Work at a credit union: Know the career
Steve Jobs stared at his reflection in the mirror every morning and asked a simple question. "If today were the last day of my life, would I want to do what I am about to do today?" For some people who work at big banks, the answer, more often than not, is a disappointing "no." What they don't realize is that there are opportunities and places where they can do the same things and be even happier.
People employed by credit unions have many of the same job functions, but their response to the mirror is different. They are typically happy with their jobs and energized by their work. The environment in which they work is far removed from that of a bank: They are appreciated by their managers, the opportunities in their career are abundant, and the pay is competitive or above-market.
"We have found that employees who come from a large bank feel that the credit union environment allows them to provide a higher level of customer service," said one manager from a credit union.
One credit union employee echoed the observation, saying, "Working for a credit union is like a breath of fresh air. They truly care about their employees."
This second article in a three-part series discusses the nature of a career in credit unions and why you should consider a position in this sector.
Why work at a credit union instead?
Large banks are, by nature, sales-driven. With sales targets come strict quotas. And when you have to meet the required figures - daily, weekly, monthly, quarterly and even annually - you find yourself under a lot of pressure to hit your sales targets.
This is not the case at credit unions, which are not as sales-driven as banks; therefore the work environment is less stressful. What's more, they almost always offer year-end bonuses to employees across the board - from the teller to the CEO.
The nature of the business is important
Credit unions are member-owned, which provides more flexibility with pay rates than an incorporated bank, which must pay out dividends to shareholders. The expense of running a candidate through the vetting gauntlet - interviews, background checks, reference calls and drug tests - means credit unions want to retain every employee they hire.
As a result, they try to keep them happy from day one, paying market rate at a minimum.
Career growth and satisfaction matter
The starting pay for entry-level positions is very similar at both banks and credit unions. Banks pay more for high-level roles, but credit unions compensate all employees with generous year-end bonuses. The management believes that all members of their team deserve to be compensated for the success of the organization.
Credit unions also offer advancement from one role to the next approximately every two years. When an employee retires, which is how most employees leave a credit union, the institution will attempt to find someone to replace the retiree with someone who has equal experience. That creates an impetus to hire internally, building a pipeline from teller to CEO.
The key to experiencing the opportunities that a career at a credit union has to offer is to begin work there as soon as possible. That way, you will have ample time to find the type of work you like to do and to work your way up the ladder.
Credit unions offer a plethora of career opportunities, from the tellers in the local branch to corporate work in the fraud department, consumer lending department or real estate lending department. The breadth of work available gives employees the opportunity to grow their skills in whichever direction they choose, ensuring they never have to tell the mirror "no" a day in their life.
In the final part of this three-part series, we will discuss the people behind the organization, what makes them the ideal employees for credit unions, and what drives them to serve their community better.