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“I know how you feel, I’ve been there,”
said no banking chatbox…ever.
Like other modern financial institutions, Oregonians Credit
Union (Oregonians) embraces all the best that advanced
financial technology offers. Unlike most, Oregonians jealously
guards its personal relationships with 21,000 members in
western and central Oregon and beyond.
“We love what technology can do for our
members, making it easier and less timeconsuming
to access the services they need.
We also love the savings that automated
processes generate for our member-owned
organization. But we refuse to let technology
disrupt us from taking a very high touch
approach to service,” explains Sam Launius,
who has been with Oregonians for 14 years
and became CEO in 2018.
Since its founding in 1937, Oregonians has been built on the idea of member connectedness. The inclusion of advanced
technology is an enhancement that allows Oregonians to continue and strengthen relationships with members.
“Traditional for-profit banks use technology to improve their bottom line. For example, most are closing one brick-andmortar
branch after another and substituting ‘face-time’ with customers for remote banking. We see technology as
an opportunity to invest more of our time on genuinely personal attention to members…that includes enhancing and
modernizing our local branches,” explains Launius.
Oregonians’ commitment to member services is pervasive throughout the organization. Employees are hired, in part,
based on their willingness to serve. The entire staff is continually trained to find new ways to help members achieve
their goals. The emphasis is on relationships rather than transactions and financial guidance rather than sales.
“We view every member contact as an opportunity to find ways we can improve lives,” says Launius. “For example, a
member visited one of our branches to ask about a home equity loan. By taking the time to dig a little deeper, asking more
questions, we found we could offer her a much better alternative. By refinancing her first mortgage, she got the funds she
needed while reducing her mortgage payments, saving $72,000 over the life of the loan and allowing her to pay off the
mortgage five years sooner. We could have easily approved the home equity loan and she would have been satisfied, but
our purpose is to explore every avenue to find member savings.”
For another member, extra effort from Oregonians meant the difference between getting the assistance she needed
or being denied. Despite her excess credit card debt and misdirected attempts to raise her fairly poor credit score, the
member applied for an auto loan. Denial was, understandably, automatic. But rather than simply writing her off as a bad
risk, Oregonians went the extra mile. They reached out to her and, without being judgmental, advised her to take some
steps that improved her credit score in 30 days. Thereafter, she qualified for an auto loan with Oregonians, saving her
$6,000 over the life of the loan. If she sticks with the financial plan Oregonians provided her, she’ll pay off all her debt
in half the time and pay half the amount of interest.
Personalized service is not limited to members who contact one of
Oregonians’ seven branches. Because the staff are trained to be
truly financial guides, they are vigilant to identify often-overlooked
issues. Proactive calls are made to alert members about important
issues that need attention. For example, an account may have no
beneficiaries or the beneficiaries on an account might be outdated.
Seems inconsequential. However, incorrect documentation can tie up
funds for over six months and cost thousands of dollars for a deceased
“We are driven to improve each member’s
financial health; that is the sole reason for our
existence. A call, email, or text to us about a
financial question isn’t an interruption to our
day,” concludes Launius. “It is our mandate to
create educated financial consumers who have
knowledge and an entire staff of professionals
working on their behalf.”
Oregonians Credit Union is federally insured by NCUA and is an Equal Housing Lender.
6915 SE Lake Road, Milwaukie, OR 97267.
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