In March 2020, American society and the economy were thrown into uncertainty by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many people were already struggling with their finances, and the pandemic only made things worse as financial institutions temporarily closed their doors. Amid a global health crisis, many consumers could not speak to someone at their bank or credit union or access their accounts and funds easily.
However, members of OnPoint Community Credit Union didn’t have to endure any of those hardships.
OnPoint Community CU recently concluded its largest expansion to date, opening 20 new locations in Fred Meyer stores across Oregon and Southwest Washington. The credit union managed $8.8 billion in assets for more than 450,000 members. And each of those branches maintains the freedom to meet the needs of the communities they call home.
“We are a decentralized credit environment,” said Tory McVay, Senior VP and Chief Retail Officer at OnPoint Community CU. “Our branches are on the front lines making the loan decisions.”
That means branches have the autonomy to do what’s best for their members. From financial services to educational resources and philanthropic support, each OnPoint Community CU branch is empowered to provide personalized customer care.
It is all part of the credit union’s institutional mission to help members lead more financially and socially sustainable lives.
Customer service meets members where they are
OnPoint Community CU prides itself on service and flexibility, and offers opportunities for members to bank in their preferred ways. It also aims to ensure members understand their options and how they can best take advantage of them.
“Members have told us that they want more choices on how they interact with us,” McVay said. “We want to meet members where they are at and provide options for our members to interact with us in person, over the phone, or digitally — whatever works for them — and not put them in a box and dictate how we want them to communicate with us and interact with us.”
Member options include scheduling appointments with staff, which eliminates wait times in lobbies, and opening accounts digitally without entering a branch. For those who prefer in-person banking, but want to avoid crowds for health reasons, OnPoint Community CU also offers curbside service.
OnPoint Community CU works to keep its members safe with a variety of digital options.
“We’re here to provide a service because we want to help continue to keep people safe,” McVay said. “We’ll do whatever we can for our members.”
Another way OnPoint Community CU keeps members safe is through remote capture transactions. While it isn’t a new offering, it has seen increased usage since early 2020.
“We showed members how easy it was to make a deposit either at ATMs or through their phone, and they’ve leaned into that technology,” McVay said.
Consultations and online courses help meet challenges
OnPoint Community CU has also given special consideration to members struggling through the COVID-19 pandemic. The credit union has allowed them to skip payments, waived minimum payment restrictions on certain loans, provided some loans at 0% interest and waived charges for early withdrawals from CDs.
“We quickly gathered the team and looked at what we could do with our current products and services to help members out in this time of need,” McVay said.
Additionally, OnPoint Community CU has offered free consultations with its financial advisors. Members can receive advice and guidance on managing their credit, budgeting, and starting emergency savings funds at a time when all of those strategies are more crucial than ever.
“There are no strings attached to making an appointment to speak with our financial advisors,” McVay said. “This is a complimentary consultation that we’re happy to offer as a credit union for our community.”
OnPoint Community CU has also partnered with Enrich to offer digital, interactive educational courses. Members who don’t have the time to sit down with an advisor can engage in self-directed learning at their own convenience. The program provides education on budgeting, planning for retirement, managing credit, and other crucial financial topics.
“Our education manager is deeply involved in that, and we have a tool on our website that members and nonmembers can access,” McVay said. “We’re early into Enrich, and we continue to look at opportunities to build that out even further and add more programs to the system to help our community find financial success.”
Educational efforts boost financial literacy
OnPoint Community CU doesn’t just offer financial education online and at its branches. It is also active in public schools by delivering financial literacy resources to students and preparing them for healthier financial futures.
“In 2019, we engaged 3,500 students with personal financial education and equipped them with skills to achieve their own financial well-being, and we’re proud of that,” McVay said.
That success results from OnPoint Community CU’s partnership with the Oregon Schools Activities Association to continue making inroads with students. It also enables the credit union to offer age-appropriate instruction and educational materials to young learners. Management team members are even working toward instructor certification to renew in-person efforts once they can safely return to classrooms.
In the meantime, OnPoint Community CU is offering Enrich content to schools and educators. That puts resources at instructors’ fingertips when they’re teaching financial lessons.
“A lot of school districts found themselves in need of online financial educational material, Enrich was already built for that,” McVay said. “It has a lot of great curriculum for educators teaching segments of personal finance.”
The credit union also brings financial literacy to other locations where it is needed.
“We’ve even worked with individuals who have been incarcerated or recently released from prison and need financial education,” McVay said. “It’s rewarding, and it’s important to the community.”
People with criminal records often face challenges in finding gainful employment and earning a living. As a result, they have a significant, often unmet, need for guidance on managing their money and creditworthiness. OnPoint Community CU’s efforts help prevent their financial disenfranchisement and puts them on a path to financial success despite their past.
OnPoint Community CU: expanding service to underserved consumers
OnPoint Community CU is in the process of expanding its presence in Oregon neighborhoods. The largest branch expansion in the brand’s history will see 20 new locations opening inside Fred Meyer stores. That is a financial space that OnPoint Community CU was eager to fill.
“We are moving into new markets and communities we haven’t been in before,” McVay said. “Any time that happens, there’s an opportunity to help invest in that neighborhood and community. We’re really excited about making a real difference in each of these communities.”
OnPoint Community CU is expanding its reach by opening more branches in 2021.
By expanding its service area, OnPoint is also expanding its commitment to community financial wellness, which extends far beyond services and education.
“In 2020 alone, we donated more than $1.65 million just in direct response to the region’s vast financial challenges and growing community needs,” McVay said. “We supported 318 nonprofit organizations in Oregon and Southwest Washington, focusing on diversity, equity, inclusion, education, youth services, and community development.”
OnPoint Community CU promotes volunteerism by offering paid time off that employees can use to volunteer with charitable organizations. That paid time off is also unlimited if their work is educational. By incentivizing employees to make a positive impact, OnPoint Community CU ensures more people can access financial education as well as beneficial products and services, providing them with a path to financial stability and success.
Editorial Note: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.