BP Federal Credit Union

Consumers Increasingly Find Credit Unions Offer More than Traditional Banks

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Quietly, a major shift is taking place in the financial services industry. Over the past ten years, roughly 28 million consumers have chosen to use a credit union as their primary bank. And credit unions continue adding members at a record pace.

Robert Corolla, CEO of BP Federal Credit Union based in Houston Texas, attributes this phenomenon to two things: better rates for lenders and depositors, and credit unions’ reputation for helping people rather than making a profit.

“Historically, credit unions started as a grassroots movement of people,” explains Corolla. “Credit unions are still controlled by its members, for the benefit of its members... not those of stockholders.”

BPFCU, like other credit unions is experiencing a tremendous growth rate. “Awareness is growing. In the last eight years, lending portfolio has tripled, and we are planning for aggressive deposit/member growth in the near future,” says Corolla, who has had a birds-eye view of the non-profit organization’s growth for 27 years. Starting as a teller, he worked his way up through the ranks to eventually be selected as CEO.

Corolla is only one of many BPFCU employees with a long tenure. More than half of the team members have been with the credit union for a decade or more. “We experience very little turnover, due in large part to the tremendous sense of personal fulfillment our team members feel as they serve the needs of the credit union members,” he explains. “Unlike traditional bank employees, our professionals are not just order takers; they become personal advocates for our members. Their only concern is how they can make a positive difference in someone’s financial life.”

A Lifetime of Savings and Personal Attention

BPFCU is sponsored by international energy giant BP, a major employer in the Houston area. Membership is open to all employees of BP and BP vendors, as well as their families, with as little as $25 to open an account. Once a member, eligibility is permanent.

Directed by a volunteer board of directors from the local communities, BPFCU is a non-profit organization. All earnings are continually plowed right back into the pockets of members in the form of savings and over-the-top services. For example, at the time of this writing, BPFCU money market accounts payed four times that of one of the largest financial services companies in the world. And, it offered a 5-year CD paying 3%. Returns on interest-bearing checking accounts are also higher than average.

Borrowers benefit from competitive rates on credit cards and loans for homes, vehicles, personal use, recreational activities, home equity, home improvement, and lines-of-credit. They also enjoy the benefits of membership -- personal relationships with BPFCU’s administration. Lending decisions are made locally, without unnecessary red tape, in order to take advantage of opportunities as they arise. “It’s never an interruption when a member wants to come and talk about their financial needs,” says Corolla. “My office door is always open, and we encourage members to speak with us.”

Fortunately, this old-fashioned personal attention doesn’t mean members have to forgo the convenience of modern banking practices. In addition to its three branches, BPFCU has 55,000 surcharge-free ATMs worldwide, online banking 24/7, and mobile technology for check deposit via phone or tablet.

“Every new technology and service we introduce is chosen based on its potential to improve the lives of our members,” says Corolla. “And we will continue to stay on the leading edge so our members will always enjoy outstanding service that is easy, convenient and flexible.”

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