Focus on the Upstate 97 - SC Telco FCU - 4/8/18

Focus on the Upstate
Sunday, April 8th

Jessica Baker, VP of Member Services, discusses how federal credit unions differ from traditional banks, outlines the benefits of credit union membership, and describes some of the public outreach work that SC Telco performs.


Transcript - Not for consumer use. Robot overlords only. Will not be accurate.

Welcome to focus on the Arab state a program dedicated to informing you about organizations that serve our community. How you can get involved with him. Here's your host Chris Evans. Good morning and welcome to focus on the upstate when he was present instigating my guess is Jessica baker. The vice president of member services at SE tell good morning Jessica good morning Chris Harry and I'm doing well thank you brass can and yourself dang great okay good glad to hear it. I wanted to have somebody from credit income and normally we talk on the show abouts you know how organizations we have a lot of not probably not for profit organizations in the studio and talk about how they serve the upstate community. And it occurred to me that it never really had a any from anybody from that a credit union which qualifies as a not for profit organization and we're gonna talk about that in a minute. How are you guys are different from traditional banks but first don't ask you to see added the question that I normally over the interview with switches what do you do. And who do you do it for tell us about SE telco would you do in the beautiful. Sure we heard chartered back in 1935. By southern bell employees. And we serve the idea of state community we have close to 60000 members now says he can imagine there are hundreds of ways to join a credit union now sixty. Heard that members of the clients I guess over any particular traditional thing for 60000 seems like a lot especially when the credit unions kind of fly under the radar it seems like people don't generally know about them to. Atlantis and yes that does savored the best kept secret there really OK why is that why why do people why are people unaware of credit unions. I say that in jest because really that we need to get the word out okay come and and really I appreciate the opportunity today so that I can share with your listeners the difference between the banks and the credit teen in and do waive his summit day is on misconceived nation and stay on maybe they don't qualify for membership or on their parade said to join her to watch again and that is one. The differences. Between credit unions and traditional banks is that you actually the people that you serve our members of the union this is its its membership as opposed to this sort of clients provider relationship. Yes exactly we're a member and cooperatives were democratically controlled by our members and we have a volunteer board of directors. So that's the biggest difference really between the banks and conveniences that the banks have stockholders and their number one priority is. Making more money for the stockholders and our number one priority is a member and nurse. Well and in centrist thing that you mentioned their volunteer board it because normally those positions in a traditional bank would be. Hired people I mean they're working for money yes these are members. So because you guys have membership there are qualifications for membership instituted generally speaking and and more gifted to SE telco in particular in a minute. Generally speaking what are the qualifications. For membership democratic. So it depends which critiquing in their several different ways with SE telco for example we have underserved areas that we serve in Oliver branch locations if you live work worship volunteer in one of those locations to qualify for membership. And we also serve several hundred companies I mentioned earlier that southern bell employees chartered us back in 1935. Well there are hundreds of other companies that we work with safety work it one of those companies he also qualify for membership. This is basically based on where you work or where you live pretty much a nutshell. OK so relatively low qualification requirements for membership in a credit unit I know that some of the DEC ads forever for a credit unions on TV and some of them not require I don't know military. Service or something like that and then goes every if you haven't been in the military then you're not gonna qualified here. But chances are there's a credit union near you think you do qualify for. Absolutely and that is the message that we need to get out I got you OK so talk a little bit more about the differences. Between. Well because remember and on to the members are our first priority is said to stockholders. We're not concerned with that and so we don't have to worry so much about the numbers and on that translates into our services we provide the products and that would provide to our members as well. So credit unions are not for profit as you as your mentioning traditional banks are are for profit entity is here they are trying to make money. Credit unions are not for profit entities and no I I full disclosure I'm a credit union member myself not with the SE telkom bush had a different one. And so I know a little bit about this. Credit unions tend to you have a financial services the same kinds of financial services that you would have at a traditional bank. But they tend to be a little bit cheaper or you can get better rates on them just because this the institution is and actually trying to make money off of the transaction. It's yes exactly we had traditionally typically have higher deposit rates on certificates of deposits money market accounts. And then also lower fees so lower over drafting courtesy paid fees lower on fees on checking accounts we still offering free checking account there's a resent. Article about Bank of America they stopped offering the free checking account for online members are clients. And says on this are all translated into thirteen dollar per month checking account says they went from having a free candidate thirteen dollar per month checking account we still offer free. So would you say that the reason that more people. Tend to gravitate towards the traditional banks is just because of that lack of awareness about credit in users or some other reason that banks have an advantage. Well I think that the I'm miss conception of why maybe banks have the espionage is because of their locations OK and one way de credit unions can compete with that is with our shared branching network and says the glacier branching Marx's when your member credit emea and you can. When every need to ditto and so when you out of those locations across the country we have nearly 6008. Which is right on par with. Chase Bank of America and wells all of them that. Again the story just hasn't been told quit and you're telling me before the program as he telco has I think five locations. In and South Carolina. We have five parent yet stay lead to angry bill when mills avenue. One now per day and any branch each in easily Spartanburg in Taylor's and then come against Lawrence in Columbia. Florence and Columbia suited to a little bit out of our broadcast stranger may be some people can think is helping Colombia fla flu Florence I think is a little too far but. Five locations just here in the upstate that that people can go to and become members of SE telco. But I think you're saying that they can go to sister credit unions that don't necessarily say SE telco on the door exactly and get the same kind of services that they get from an SE telco branch who. Yes and says there's that Cabrera an apathy news shopping or traveling he can find the nearest branch. And speaking of that. I know one of the features that traditional banks offer is online banking mother similar services dressy telcos and yeah. Yes we found we pretty much offer online be looking SE till they definitely offers online thinking we invested heavily in digital services because our members are interest and we've recently on started offer mobile deposit to get a check he can take a picture of that deposit rather than having to go into the branch. What are the other things that I notice is different about Craig unions vs banks is dead because of that membership. Relationship with the credit union. Any time something comes up for a vote in that it in the credit union. The members actually all get to vote on it they they can they have a say in as in terms of what happens with their. Their financial institution as opposed to the traditional bank where. There's about a board of directors who were senator shareholders that are making those decisions and and you as a customer don't necessarily need to have any input on it. Exactly we have an email meeting every year where all of our members are invited to join us to discuss what's going on with the credit union and commentary transparently share exactly how the performance is an and bring to table any bets or maybe. Tell me about yourself for second just how did you get involved and SE tell. I came aboard as he telco about ten years ago. And and joined as a branch manager and sort of raise the ranks since then on my it prior background was with thinking Sarah I crossed ever I'll tell the other side against it say about ten years again like never have looked back I it is then and extremely rewarding career. Where I hear and enable the serve and so many different ways our members. You know it's interesting that you mention that because I ate I have noticed that credit unions that I've been in. There's just sort of this relaxed atmosphere there you know that you go into branch bank a traditional bank. And the customer service may be impeccable I mean they they may be very nice but there's just this sort of air of of attention because they're on that profit making side they're always looking for that that angle to sell something to a customer something like that whereas. It seems like that the credit union employees. Come that it with a real service oriented aspect to their their service. Exactly yes actually one of our core values is to have a servant heart. And so we try I to show our members every single day our servant Har in the way that we treat them and served them and proud to say we know mr. remembers names they come in to CSN aid is a different feeling when you lock into a clicking and. So that transition that she made from a from working in traditional banking Tuesday into working and credit union. Kind of parallels that the transition to somebody might make somebody listening today might be convinced well maybe ought to join a credit union and and give up my bank. Talk a little bit about that transition if somebody wants to join a credit union what they need to do to prepare for that. Eating just go online to check out pretty lenient to find out exactly how he can join at mentioned with the SE telco this hundreds of ways that you can join in chart. I had that you need your listeners are coming CS that really in a craving and our cooperative so whichever credit union. And that initiative. And. What do think that I know I've heard of before about credit unions you always hear one on one of bank and runs advertisements or something let's say. The any mention that their federally insured than they have their that if anything happens to banks that you were deposit accounts. Won't be affecting you you've got insurance effort for the amounts up to a certain total. For that money due credit unions have a similar protection. Yes we actually have the exact same dollar protection on through the national critiquing in administrations and see way. And one of the biggest differences between me and see way in the FDAC is not with the coverage amount but how that is funded so credit unions fund that and see you and Aaron. Whereas the FDIC is funded by taxpayer money. Interest thinks so listen this isn't just kind of continuing that sort of independent spirit that credit unions have between you know membership Brent vs a client relationship. There actually funding their own insurance program. For their depositors yes wow that's fantastic. Talk a little bit I I know another thing that SE token does and presumably other credit unions do as well for their members is some sort of level of financial counseling and literacy talk a little bit about that. Am actually very glad you asked that we recently hired a full time financial literacy coordinators so our mission is to improve the financial lives of our members and two. I just really stand behind that we've hired this full time position. To go out into the community to help members with budgeting and see conduct classes but thank. What sorts of things are people gonna learn in these classes our focus will be on adult literacy and there's a lot of organizations out there and that work with the younger. Demographic and and we hope to be able to educate our older members that on May be never received that education and. You talk about receiving education and I've heard complaints before about the things that we don't teach in school see these days didn't move that. How to handle money how to how to. Balance your checkbook how to pay your taxes things like that. Just don't get taught to it to students these days and I guess it if he's seen that in your membership and that's the reason that that you felt the need for the sort of service. Yes absolutely. You know we I'm reserving a wide a range of members son who are underserved and then some we find it doesn't matter your profession as if he never received that education and you still may not understand how this things work you talk a little bit before the program about program called seemed to win it. He says that isn't very exciting program we just rolled out last September how we worked with legislators here in South Carolina to get that a program approved its price linked savings account. Sale I was previously not allowed in South Carolina because of the lottery I savings. Compel an avid but the way it works is you open up a new certificate a twelve month certificate which is 25 dollars. With every 25 dollar deposit you make into the certificate you get a chance to blend. Instead the prizes are on those aid could senior level and also in national level and said this prizes can be anywhere from 25 dollars up to 5000 dollars so this isn't just a state program is a national program it is for credit unions are okay and what are the prizes that you can. Money money. So it's all about winning money on the would be the same as if he went together and vial lottery ticket instead of doing that coming make a deposit into your savings account into your certificate that money stays there it earns interest during this twelve months and it also earns you a chance to win cash price. Well that's that's very interesting because I happen to know that the lottery is very popular in this state and my here in the upstate people live people buy lottery tickets all the time we hear news stories about somebody who's won no lottery in a particular pit location and not necessarily a big powerball you know hundreds of millions of dollars but they've won. A sizable amount of money 101000 maybe even a 100000 dollars. I just buying scratch off tickets or something at a gas station. This is it this is the same kind of opportunity. And instead of spending the money you you go buy a lottery ticket you give that money to be in the gas station attendant or to the grocery store clerk Peru wherever you decided to buy a lottery ticket. To participate in say the wind you put money in your own account so you have it yes and it earns interest since. Now that's fantastic so. Talk a little bit more about some of the some of the differences between credit unions and traditional banks and know we've we've mentioned it. The had a membership relationships that that you guys have. Are all the same financial services that you would expect at a bank available through credit unions he. They certainly aren't okay. Will you asked earlier online banking I've heard here recently average has on the radio by banks the on the ability to turn your debit card on and off for example again. Yeah they have thousands and thousands of dollars to get that information now on. We did not we still have that same products and our members can also turn their debit cards on an off shock NH he Liz your debit card in the bottom of your purse for example agent turned off until you find it or if you've. Leave it behind in a restaurant where you stole your you know yes absolutely Indy in May be pretty lenient is an at and and you can just go ahead and turn it off. I say so I know identity theft as it is a big problem these days if somebody. Finds that there accounts have been compromised are there similar protections through credit unions the traditional banking might have. Oh yes the protection is exactly the same enemy also offer a product called I. I'm which monitors your credit for you a months long in the notify you if there's an increase. Will notify you if there's a new app purchase made to carry anything. You mentioned debit card tonight at Philly we should go and point out that you guys use the semen. Credit networks that traditional banks use Visa Mastercard that kind of thing. So that you can get an SE telco debit card or credit card that has that that logo on it and use it anywhere that that is accepted at yes he sure can art data cards are master card or credit cards are these. Okay just curious why the difference why why oh why have debit cards on one net network and and credit cards on the other. To offer our members options he we have every one of our members have both or debit card in your member car or in Ender credit card. Gadget so sit again talking about this financial services that are offered through credit unions. That type of credit card that you would get through bank. You can get through a credit union. He can get a new home loans Carla are really lots of different kinds of loans home loans car loans things like that. Edit again better rates than you would normally find at a bank. Yes absolutely and we can finance more lends. Then the banks can because we are able to serve this underserved members as well. You know and the one thing that I've noticed too is that when you have a loan like that through credit union it's with the credit union you know it's not been handed off to some other bank. You talked about that personal relationship that you have with your members if something happens if somebody isn't. Able to make a loan payment in particular. Cycle. You know that they can they can talk to you and and work out a plan to to catch up as opposed to you know having to call. Faceless voice on a an 800 number and and trying to convince them to get to give them the Britney kitten. Our recovery team works re hearing Greenbelt. And it went our members are passed you are having her time they are going to reach out but they're also going to find out what's going on and find out what the story is and see how we can help. One of the things that. That you mentioned earlier was having the servants heart and it really like that about about your organization I know one of the things that you do is that you work with habitat for humanity spend a few minutes talking about that. Yes we've really enjoyed our partnership with habitat for humanity over the last couple of years one thing that we do on that we're quite proud of as we work with habitat to offer all of there. How homeowners is 0% mortgages. 0% yes that's that's better than I can then yeah. So I'm curious and you may not be able to answer this question is it's okay if you can't. Habitat for humanity we've all heard of habitat for humanity we're familiar with the organization to build houses for people who don't have houses team. But it seems like we don't hear as much about the people who get those houses what are the qualifications. For for the people. There are actually receiving the houses that habitat for humanity builds. Well without I'm going specifically in today on I know that anyone can and it can apply to be part of the program and there are lots of qualifications. For on them that they except. I can mention that they have 25 hours it RI is required of classroom time. And and that includes financial literacy so we've been working with them to deliver those classes chi does potential homeowners. And we concentrate on things like budgeting an understanding credit. Instead this ad that has been really ember rewarding. So as far as its SE telco is concerned if they have been vetted by habitat for humanity you are happy to work with. Yes actually link and I we've recently since we've hard this financial literacy coordinator she is. A certified in counseling for budget so we planned to start working with them or not capacity Islam. 25 hours of class time you do you talked about. How does somebody if they're not part of habitat for humanity but they do they want to get involved in these financial literacy classes how they sign up for that. That's exactly Barbara working counts and we we recently hired that financial literacy position and in our working now at CU I am to develop this program her membership and for our communities. So still in development at this point yes but check back I guess the end the website SE telco dot com dot com SE telkom dot com we'll have more information. You mentioned the volunteers on the board he had any other volunteer opportunities three SE telkom. We did we have our board of directors we have our supervisory can any and also our advisory council OK and what sorts of things you would do people do on news. On this councils. Today's they serve that the credit union as a whole and on and actually are application is online as well. That of course our board of directors make all the decisions they Enid aid they get burned. Our our creamy and an ominous supervisory council insurers that we stay in compliance and our advisory council is where we pull from on the tube to get this board. Director seats. Got you so and presumably you need to be a member of the credit union to be able to volunteer for those servers yes as anybody on yes unless the member of the Christians and OK you gotta be a member of the credit union. One of the things that we talk about on this program frequently is how people can get involved either. By donating their money donating their time volunteer opportunities we've talked about but you have to be a member. Are there are other donation opportunities that are available to nom numbers there is it just just members that that your focused on. As far as I'm finding that activities in the community. In our employees we encouraged to donate their time. And it than any money that we raise a would be in intonation Israeli. So those those donations just come from. Inside the employees and its critics an employee not from the member right. All right. You mentioned it SE telco has been around for how many years since 19351935. So better than seventy years or so then what DC. Four SE telco in the next seven years. Wow what a great question and now we you know we have to expand our footprint so that we can serve more members of South Carolina. And it continues you offer the products and services that it is number stranger Sudan and even to think about how banking in general will change over the next 75 to eighty years. Is just amazing to think about you know worry and the the area of Hoover and Amazon and there's so much opportunity out there. You know member expectation in her customer expectations changing its increase seeing and meaning you can say haste Siri. Did this around you know what will be thinking Indian feature. It's. It's from is a fascinating thing to think about I haven't been around for nearly seven years but have been around for a few end. Even just the last twenty or thirty years banking has changed considerably. I mean the the advent of the Internet has has changed things a lot and and that online banking service that she that you mentioned. Has become I would guess the most popular way for people to interact with their financial institution regardless of which one they get they subscribe to. As opposed to going to a regular branch. We still have a lot of traffic in our brand chest and went there are trying to do is educate our members on how much he is the this I digital services because the reality is everybody wants everything at their fingertips. They want to being control of their finances so it's up to us to be sure everyone understands how to use the services. Stay gadget. So one more time for for the folks listening maybe they've been convinced that they wanna try out a credit union. If I if they want to apply for membership thinking go to SE telco dot com. Me and and fill out a membership application can be submitted online or do you need to bring it into a branch. For now you need to come into the branch I remember having to do that okay yes coming in September. You'll be able to join online so we're excited about dads there on the damage we're investing heavily in technology that is us our members are enter Sudan and on us one more way that will be doing that as of now yes please come and SES at my reference applications. So end for any other kind of information that you wanna find SE telco dot com has it has a wealth of information is. Well you have senator earlier and it's really good look at what type of think he and Jessica maker of the vice president of member services for SE telco has been my guest today thank you very much for being here Jessica thank you Chris for having me has been my pleasure. I'm Chris Evans and this has been focused on the upstate. You've been listening to focus on the upstate with Chris Evans if you would like more information on today's topic email Chris. C Evans