Perhaps you’ve seen her smiling face at the St. Cloud branch. Perhaps she’s helped you with one of your recent transactions. Olivia Lynch, a Member Advisor at Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union in St. Cloud liked being a member so much, she decided to become an employee a little over a year ago. She describes life at Affinity Plus as selfless – a place where employees go above and beyond and care about member needs before their own. Read more about why Lynch made the switch, and what life has been like going from member to employee.
Why did you become an Affinity Plus Member? I chose to switch my banking to Affinity Plus after spending 5 years dreading going to my “big bank.” I didn’t like feeling pressured every time I stepped into the building. It was that pressure to open accounts that I didn’t need, having products I didn’t need shoved in my face, the whole place just felt uncomfortable and cold. When I walked into Affinity Plus for the first time, it felt so warm. People were laughing, the whole atmosphere felt so much more comfortable. Now working here, I know that we would never suggest anything that didn’t make financial sense for the member. I know it firsthand and I see my teammates working that way, too.
What’s an example of how you’re looking out for members? Our investment advisor Alex just told us a story about a member who came to him to chat about some accounts she had at a different credit union. This particular lady had huge accounts at this other financial and she was thinking about moving that money to Affinity Plus. After looking through the details of her account at the other credit union, he felt like she would get the most benefit from keeping her money where it was at. Her biggest complaint about the other financial was that she didn’t have anyone that she worked with over there. Since this particular credit union isn’t far from us, our financial advisor took this lady personally to the other credit union, explained who he was and that she truly would benefit more financially from staying where she is, and that she needs an advisor to work with. I’m sure the guy thought Alex was crazy, but it’s all about what is best for the member, even if we don’t acquire a large account. I know she feels supported by Affinity Plus and will grow what she does have with us.
From member, to employee. Tell us, what made you decide to make a career at Affinity Plus? After I switched my membership to Affinity Plus, I noticed immediately that the branch felt warm and inviting. People smiled, small talk was had, it was a different. I started to get to know the employees, I really enjoyed the conversations that we had and that they remembered that I had a daughter. Such genuinely kind people! I would chat with the managers from time to time, and I was encouraged to apply for a position. I let them know that I was already working full-time, but that I would think about it. That scenario happened a couple more times and I finally decided that teaching piano lessons full-time was fun, but working full- time without benefits wasn’t what my family needed. I let my St. Cloud Affinity Plus know that I put in an application, and the rest is history!
What were your first few days like? I loved getting to meet President and CEO, Dave Larson, during my week-long training! It was so nice to see the values of the company starting from the top. I knew that Caring, Excellence, and Integrity were Affinity Plus’ values and they really aligned with my personal values. Truly putting people first, genuinely caring about them, all of those things were so obviously important to the company. It made me so proud that I got to be a part of this place! There was a lot to learn, but Affinity Plus is great about making sure us employees feel supported.
What is your day-to-day like? I get to spend my days seeing lots of different people in so many different financial places! We run basic transactions, or chat about financial goals, we get to know our members kids names, and fur-baby names, I get to open new memberships and go over credit with people in our communities. Every day is a little bit different, and every day we get to have really neat interactions with people in our community. I have members who call me on a regular basis to look over their accounts, offer advice on debt management, and get encouragement when budgeting gets hard. I get to celebrate with them when they pay off loans that they have been struggling to whittle down for a long time. I had a conversation with a member and he let me know that his child, a super sweet kid who had seemed healthy, was diagnosed with diabetes and it took their family by surprise. They got a care package in the mail with a handwritten card. We definitely treat our members like family.
What do you love most about working at Affinity Plus? Affinity Plus has been my absolute favorite place to work. The vibe is so different. It’s so kind and so caring. We stay late and we don’t complain, because we care about the people who choose to do their banking here. We want to help them feel confident in their finances and enjoy coming to the branch or calling. It’s an honor to feel the passion of this place!
In one word, how would you describe life at Affinity Plus? One word to describe Affinity Plus: selfless. We care about others needs before our own - it makes me so proud!
If you could tell anyone why they should become an Affinity Plus member, what would you tell them? All of the benefits! The products are designed to help you save money, and we have free services for investing, and estate planning. There are so many ways we try to help! Your financial institution should care about your financial goals. We are here to educate and guide members to a place where they feel confident with their financial picture. There is never a hidden agenda! We are member owned and our decisions are made to try to benefit our membership community. It’s truly amazing!