Credit Union Affairs

Going the Extra Mile (or 4,000) For Members

Char Sears, Lisseth Lorelli-Qualls, Viviana Gomez, Alyssa Cullen, and Tjana Pon

If you’ve been following us, you know that at Unitus we take our “cooperative” identity seriously – very seriously. And you know that our cooperation extends far beyond our city, state, or even national borders.

(In fairness, it helps when this is your chief executive.)

Goodbye Colombia, hello Portland

Last week we worked with a Colombian cooperative, hosting a weeklong intensive crash course to both learn and teach ways for all of us to better serve members.

Viviana Gomez is the Contact Center Manager at Financiera Comultrasan, a credit union based in Bucaramanga, Colombia with $400 million in assets.

Her unique opportunity arose when Steve Stapp, Unitus President/CEO and Chairman of the World Council of Credit Unions (WOCCU) Board of Directors, dreamed up the collaboration with Jaime Chavez Suarez, President of Financiera Comultrasan, and fellow WOCCU Board member.

“…learning about their challenges and victories, we can benefit from the lessons they can teach us and more creatively serve our members here in the Northwest.” -Steve Stapp

Improving member service

“Our Latin American family have so much talent. By sharing some of the lessons we have learned, we can help them succeed at a level greater than they have before,” said Stapp. “By learning about their challenges and victories, we can benefit from the lessons they can teach us and more creatively serve our members here in the Northwest.”

Her whirlwind week

Gomez’ program was fast, thorough, and far-reaching.

She worked closely with Unitus AVP (and former Contact Center Manager) Char Sears, shadowing employees to learn about their responsibilities, skills, and major initiatives.

That was only the start; her experience would include meetings with Unitus’ Chief of Human Resources, Member Loan Center Management, Mobile & Online Banking team, and even the credit union’s Community and Business Development wing.

Staying true to the movement

“When you have knowledge that can benefit others, how could you not share it?” asked Stapp. “Transparency and cooperation, after all, are the pillars of our worldwide Credit Union Movement.”


About the Author: Jacob Schnee joined Unitus as Marketing Specialist in March 2015 and transitioned to Marketing Communications Specialist in March 2017.

His experience has spanned hospitality, business development, consulting, and marketing in various industries along the east coast, west coast and in between.

When he is not developing internal and external communications for Unitus, he is engaging in recreational fitness, studying personality types and exploring the outdoors with his wife, dog, and baby.

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