BECU's Seattle Branch

Neighborhood Financial Center Managers

BECU's Retail staffers work up close with BECU members in our Neighborhood Financial Centers (NFC), and we asked our NFC managers for their insights. This month, we talked to two managers, Kaitlyn Osborn at the Downtown Seattle NFC and Alex Barth at the University Place NFC.

Surrounded by Member Consultants, NFC Managers are responsible for the daily operations of their location. "NFC Managers are, in a way, utility players for the credit union in that we are able to assist wherever is necessary," Kaitlyn said. "We can work with members, we can go to networking events and help educate the public about BECU, we can create workshops to help develop our teams, and so much more!"

Collaboration is often important in the NFC setting. "I coordinate with my lead to complete daily tasks, audits, and ensure the NFC is running seamlessly," Alex said. "There are many aspects that go into that including hiring a diverse team, providing thorough training, continuous coaching and development, inspiring action, and motivating change."

More specifically, NFC managers work with both members and BECU staff. "Managing a busy center often means that I help members, work with escalated situations, and provide help to my team," Alex said. "Working in a district environment, I also work with other managers in the area to support the growth and success of our district. I am privileged to co-lead the South District Leadership Forum (SDLF), which is designed to identify and develop our future leaders within the district."

On top of all that, NFC operations have recently become more challenging in the age of the Covid-19 pandemic. "The PPE is definitely the most notable difference in our day-to-day work. From the gloves and masks to the socially-distanced chairs and shields that are separating us from our members, it definitely looks different when you walk into an NFC now," Kaitlyn said.

BECU Branch Managers Kaitlyn Osborn and Alex Barth

Alex agrees. "We're now doing everything we can to properly social distance and keep everyone safe and healthy, including wearing masks, speaking through plexiglass shields at our desks, closing our lobby waiting areas, and having members use a different sign-in process," he said. "We now go out to our vestibule to help members who are waiting. If they prefer to wait outside or in their cars, we send them a text notifying them that it's their turn and we're available to help."

Despite the challenges and the risks of a public-facing role, Retail staff in the NFC's are working to center BECU's value of Members First. "We have been doing our best to ensure that our members still receive the BECU-treatment to the best of our abilities and make them feel as comfortable as possible when they come into the NFCs," Kaitlyn said.

It's this focus on people that brings job satisfaction to both Kaitlyn and Alex. "I enjoy getting to know my team and helping them grow," Alex said. "There are very few moments in my life more rewarding then when I work with a team member to overcome an obstacle in their way and see the smile on their face when they realize that they've overcome or broken through that issue."

Kaitlyn offered another example of this joy. "Just the other day a team member sat down to tell me that he was so proud that he had been able to set a member up with a share secured loan when he first started at BECU," she said. "That member came back to work with him recently and he was able to get her approved for a line of credit and an auto loan, something that was not possible at the beginning of her credit-building journey."

Both managers also cite the ability to make positive changes within the BECU environment. "I also appreciate that BECU allows me the autonomy to make decisions," Alex said. "If I feel an exception is the right thing to do for our member and membership, I have the ability to make that call."

Kaitlyn concurs. "If we see something that is missing or could be improved, we can investigate and work to create a solution to help," she said. "That was one of the reasons that I wanted to come to BECU - to be able to see and feel the difference I can make."

What questions do you have for our NFC Retail managers and staff? Additional NFC managers have agreed to talk to the BECU Blog, and we would love to share your questions with them in our upcoming conversations.