on an independent review site the credit union offers members. That resource in itself is commendable, and so is this reply: “Hello. We would be happy to review your account to see if there is a better way for you to make transfers. Feel free to contact us at your convenience by calling xxx-xxx-xxxx, x5. Thank you!” Alrighty then. Even if the credit union can’t totally solve this member’s problem, it’s efforts like this that help keep relationships sticky.


Your work experience depends on what manager you work for. Most times there is too much micromanaging and always changing employee handbook guidelines to upper management’s benefit. All of the employees are friendly and welcoming.

— Current Employee,


This sounds like a reasonably happy employee who’s looking for consistency and transparency. Not so much to ask, right? Keep in mind when making changes to policy, it’s important to explicitly tell everyone affected about the change and let them know why the credit union is making it. This is a small credit union, so it shouldn’t be too difficult to communicate in person. And whereas reasonable employees understand a credit union needs to change its policies from time to time, try not to give them whiplash.


March 1, 2018



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