POMONA, Calif. (2/10/12)--Christmas may seem a long time ago for many, but the season may still be fresh on the mind of a credit union that found itself without power during the holiday season.
Cal Poly FCU was faced with the possibility of closing during Christmas week this past holiday season, a prospect hard to imagine during one of the busiest shopping time of year.
From Dec. 27 to Dec. 30, the credit union was without power. Faculty, staff, students and former students all were expecting their credit union to be open for business--even if the university wasn't.
"It was an interesting problem," said Cal Poly CEO Barbara Bean. "Not everyone is eager to go the distance for you during Christmas week when there are so many other things going on."
But Cal Poly FCU has developed some unique relationships through the philosophy of "people helping people."
The campus police--most of whom belong to the almost 3000-member credit union--have an emergency generator. The campus police force offered the five-person credit union a home for the holidays. Nearby Inland Valley CU, also of Pomona, offered a workstation at its facility. Both credit unions use the same core processor.
"We both use CU*NorthWest for data processing and the software lends itself to these kinds of collaborative efforts," said Chuck Papenfus, Inland Valley CEO. "There was no moving of computers or re-loading software or anything like that. They just came and logged in through the network community."
The technology piece of this puzzle was easy, Bean agreed. "CU*NorthWest made it look easy," she said. "We could access our member's data, print out receipts, create and fund loans, run reports and cut checks--virtually anything the member needed. The bottom line is our members were served."
The police station provided a unique atmosphere, Bean said. "We spoke to members through a buzzer at the dispatcher window. We had donuts every day and the police escorted our members in. It was really quite fun."
Because Cal Poly FCU had effectively spread the word out about the temporary relocation, members made an extra effort to check it out, Bean said. "That Friday was payday and we had lines," she said. "Even people who normally use our online banking features from their computer or smart phone, stopped in to see us. I think everyone enjoyed the novelty of visiting their money at the cop shop," she said.