There are numerous ways to engage your community, and any retail officer would agree on the importance. Methodologies may differ between an FI with 3 branches and one with 43, but the goal remains the same: to create a lasting and positive impact for the people in the communities that are being served. In doing so, the community FI difference is highlighted.
In order to best serve communities, understanding their specific needs should be the first step. Informed decision-making will serve all tenets of business, of course, but learning and applying what members need generate great overall experience metrics in multiple CU touchpoints. In the case of Elkhart, Indiana, its community members feel a special level of care and attention at INOVA FCU thanks in part to a deeper level of understanding and trust brought about by a program that offers free tailor-made advice for financial planning.
INOVA FCU determined that engaging its community through free financial coaching was one step on the road to building trustful, lasting relationships. Members are encouraged to fill out a short survey, sharing information on their financial goals, from which planning advice can be offered through one-on-one meetings. Samuel Kamwenji, the manager of community relations and business development, hosts “open offices” in community centers where anyone is welcome to stop by and initiate the process. Members are given attention and care that will help better their lives while at INOVA.
It does require time and resources, but the result is clear. Understanding the people you serve and providing a service for their betterment deepens relationships and highlights the difference of doing business with a community FI.
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