Inside Marketing: Keeping the Member Experience Golden Throughout the Pandemic

person in plaid shirt elbow bumps person in gold sweater in pandemic greeting
By Erica Taylor

3 minutes

Golden 1 Credit Union focuses on member outreach, financial assistance and education by providing community resources on its website and other digital channels.

Since day one, Golden 1 Credit Union has been committed to the credit union difference—people helping people. With that philosophy, what started in 1933 with 22 members and less than $2,000 in assets has now grown to more than 1 million members and $17 billion in assets. Throughout our tremendous growth, one thing has remained constant: our commitment to the well-being of our members, employees and the communities we serve.

This commitment has proven stronger than ever over the past year, as we weathered the pandemic together. As people across the country dealt with job loss, increased debt and financial insecurity, Golden 1 CU stepped up to provide financial assistance and financial education to our members every step of the way.

Helping People Through COVID-19

From early on in the pandemic, members in need have received assistance via our Community Emergency Relief Program, which offers flexible payment options for existing loans and short-term emergency loans. The Emergency Relief Program was created for COVID-19 using our Disaster Relief program as the foundation. The program no longer active but can be activated at any time based on emergency status.

Golden 1 CU also demonstrated a people-over-profit mindset by initiating loan payment deferrals, eliminating late fees for many loans including auto and home equity, lines of credit, credit cards and mortgages, and halting early withdrawal fees on term certificates. We took our care one step further and made calls to high-risk members to check in on their mental and physical well-being.

While the pandemic required a change in our day-to-day activities, Golden 1 CU has remained focused on providing convenient access to all members, including offering member outreach and education to those who were not familiar with digital banking.

Keeping Members Informed

The way we serve our members has certainly evolved over the decades, and perhaps nothing has changed more than the technology we use. In 2019, Golden 1 became one of the first credit unions in Northern California with a podcast available for download via a mobile app. The Golden 1 Credit Union—Financial Wellness podcast serves as an extension of our online financial wellness tools and is another channel for fulfilling our commitment to increase financial literacy throughout California.

Our award-winning financial services portal is designed to benefit members and non-members alike. Visitors to our website will find plenty of free resources that can help their financial well-being:

  • Webcasts: 30-minute live online lessons anyone can register to join, almost like a visit from a personal (financial) trainer
  • Podcasts: 10 to 15-minute audio sessions can help keep multitaskers and commuters in good financial shape. Listeners can stream episodes directly from the portal or subscribe to our podcasts on Apple Podcasts.
  • Online videos: Quick 90-second overviews to keep viewers’ financial muscles toned
  • The Learning Lab: The Learning Lab is an interactive digital curriculum by EverFi, which provides complete educational workout with tutorials on common financial issues people can review at their own pace.

Our new online newsroom also serves as an information hub for the media, stakeholders, employees, members and others, and contains such resources as press releases, news articles, videos and podcasts, fact sheets, executive bios and more.

Golden 1 Credit Union isn’t just about business—it’s about community. We support many local nonprofits throughout the state. Even as the coronavirus was taking hold, Sacramento’s annual Big Day of Giving, which we have proudly sponsored for the past eight years, generated a record-breaking $12 million to support more than 600 organizations in 2020. Golden 1 CU proportionally matches members’ donations up to $50,000 to charities of their choice when they donate using a Golden 1 debit or credit card. Members and news outlets can find more information about the Big Day of Giving and other community events by browsing the Press Releases and In the News sections of our newsroom.

We look forward to the day California can safely reopen and our members can once again enjoy the VIP treatment we provide for events throughout our golden state, including discount tickets to Sacramento Kings home games, Disneyland, Universal Studios Hollywood, Six Flags Discovery Kingdom, California's Great America and other California theme parks and attractions.

No matter how much our credit union grows in the future, we will always remember to put members first, because we know we are Stronger Together℠.

Erica Taylor is VP/communications and community relations at $17 billion Golden 1 Credit Union, Sacramento, California.

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