Learning finance

Financial Plus Credit Union Takes Innovative Approach to Designing Member-Centric Products

In a word: Financial Plus Credit Union is a growing credit union in Michigan. The credit union is based in Flint. Just two years ago, Financial Plus Credit Union opened its doors to all Michigan residents. The credit union partners with different financial companies to offer more credit products and services that benefit members. Financial Plus’ services focus on smart spending, saving and rebuilding credit. For its dedication to building the next generation of helpful financial institutions, CardRates recognizes Financial Plus Credit Union with our Editor’s Choice™ award.

Expansion is a sign of a healthy institution that seeks to reach as many people as possible. Financial Plus Credit Union has been serving its members for 70 years. Financial Plus was founded in 1952 as the Chevy-Flint Federal Credit Union by autoworkers to serve the employees of Chevrolet Motor Company in Flint. It has since grown to proudly serve the entire state of Michigan.

It’s been a busy two years for the credit union. Financial Plus Credit Union is answering the call with new services, products and partnerships focused on financial wellness.

The credit union has seven branches in the central Michigan region, with access to digital services across the state. The credit union told us that all of its products are accessible through the website so that all members have equal access.

Access to credit, accounts and loans is an important asset for Financial Plus Credit Union. The credit union is proud to offer personalized support that the big banks cannot provide. Credit unions are owned by their members. There are no shareholders to please and no emphasis on creating a profit.

Financial Plus Credit Union has seven branches in the Central Michigan area.

When the credit union makes money, that revenue goes directly back into providing better and more affordable services to its members.

“The reason I love this credit union and made it my career is because I can play the long game,” said Financial Plus Credit Union President and CEO Brad Bergmooser. “I can do what’s good for the long-term members. We can engage across physical and digital channels, where my counterparts in banking couldn’t, because the goal is always to generate profits. »

Financial Plus Credit Union takes advantage of advances in the banking sector that allow the creation of new products. The credit union told us that these are exciting times for the credit card industry, with many innovations underway.

The credit union specifically highlighted the rise of mobile wallets and the impact of smartphones on Financial Plus’ credit card strategy. Right now, the credit union is promoting its rewards card that offers low interest rates, no annual fees, and 1% cash back.

Financial Plus is taking the necessary steps to stay ahead of the curve by recently hiring an expert for a brand new role: the Financial Wellness Advisor. The Financial Wellness Advisor focuses solely on the financial well-being of credit union members, as well as that of the general population of Michigan.

“We view financial wellness as a mix between product and education,” Bergmooser said. “We’ve invested a lot of resources in partnering with fintechs and developing some of our internal services, and it all comes down to financial advice.”

The focus on financial wellness has led to an all-new product that helps members break out of the dangerous cycle of payday loans. The credit union has partnered with a fintech company to create a new loan called Greenlight Loan.

Greenlight Loan Marketing Image
The Greenlight loan is an alternative to traditional payday loans.

“Our goal is to get members out of the payday loan cycle,” Bergmooser said. “Payday lenders are structured to keep people in this situation with hundreds of percent APR, and you never break that cycle.”

The specific loan structure keeps interest rates and fees as low as possible. There is no credit check to apply, and the app has automatic approval so members have access to funds when they need them.

Financial Plus Credit Union’s financial advisor receives an alert when a new loan is taken out. The financial advisor calls the borrower and explains the steps needed to avoid defaulting on the loan, and shows how to transition to more traditional loans.

The pandemic has served as a wake-up call for all of us. Everyone had to get their finances in order and find ways to pay the bills. Financial Plus Credit Union answers the call to provide members with the service they need when they need it.

Financial Plus Credit Union app image

The credit union has a strong digital banking presence for all of its members who are not near a branch. But many online systems are supported by its physical branches. The credit union told us that the branches provide an essential service to its members.

“We are the experts,” Bergmooser said. “Our members rely on us, and that’s where I really think they see the benefit of the physical delivery channel. And while that’s a drain on resources, it shows we’re committed to being a little bit of everything for everyone.

Members can browse the website to find current loan rates, apply for loans, and use the site’s many calculators that help members assess their financial strategy. The calculator can help users create a payment plan to pay off debt or figure out how much to save for retirement.

Anyone who lives in Michigan or has an immediate family member with a credit union account can apply to join Financial Plus Credit Union. The application process is done entirely online and only takes a few minutes.

Financial Plus Credit Union views financial well-being as one of the pillars of personal success. Members can prepare for any situation with good financial health.

The credit union helps its members achieve their financial goals through its abundant resources. The credit union said all of its branch managers and most contact center employees are CUNA certified. Branch managers and employees are specifically trained to find solutions to financial problems.

Brad Bergmooser, President and CEO of Financial Plus Credit Union
Brad Bergmooser, President and CEO of Financial Plus Credit Union.

“No matter where the financial institution is, the number of underbanked or unbanked people is not where we want to be,” Bergmooser said. “As the saying goes, the rising tide will lift all ships. The more educated we are and the better the financial life of the whole community, the better we will do.

Financial Plus Credit Union is doing its part to teach the next generation. The credit union said the main obstacle was getting young people to rethink the stigma of banking. It plans to do this through transparency at every step of the process. The credit union partners with local colleges, universities and trade schools to raise awareness of the financial services it has available.

Helping people close to retirement to better target their projects is also important for the credit union. The objective of Financière Plus with people retiring is to determine a path to savings so that the member can live his life serenely and without worry.

The credit union plans to continue working with new partners who can help have these kinds of conversations with students and retirees. Financial Plus wants to develop solutions for these groups.

“I think fintech companies can be great allies,” Bergmooser said. “Fintechs who understand the business model know the benefit of working with traditional financial institutions. We have brand loyalty and customers who know and love us. And as a credit union, we want to help our members.

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