Working for a High Street Bank vs. Working for a Credit Union

Happy Saint Patrick’s Day! Members!

This Month, our hardworking Member Solutions Officer – Hayden Brenen would like to share his experiences working at a High Street Bank, and his motivation for career change working at the Credit Union.

A highly recommended story for anyone interested in a new career path.

Having spent 5 years working at a High Street Retail Bank, changing career to working for a Credit Union has been eye opening.

The main difference I experienced on my first day at CroydonPlus, was the ethos and attitude towards ‘members’ rather than the ‘customers’ of the High Street Bank. It seemed that both the staff and the members had a mutual understanding of what a Credit Union is. The language and terminology used was different, more friendly, and personal. Rather than the transactional feeling of paying a bill or depositing a cheque for a bank ‘Customer’ and talking about the weather out of politeness the rapport between members and staff here was on a much more caring level.

It also seemed much less sales/pressure orientated and more about actually putting the member first, discussing financial and personal situations to ascertain what a member needs actually were rather than being told to offer them products that a CRM machine has prompted you to do. I very much liked this human aspect in a world where we rely on technology to decide much of our lives (that said the computer systems here seemed older than me when I arrived!).

Working for a smaller organisation also gave me the freedom to not be micromanaged and have targets set by a multimillionaire CEO, instead I was trusted to get on with the job and make decisions as long as justification was there.

Although I started here during a pandemic, I have still been able to see some of our members and hearing stories of how we have helped them – whether it be for food, rent, home renovations, cars etc. has only solidified my belief that I made the right career change.

High Street Banking is extremely repetitive doing the same things over and over without much gratification or sense of accomplishment, perhaps because of the areas I worked in. I have found working for CroydonPlus Credit Union more emotionally straining as some situations are difficult to deal with but the feeling of making a difference and finding solutions for people in the local area with real problems is much more rewarding. We get to interact and help people from all walks of life and every member has their own story (most of which are very happy to share with us!) which makes this place so unique.

High Street Banking isn’t all bad however, it is safe and routine. Whereas working at a Credit Union is a challenge daily that keeps us all on our toes and the relationship with our members makes us want to do all we can to support them. Everyone buys into the ethos of a Credit Union and understands the need for communities to pool together and help one another – especially during these testing times.

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