As a credit union, we can be rather humble about what we do in our jobs day to day. We know that we help people through some of the toughest times of their lives, but it’s just what we do.
You might think I am being dramatic. The toughest times? What does that have to do with my credit union or bank? Well, a lot! Money has a seriously big role in your life when you think about it. Maybe you live paycheck to paycheck, or maybe you don’t have enough money saved for a big emergency. A good example of this came from a story someone once told me about how your finances affect your health. The story went something like, “a man was at the doctor for high blood pressure. The doctor told him to reduce his stress. The man, let’s call him Greg, said, ‘If you want me to have less stress then pay my electricity bill.’” This story really put it into perspective for me, because he was right! Money can be one of the most stressful parts of your life. So much so that it can literally affect your health.
We want to help people like Greg. Or those people that really need a loan in a crisis situation. Or a long-time member who just can’t make their payment this month because of a life event. We hope to have that relationship with you and be a part of your life. We want to help you achieve your dreams! That’s why we believe it’s so much better to belong than just bank.
Credit unions were originally created to serve the under-served. In the early 1900’s, “people were poor, interest rates were financially crippling, and the credit union offered a way out.” The idea was that “a person’s desire to repay (character) would be considered more important than the ability (income) to repay; they were, after all, borrowing their own money and that of their friends1” who were the other members of the credit union.
Here at Great Basin, we love what we do, and we love being able to help those members who maybe don’t stand a chance at a big bank where the rates really can be crippling. We care about our members, we are more flexible with policies, and we believe in those 100+ year old credit union philosophies!
Here is a story about a real member whose changed by coming through our doors. These are the members that remind us of the bigger picture and why we do what we do.
Note: names have been changed for the purpose of anonymity.
“As I sit to write-up this success story, I hesitate, unsure of how to begin. The story is interlaced with such profound grief that it feels strange calling it a “success story,” and, yet, it really is a success; we helped a member coping with the tragic loss of his son bear his hardship.
The sad story started months ago when our member, Joe, began having unexplained seizures. The doctors were unsure of the cause, so they began running tests in an attempt to find answers and help Joe. Unfortunately, at the same time that he was undergoing these tests, Joe‘s life started to crumble along with his health. His license was revoked, due to his medical situation, and the loss of his job followed. Then tragically, while home alone one evening, Joe had a seizure. He fell, fatally hitting his head, not to be found until days later.
Joe had been a member with Great Basin for some time, and along with his accounts with us, he held a loan for a motorcycle, a cherished Harley. Joe had fallen behind on his Harley payments after the loss of his job. During that period, our collections department did everything they could in an attempt to help him keep the motorcycle, understanding the health problems he faced.
Shortly after Joe’s death, his father came into Sparks Crossing and spoke with Audrey, the branch manager. Audrey had known Joe personally, so this was a difficult conversation for her. However, it was both her kindness and the knowledge she had of Joe that helped to assuage the feelings of grief the father felt for his son. During their conversation, the father expressed his desire to keep Joe’s motorcycle if he could, as the bike had meant so much to his son he didn’t want to part with it. Audrey discussed the options with him, and she then reached out to the collections department to explain the situation. Thanks to them, he is working to keep his son’s motorcycle, and he is grateful.
Additionally, Joe also had a truck loan with another Credit Union, and we were able to approve the father for a personal loan so that he could pay off that loan and refinance the truck with us. He is forever thankful that we were able to put ourselves in his shoes and do everything we could to help him during this tragic time.
In fact, in gratitude, he came back a week after getting his personal loan with us to move all of his accounts to GB from US Bank. I was lucky enough to sit down with him recently and open these accounts and take his application for an advance line of credit. The appreciation that he had for the kindness and understanding he had been shown at Great Basin was apparent. He is still mourning the terrible loss, but we did help him feel less alone in his grief.
We deal in transactions here at Great Basin, but it’s important for us to always remember that our members are people and it is our relationships with them that make our credit union special.”
This is just one story in the scope of our entire story, and we can’t wait to share more.