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CEO Message: Members’ Lives Change, But Our Mission Stays the Same

Contributed by: Heath Combs

Photo_Marc_SchaeferThe following message was written by our CEO Marc Schaefer.

What is challenging about our mission is in knowing what that actually means in a dynamic, everchanging world. Our 67-year history provides us with some advantages…and some disadvantages.

On the one hand, we have what many financial institutions – and particularly really large ones – have lost: Trust. We have consistently made decisions that support our members’ best interests in building their financial foundations in order to reach their personal goals. We have not sought to profit from selling services to members that they did not need or could not reasonably afford. We’ve kept our rates on both savings and loans competitive and avoided unnecessary fees that sap the ability to build wealth. While others play games with marketing, we’ve followed basic best practices like not advertising a loan rate unless at least half of our members would actually qualify. Many of our practices have gone unnoticed, but our members seem to know they can trust Truliant and the staff they work with to treat them right.

A disadvantage of being in the financial services business for more than six decades is that you can become type-cast as a stodgy, old, boring business that perhaps has lost touch with the needs and lifestyle of emerging younger consumers. Even though Truliant’s founding members sprung from Western Electric/AT&T/Bell Labs and technological innovation is in our DNA, we’ve had to overcome the downsides of the image of a traditional credit union.

Convenience is paramount as we live our busy lives experiencing the time-saving, helpful features of our smart phones, voice-activated data access (Alexa, Google Home), online shopping with fast and free home delivery, computer assisted driving aids, augmented reality (Augment, Google Earth), and much more to come. Truliant has invested in up-to-date online and mobile technologies that provide the level of digital and data-driven services that consumers expect today and will demand of their financial service partner in the future.

We’ve engaged specially trained and area-expert Truliant team members as catalysts to spread the innovation framework throughout the credit union. They take deep dives into our members’ experiences to design better tools. We know how important ease of-use is to the digital journey. Ours is full service: you can join Truliant, receive guidance on the products and services best aligned to your needs, apply for loans, open accounts and transact with us via your mobile device, tablet, and online.

Finally, Advice in the best interest of our members is where we’ve truly been able to make a difference. With our network of more than 30 locations where we can interact directly with members, providing advice is a natural part of our daily mission. However, as the digital revolution catches fire with so many consumers (many whom we rarely or never have the pleasure of welcoming into our physical Member Financial Centers), we’ve had to be more intentional in imbedding elements of advice into our member interactions online and in mobile access.

Through our new digital guidance tool – which helps with financial decision making – we recorded more than 12,000 sessions in 2018. This tool helps guide members to the appropriate credit union product based on the user’s needs. It is not a perfect substitute for our in-person TruFinancial Check-up, but it is a good option for those who prefer the digital-only interaction.

To achieve our mission, Truliant must stay attuned to our members’ lives even as they rapidly change how they access our services and evolve their expectations about how we can help them improve their lives. Not only do we accept that challenge; we are energized by the opportunity and committed to each member’s
vision for their future.

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