COLORADO SPRINGS, Colo.-About six miles from Peterson Air Force base and nine from the Fort Carson Army Post, the Jet Wing Service Center of Ent FCU has a rock-solid segment of its membership that it not only counts on for loans and deposits, but even some free marketing, as well.

A large number of retired military personnel have made this area their home for many years. Service Center Manager LaShae Woodard says this membership segment is extremely proud of their affiliation with Ent, due the support the credit union has given them and simply because they have been with the CU for a long time.

"Some of these members have accounts that are older than I am. We have many retired and active military members who are very loyal members."

That loyalty translates into the military retirees passing on the $3.8-billion credit union's name to friends, family and neighbors. "It is not uncommon for someone to walk in, and being a friend of some of the ex-military, say they have heard about our credit card, our checking account, our CDs . . ."

It's a good feeling to know that the members, including those outside the armed forces, think so highly of the credit union, said Woodard. "Our reputation is what drives a lot of this office's success."


'Seeing Expressions'

Just as many of the recent converts from banks have learned, credit unions are a better deal and provide better service than banks, reminded Woodard, who said that part of her job-providing members with daily service as well as guidance in their financial lives-is what makes it easy to come to work each day. A former call center staffer earlier in her career, Woodard said she prefers helping members face-to-face.

"I really enjoy seeing the expressions on people's faces when we either go out of our way for them, which is normal for us, or provide them with a product that makes a difference in their lives," said Woodard, who has managed her branch on the southeast side of the city for the last eight years

Woodard makes sure staff possess exceptional product knowledge and are good listeners so they are consultative sellers, fitting the right products with the right people.

"A lot about making a branch tick is good communication-between staff and members and between myself and the team. Staff need to know something about members' lives so they can make the right recommendations, members need to know about the products we have to make informed decisions, and I need to communicate clearly to the team the goals of this office."

To do that Woodard relies on morning meetings, the employee website, and spends time behind the teller lines every day to answer questions, offer suggestions and let the staff know she is always available.

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