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    Belize fisherman owns a bank

    Jul 01, 2015


    I recently took a family vacation to Belize and went fishing with my son. We were out on the beautiful Caribbean Sea with a fisherman from a small local village. I started chatting with the fisherman about his life and family, when he proudly announced, “I own a bank”. 

    His statement took me by surprise, and I was immediately interested. Kechu explained that he was a member of a credit union, and that meant he owned the bank. His relatives were also members and owners. Kechu explained that the bank looked after them because they owned it, and it helped them save money. 

    Kechu didn’t know that I was a credit union CEO—he had no idea what I did for a living. But I was happy and proud to see this barefoot fisherman taking full advantage of his local not-for-profit financial institution to improve his life. And I loved that Kechu recognized that owning his bank was more beneficial than just being a customer. 

    Once upon a time I worked for a bank. Banks are not necessarily bad, and we do technically share the same goal: To add value to our stakeholders. Banks do this by improving profits so they can pay dividends to their stockholders. Credit Unions do this by returning value to our member/owners in terms of lower fees and better rates.  

    I have not seen a bank with a non-promotional rate lower than our 6.99% APR Platinum Credit Card. I have not seen a bank that reverses ATM fees unless you have a much deeper relationship than a simple checking account. I have not seen a bank that quickly reverses a one-time late payment fee unless you have a lot of money with them. And I’m pretty sure there are no banks that let you speak directly with the CEO. 

    Every day I wonder why people choose banks over credit unions, and I wish there was a way to help them understand the benefits like Kechu does. As a KeyPoint member, I hope that you, too, will proudly tell strangers and friends, “I own a bank.”  

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    Crazy Bay Area housing

    May 15, 2015

    The Bay Area housing market has been crazy for the past year or so. The average home price in San Francisco is now just under $1 million, and home buyers are bidding well over the asking prices by hundreds of thousands of dollars.

    Buying a home has always been the largest and scariest purchase we’ll ever make. And after the Great Recession with record mortgage foreclosures, most lenders have made it difficult to qualify for a home loan.

    One of the experiences that makes me proud to be part of the not-for-profit credit union industry came out of the Great Recession. When people nationwide started losing their jobs and experiencing pay cuts, they contacted their financial institutions because they were struggling to make their loan payments. The big banks would not work with their customers, but credit unions immediately began workout loans to reduce interest and adjust the monthly payments so our members could stay in their homes.

    In one of our recent member surveys, a KeyPoint member wrote, “Even when times were rough for me (lost job et al), you stood behind me when other institutions would have bailed. I have nothing but good things to say about you.”

    Because KeyPoint is owned by our members, we have a lot more flexibility than the big lenders. Our goal is to find the right loan that meets your unique needs, not the loan that makes the most money for us. We are a full-service mortgage lender with jumbos up to $2 million, highly-competitive fixed-rate loans, ARMs, downpayments as low as 5%, cash-out refinances up to 85%, and personal service to help make the buying process less scary.

    Since most of our members are located in the Bay Area, I hope each one of you is surviving the crazy!

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    Benefitting our members

    Apr 01, 2015

    Whenever the KeyPoint executive team meets to discuss a new initiative or program, we ask ourselves, “how does that benefit the member?” This question is at the core of all decisions we make, all new products and services we review, and any investments we may consider.

    When we first began evaluating a core system conversion about two years ago, our first question was, of course, “how does that benefit the member?”

    The short answer was “improved service!” And now, after a long year of preparing data for the conversion; testing, verifying and reviewing the data; we have completed the conversion with minimal disruption of service, thanks to our talented and hard-working conversion team.

    The improved service may not be immediately noticeable to members, but I assure you that this painful housecleaning task will ultimately result in positive changes at KeyPoint:

    - Faster processing time – Our data system was bogged down with so much old data, that simple tasks like processing a deposit at a teller window might result in a member hearing the Jeopardy song in his head.

    - Improved products and service – Now that we consolidated and simplified our products, it’s easier to see your options, and easier for us to implement enhancements.

    -  New benefits for highly-engaged members – Although we value each and every member/owner, KeyPoint’s success is a result of the members who have deep relationships with us. We look forward to implementing new benefits that will reward these members, and encourage other members to entrust more of their financial business to us.

    We have already begun work on our next big project to benefit members—a new Online and Mobile Banking system! The vendors we’ve reviewed have robust systems with state-of-the-art technology and cool new features. You can look forward to the new service by October!

    Are there any changes that you’d like to see at KeyPoint?

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    Guest blogger LeeAnne Giblin

    Jan 26, 2015

    LeeAnne Giblin Photo

    Note: President/CEO Brad Canfield has asked members of his executive staff to guest author some of his upcoming Blogs, so you can get to know the key decision makers at KeyPoint. This month, Senior Vice President, Human Resources LeeAnne Giblin is the guest blogger.

    I have had the pleasure of being at KeyPoint for just over a year now.  I have worked in Human Resources within the credit union industry for over 17 years.  Having worked in a couple of different credit unions, I can honestly say that KeyPoint is really a special place. In my limited spare time, I do enjoy cooking, so the best way I can think of describing what makes KeyPoint special is to use a recipe analogy.

    It would be difficult to isolate one ingredient to the “secret sauce” that makes KeyPoint’s culture so unique.  Hence, I will highlight a few ingredients that stand out to me.  One of the main base components I appreciate is the focus on serving our members and creating value that is tangible. That member focus drives our business initiatives, and creates member value that increases constantly in the forms of new services and better account access. 

    One example is the recent launch of Apple Pay. KeyPoint has a long history serving Apple employees’ financial needs. The moment that Apple Pay went live, KeyPoint immediately took action so all of our members could use their KeyPoint debit cards through Apple Pay.  As a result, KeyPoint is one of the first financial institutions to offer Apple Pay.

    But it doesn’t stop with new products and services.  The way to execute key business initiatives and bring member value is through people.  Employees are highly valued at KeyPoint.  They are absolutely the spice that brings everything to life.  Employees are what make it happen for our members.  They provide the member service. 

    I can honestly say that our CEO values our employees, and that makes my job much easier.  Aside from providing our staff with free healthy snacks, solid benefits and celebrating our successes; training is a huge focus for 2015. We don’t just want to retain key talent, we want employees to grow and have a career path here.  Happy employees go the extra mile for our members, and the investment in our staff is worth it. 

    I’m happy to work for an organization that equally values members and employees.  There’s definitely something special happening at KeyPoint.  While I can’t pinpoint one secret sauce, the combination of many factors has created a very unique and special place that focuses on doing great things for our members and helps them reach their financial goals and dreams.

    Go comment!

    Guest blogger Tim Green

    Dec 16, 2014

    Note: President/CEO Brad Canfield has asked members of his executive staff to guest author some of his upcoming Blogs, so you can get to know the key decision makers at KeyPoint. This month, Chief Financial Officer Tim Green is the guest blogger. 

    I joined KeyPoint in 2013 as Chief Financial Officer.  In addition to Accounting and Finance, I also have responsibility for Risk, Compliance and Facilities. I am a CPA, and most of my career has been in public accounting and mid-sized financial institutions. 

    I live in San Francisco and am the proud owner of a very supportive lab named Samson. As you can see from the picture, sometimes all you need is a Lab to put his arm around you and a big smile is certain to follow. We got Samson from the local SPCA, and I highly encourage people to adopt a used pet. Some of the best dogs come slightly used! They may have their own ideas about things, but diversity of ideas is the spice of life. Now Samson’s primary ideas are about how he can steal food and when the tennis ball will be in the air again. 

    In my free time, I enjoy all the great food that San Francisco has to offer (email me for the best sushi in the city!). I play a little golf and try to get to Tahoe when I can. 

    As we take stock of the year and look to the future, I am grateful for being part of the KeyPoint team. Given that our stated mission is to improve people’s lives, I am completely proud to be part of KeyPoint and really excited about the value we provide to our membership and community. 

    After working for a bank and a mortgage company, I really enjoy being at a credit union. I’ve been totally blown away by the credit union movement. The cooperation that exists between credit unions is completely admirable. I love the notion that we are running a not-for-profit organization, yet attempting to get the same efficiencies and profitability as a for-profit company—but the profits are returned to all of our members instead of a handful of stockholders! 

    Here at KeyPoint, giving back to the membership is more than just lip service. It’s something we all embrace and value. It’s rewarding to work in an environment and for a CEO and Board who embrace the credit union concept and understand that our job is to level the playing field for our membership and any consumers we can affect. This is not the case at a for-profit bank, and my reward comes from being a small part of providing consumers with a better alternative to traditional banking institutions. 

    To further our mission, we are in the process of creating a KeyPoint Foundation that will be used to provide scholarships to local youth. We will continue working very hard to enhance each member’s experience with KeyPoint. 

    I hope your holiday season is filled with joy and good times with family and friends, and despite any inconvenience the rain may cause let’s hope it keeps coming.  Not only will it help arrest the terrible drought, but it will help make Brad (a northwesterner) feel a bit more at home.

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    Guest blogger Faye Nabhani

    Nov 20, 2014

    Note: President/
    CEO Brad Canfield has asked members of his executive staff to guest author some of his upcoming Blogs, so you can get to know the key decision makers at KeyPoint. This month, Chief Lending Officer Faye Nabhani is the guest blogger.

    I joined KeyPoint Credit Union, which was then called AEA Credit Union, in April 1994. Over the past 20 years, I’ve worked in almost every role in lending at KeyPoint; from auto loans (my passion!) to mortgages. This experience has been highly beneficial in my current role as Chief Lending Officer, because I understand the challenges and importance of bringing these important financial tools to our members.

    My first job at KeyPoint was as a Collector for our delinquent credit card loans on a previous card program. Back then everything was done manually, and member service and fraud intervention options were very limited. Today, everything is automated, including controls to help protect members from fraud and losses. I am excited to lead the KeyPoint team that has brought credit cards back to our members!

    Our new credit cards provide a valuable service to our membership, and they’re an important option for members who want a card that is friendly and serves their buying needs with purchasing power and no worries about fees that suddenly appear. It’s important that all of KeyPoint’s loans provide value to our members. One of the things I really like about lending is that we get to see how we help people. We can really make a difference by helping members get a new car or buy their first home.

    I’ve stayed with KeyPoint because I believe in what we do as an organization, trying to provide value to our members. I like to tell people that I work for a not-for-profit organization. I like the sense of doing something to give back. The people here are like family—our staff, our members. 

    Credit Unions in general are also unique in the level of collaborative spirit we enjoy.  There are very few industries where competitors will openly share with one another, but that’s the credit union difference!  I am proud to be part of an organization and an industry that are focused on value we bring to the daily lives of the people we serve. And I am excited to help bring credit cards back to KeyPoint members!

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