Sunday, May 28, 2006

Give Us Your Phone Numbers People!

Here is what I love about blogging – I can say something like – give me your phone number!

In the newsletter, I have to use marketing-speak – something to the affect of “in order to help protect yourself against fraud, please ensure we have your most updated phone number”. In a blog, I can say, ‘ok, I know when you move, changing your address and phone number is a huge pain in the rump, but you need to do it. Put it on your list. Make it your mid-year resolutions; whatever you need to do, but do it.”

I can also tell stories. For example, last month I went to a conference in Florida. It was hosted by Fidelity, the company that processes our credit cards. I took a tour of their facility. It is huge. It has this X-files like call center that stretches out as far as the eye can see. Fidelity handles over a million calls each month.

One of the things we pay Fidelity to do is use a high tech behavioral software that monitors all of your credit card transactions. As soon as it spots something that is contrary to your normal behavior, it calls you. For example, in 2002, I had back to back conferences – a direct lending conference in Las Vegas and then the World Council of Credit Unions in Poland. Since the system had never seen me go from Seattle to Vegas to Warsaw in a 48 hour time span, it called my home. My husband verified that my card had not been stolen and all was good.

Back to this monolithic call center at Fidelity. They call tens of thousands of people each month to make sure their credit cards are not in the hands of thieves and one out of every three calls they make reaches a number that is old. ONE IN THREE! How are we supposed to protect you against fraud if we can’t get ahold of you when we suspect you are being a victim?

It’s us against the bad guys. And when you think about it – when are you most vulnerable? When you first move. That is the time when some things go to your new address and some to your old. You probably fall behind on your mail because you have so much to take care of. You are getting new bills that you hadn’t gotten before. You probably are not paying as much attention to your finances because there is so much other stuff going on. That is the time when thieves can strike and strike hard. It is exactly the time when we need your phone number so we can help do our part to keep you safe from fraud.

So, give us your phone number. Oh, and one other thing, if you are ever going to travel to someplace you haven’t traveled before, better let us know. It could save everyone time.

Our current phone number is 800-444-4589.

Thursday, May 25, 2006

EFy Award Winner - June

One of Verity's core values states, "Our success flows from focus on our members." The winner of this month's Extrondinary Feats Award (EFy) won because of her constant focus on making the lives of both our members and her co-workers better everyday. Here is the nomination submitted on her behalf:

I would like to nominate Regine Smith

Regine has been someone that has inspired me at the credit union. I had the pleasure of working with her when she started in our Member Service Center. What struck me most was how she was always so friendly and helpful with our members. When an opportunity to work in our Loan Control Department became available she moved into a new function. She was able to use her past experiences in this field to help our members in making their loan payments. I have heard from multiple members that they really respect the honest way she treats them. She still helps support our Member Service Center by taking calls from members who need help setting up payment arrangements. Everyone appreciates the friendly way she deals with both us and the members she talks to. Sometimes doing extraordinary things simply involves making the lives of our members and her co-workers better. She definitely does this and therefore I believe should win this month’s EFy Award.

Monday, May 22, 2006

Safety Net

This weekend I have been thinking a lot about how important it is to have a safety net. Safety net, nest egg, savings account. Call it whatever you want to it is all the same. Lately, it seems like financial concerns are coming up all around me and not just because I work at a financial institution. It does not seem that people nowadays plan for the worst case scenario. I do not want to sound like a pessimist, but what if my two income household becomes a single income household overnight? Doesn't that seem like something I should plan for now? Better yet, everyone should think about?
There is such a big emphasis on planning for your children's future and making sure you save up for a good college. How about saving for a mortgage payment? I think that financial planners should focus on the real facts that a single or married without kids household would realistically need to save for. Of course, retirement is another thing to save for. However, having somewhere to live for a couple months if out of work would be high on my list also!

Verity Haiku

State or quality
Being honest, true and real
We are Verity

Friday, May 05, 2006

Extrodinary Feats in Service - April's Winner

Any successful organization has employees that not only provide extrodinary service to the members they serve but also to their fellow employees. This creates an organization that is able to provide a high level of service no matter who you go to. The winner of this month's EFy Award does just this and directly contributes to our mission statement of, "Enhancing members' lives through exceptional financial service."

Here is the nomination made on her behalf:

I would like to nominate Lisa Federspiel for the EFy Award. I believe she should win because of the extraordinary impact she has on both employees and members. However in this nomination I would like to focus on the impact she has on her fellow employees. Personally I rely on her to help with tough loan decisions. When I ask for help she not only provides excellent advice she does it in a way that I never feel like I am imposing on her time. Furthermore she explains the reasoning behind her decisions, empowering me to be able to make them in the future. This directly leads to me being able to give better service to our members.

I have also heard that Lisa helped in the creation of a consumer lending internship. My understanding is this internship has been a way for Lisa to further share her knowledge in developing staff to be effective at looking at loans.

I truly appreciate all she contributes and hope she is recognized.