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​Where You Bank Matters, A Message from Our President and CEO

Contributed by: Heath Combs

This message was recently delivered by our President and CEO Marc Schaefer at our Matthews, NC Member Financial Center branch relocation grand opening. 

Credit Unions are sometimes confused with banks because we provide financial services. What always impresses me when we open a new location is thinking about the lives that will be improved here.

Truliant will spend a lot of time talking with individuals about their long-term goals. 

One example I often give is that when someone comes through the door and wants a $50,000 car loan, sometimes they walk out with a $25,000 car loan.

That may sound disappointing, but because we’re interested in their long-term financial health, they can still get a perfectly nice car, but they can also start an education fund for their pre-teen.

Why? Because we want to provide financial guidance that helps our members improve their lives. As a member-owned financial cooperative, that’s what we do.

Unfortunately some of us in the financial world have become are very familiar with some numbers. If I said 185 million, you might think about the fine from Wells Fargo’s recent fake account opening scandal.

If I said two million, you might think about the two million accounts that were opened for consumers who didn’t want them.  Or if I said 5,300, you might think about the number of Wells Fargo employees who were fired because they felt pressure to open accounts that consumers didn’t really ask for.

I could also mention another $400,000 in fees that those consumers paid for products they didn’t ask for.

Why are these numbers important? Because culture matters. And people matter. Consumers matter. For a financial cooperative like Truliant, a scandal like this would not happen, because we’re here to improve your lives.

Years and years ago we filled orders, much like a lot of financial institutions. You came to the door. You wanted a car loan. We did it very efficiently.

But we don’t do that anymore. We haven’t done this in over a decade.

We decided we wanted to know who our members are and what their long-term goals are. We call that your why. Yes, you are going to end up needing a loan. Or products and services we offer. But they’re going to be related to your life and improving your life long-term.

It’s unfortunate that the example of Wells Fargo highlights the difference between Truliant and your traditional for-profit financial institutions. The mega banks have a tough job because they have to weigh the benefit to the stockholder, the shareholder and the consumer. But often that swings more toward the stockholder and Wells Fargo’s “Eight is Great” battle cry.

If on average, if the consumer had eight products, they were profitable for the Wells Fargo. That couldn’t be right. I might need three products. And you might need 12. It’s a call that comes from what is profitable for the bank.

Truliant’s mission comes from what’s good for our members. People matter, consumers matter, and each person, member, and their why in life really matters to Truliant.

The great thing about opening a new Truliant location, or visiting any of our soon-to-be 33 locations, is that what happens here are conversations about how we help consumers make better choices and improve their lives.

Thank you for being a part of Truliant.  

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