CU About Town
In a county described as "over-banked and over-credit unioned," Workers' Credit Union stands out.
Certainly, being the largest home-turf financial institution in Worcester gives it an edge over fleet branches, regional banks and
But those familiar with its 89-year history agree that most of the credit for the large leap in assets and loan volume in recent years
"Everything we learned in the banking world-from how to run a checking account to human resources-is no different here.''
An Ex-Banker Moves On
Since Healey left the banking industry in 1995 after too many "consolidations and meltdowns,'' he has led WCU into the 21st
What drew him back, perhaps, was the philosophy he learned "back about 100 years ago'' when he started his financial career
"I learned a lot about the credit union philosophy and just assumed that was the standard of the (financial) industry,'' he said. "But
OK, so it took him 30 years to return to his roots, but now that he's back, Healey appears firmly planted. Under his command,
Admittedly, it took some effort, an extremely supportive and knowledgeable board of directors and top-quality staff to get to this
"Over a period of three years, when all of the existing managers relocated or moved on, they were replaced by top-quality people
The board shrank to nine members from 11, implemented term limits and charged Healey with appointing a nominating
"I am so blessed to have a board that works with management,'' Healey said. "And management that works with the board.''
Talking Turkey With The Chairman
To keep the lines of communication open, the top staff and board chairman attend a team-building retreat sponsored by the Credit
"You get to talk turkey with your chairman,'' he said. "I wouldn't miss that for anything.''
While there is no power struggle, he admits it took some time for him to earn their trust. And there was that one disagreement.
"Way back, the management team put together a nice draft of a proposal that we would embrace a local supermarket chain and
Unfortunately, Healey said, the board did not agree. "Conceptually, they thought it was a good plan, but we didn't have a
While he doesn't have regrets, Healey said he occasionally feels pangs of jealousy when he walks into a supermarket and sees a
There were so many other changes to be made that they did agree on, this one seemed relatively minor. For starters, they had to
"When I got here, there were only two PCs in the whole credit union,'' he said. "We immediately went to work on that
By 1996, the CU had an interactive website with online banking capabilities. A year later, the board of directors each had their
In 2001, the CU formed Workers' Financial Services, a wholly-owned CUSO that provides stocks, insurance, auto leasing, a 24-
Investments were also made to upgrade or rebuild branches that Healey said "lacked curb appeal and the aura of credit unioning.
Healey said the main office redeveloped and expanded to include a multi-lane drive up area for members and a cafeteria for
"Happy employees make happy members,'' he said, adding that staff treat new employees as people who "choose'' WCU over
Careful Hiring Process
That said, the CU staff is careful about whom they hire. "Every employee goes through a battery of testing on aptitude and how
Healey also hired two full-time training professionals to oversee Achieve Global, an ongoing training program designed to keep
"We expect our people to be the best resource our members have,'' he said. "To accomplishment that-training, training and more
The 171 employees are often tested via mystery shoppers to determine where they are shaking hands, making eye contact and
And, according to a recent member satisfaction survey that scored at nearly 100%, efforts aren't going unnoticed by members,
"Right after being hired I was put onto the Chamber (of Commerce) board, the United Way board and the Nashua Valley Council
"Yes, it's work, but it is great,'' he said. "Everywhere I go, I'm known as the guy from Workers' Credit Union.'' He said since
"I think much of the credit for that goes to the board,'' Healey said. "When they went in search of their new president, they
One CU's Wish
Prior to his arrival, he said they described the CU as a "nice little credit union that wasn't an active corporate citizen.''
Healey said he continues to be "heavily involved'' with state and federal credit union issues as well. He serves on the Filene
If he could grant one wish within the industry, Healey said he would break down the barriers between the state and federal trade
His goal on the home front is continue his aggressive, but member-friendly approach to keep the 58,000 members of WCU happy
"We've been very successful on what we need to get to the next level,'' Healey said. "We don't want to be a good credit union.