In a Nutshell: Credit unions have long held a reputation for their focus on members’ needs and supporting the communities they serve, and this is certainly true for OnPoint Community Credit Union in Portland. The credit union offers a suite of modern banking products and services to suit a wide variety of needs. It also makes it easy for members to do business with the organization through the avenues they prefer, whether it’s in person, over the phone, or via digital banking. The credit union also offers a variety of financial literacy resources for members and the community-at-large. OnPoint also provides community support in the form of volunteerism and monetary donations to local nonprofits.
OnPoint Community Credit Union has come a long way since 1932 when 16 school teachers came together to establish the institution to create a safe place to save money and provide loans to teachers and their families.
Originally known as the Portland Teachers Credit Union, the organization changed its name in 2005 to reflect its new community charter and broader membership base.
But through it all, OnPoint Community Credit Union has maintained its values of putting members first and helping to build stronger communities in Oregon.
“We operate 36 branches and our assets have grown to $7.9 billion,” said Tory McVay, OnPoint Community Credit Union’s Senior VP and Chief Retail Officer. “We have memberships all across the region, and, of course, we have members who live out of state and out of the country who have kept their membership, which is great, thanks to technology.”
McVay said the credit union is gearing up to embark on its biggest expansion yet. It will be opening 20 new branches in Fred Meyer stores — a division of Kroger supermarkets — in the area.
This expansion will only make it easier for OnPoint Community Credit Union to reach more people and communities.
“OnPoint has been improving the lives of our members and the communities we serve — including Portland, Vancouver, Eugene, and Bend — for over 85 years,” according to the credit union. “In that time, we’ve grown to be the largest community-owned financial institution headquartered in Oregon with more than 420,000 loyal members.”
Customer Service Options to Suit a Wide Range of Needs and Preferences
Credit unions have long been known for their attention to providing high quality member service. In the early days of credit unions, it was one of the main differentiators that set them apart from large commercial banks.
Today, credit unions are able to keep up with banks when it comes to offering the latest products and services while holding on to their strong service roots. And OnPoint Community Credit Union takes its member service seriously, McVay said.
That’s why the institution strives to make it as easy as possible for members to do business with the credit union whichever way is most convenient for them.
“Members have told us they want choice,” McVay said. “So we really want to lean into that and have an opportunity for our members to interact with us in person, over the phone, or digitally. Whatever works for them, and not put them in a box and dictate how we want them to communicate or interact with us.”
McVay said that OnPoint Community Credit Union’s approach to member service ended up serving the institution and its members well during the COVID-19 pandemic.
“We unveiled an appointment scheduler tool for those members who wanted to lessen their time, if you will, waiting in a branch,” he said. “And we are currently launching a new technology for online account opening as well.”
He said that, due to the pandemic, the credit union saw an increase in digital transactions.
“It’s great because a lot of members didn’t really know how that technology works,” McVay said. “So for us to be able to provide that education and show them how easy it is for them to deposit at the ATM or through their phone — they’ve leaned into that technology.”
Many members still prefer to bank more traditionally, he said.
“And we’re okay with that,” McVay said. “As long as they are consciously choosing which avenue or channel they want to work with and are not being forced to when they don’t know how or no one’s ever talked to them about it.”
Financial Literacy Initiatives to Help Consumers Create and Maintain Financial Well-Being
“Helping you reach your goals is what we’re all about,” according to the credit union. “That’s why we provide the financial education and guidance our members need to feel comfortable and capable when it comes to tackling their financial goals.”
McVay said OnPoint Community Credit Union offers these resources through a variety of ways.
“To help our members and really the community-at-large manage credit, budgeting, starting an emergency savings fund, disaster planning, or any of that, we offer a free consultation with our financial advisor team,” he said. “A lot of people take us up on that. And there’s no need to buy anything in order to sit with these people.”
The credit union also publishes and maintains an in-depth blog that covers a huge range of financial health topics and is free for anyone to access, McVay said.
“We’ve developed a lot of blog content with tips and tools for people to use to improve credit scores,” he said.
OnPoint Community Credit Union partnered with Enrich Financial Wellness, which creates workplace financial wellness programs tailored to the specific needs of an organization.
“Within Enrich, you can take any number of digital courses at your convenience built to help you achieve your financial goals,” according to the credit union.
McVay said the organization is exploring ways to expand its Enrich offerings to members.
“We’re also a big proponent of Financial Beginnings,” he said. “For those who aren’t familiar with Financial Beginnings, we go and teach in the classroom. In 2019 we engaged 3,500 students with personal financial education and equipped them with skills to achieve their own financial well-being.”
Of course, with the COVID-19 pandemic, McVay said 2020 was a more challenging year for reaching students but the credit union hopes to once again actively engage in the program.
Supporting the Community to Deliver Real-World Impact
“We take pride in fostering connections with our members and our neighbors,” according to the credit union. “That’s why getting out into the community is so important to us. We strive to create ongoing and meaningful relationships with the people and organizations within our community.”
McVay also discussed the myriad ways OnPoint Community Credit Union works to support and enhance the communities it serves.
“As we expanded our service area, we definitely have grown our commitments to communities we serve. In 2020 alone we donated over $1.65 million just as a direct response to the region’s financial challenges and growing community needs,” he said.
This included donations to 318 nonprofit organizations around Oregon and Southwest Washington.
“We really focused on diversity, equity, and inclusion; youth services; community development, and, obviously the pandemic,” McVay said. “And we had something that was pretty horrific down here, which was wildfires. We had whole towns that were burned up. They really weren’t even in markets that we serve, but it was a call to the community to support the wildfire relief fund.”
McVay mentioned diversity, equity, and inclusion, which has been a big focus for many organizations over the past year. One of the credit union’s efforts focused specifically on supporting the Black community.
“At OnPoint we value inclusivity, which means standing up for those who have been unjustly targeted today and those at risk of being oppressed tomorrow,” according to the credit union. OnPoint is supporting organizations fighting for equal rights for our Black community, including the following: Black United Fund of Oregon, NAACP — Portland, Coalitions of Communities of Color, SEI, and Urban League of Portland.”
The institution also encourages its employees to volunteer for local causes and organizations and even offers paid time off for them to volunteer.
“I’m really excited about these 20 new branches,” McVay said. “It’s going to put us in new markets and communities that we haven’t been in before. And anytime that happens that’s going to provide us with an opportunity to help that neighborhood or help that community even more than we are currently.”
OnPoint Community Credit Union was selected as the Outstanding Philanthropic Corporation for the 2020 Philanthropy Day Awards by The Association of Fundraising Professionals Oregon and Southwest Washington Chapter.