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Our Members Come First: Prioritizing Member Experience at SECU

From the start, SECU has been about its members: meeting your needs, preferences, and expectations. We’re a member-owned financial cooperative, and putting you first is the key to our success.  

“A cooperative like our Credit Union is member-owned, and because it’s member-owned, it’s important for us to make sure that every decision that we make as board members and as staff, keep members’ interests and concerns at the center of everything that we do,” said McKinley Wooten of the SECU Board of Directors.


Former SECU Board Member McKinley Wooten, speaking into a microphone on stage during an event.
Former SECU Board Member McKinley Wooten, speaks on a panel discussion about the importance of the member experience in Raleigh.


The first step is to listen. 

Recently, SECU conducted surveys with Member Advisory Board volunteers, and North Carolina residents (both members and non-members) to better understand what SECU is doing well and where it might improve. 

One core finding is that members like you care most about service (77%), rates (64%), and accessible technology (63%) when choosing a financial institution. So we are focused on improving service options and rates over the coming year. 

Prioritizing Service 

With branches in all of North Carolina’s 100 counties, the branch experience at SECU is frequently the most impactful. Our focus on people and our concern for our members and their communities has remained consistent since the Credit Union was founded, and the personal relationships you develop at your local branch are keys to a great experience. “Relationships are what we do best,” said Wooten. 

We are aiming for our branch teams to maintain their focus on member service—on listening, understanding, and guiding you on decisions that increase your financial wellbeing. 

We’re also using technology to help get you the products and services you need even faster. This year, we updated our contact center software’s Interactive Voice Response (IVR) system, technology that streamlines your call and routes you to the right team member in a fraction of the time.  

Competitive Rates 

SECU offers a wide range of lending products, and we want to make sure that every eligible member has access to competitive rates on the products they need. In the past year, SECU has approved twice as many loans in low-to-moderate income areas as the next highest financial institution. We also approved approximately three times the number of loans to African American applicants as the next highest lender. We take the needs of our members seriously and work to provide solutions wherever possible. 

Earlier this year, we also released a new online consumer lending application. This application allows for instant approvals and rates, from the comfort of home or on your mobile device. Since this release, we’ve seen a 15% increase in total application volume over the same period last year, and a 42% increase since last year in total online applications for loan products.


Former SECU Board Member Jo Anne Sanford, speaking into a microphone at a podium on stage.
Former SECU Board Member Jo Anne Sanford, speaking at a previous Annual Meeting.


We’re also exploring something new. SECU started rolling out tier-based pricing for SECU auto loans in the spring. Consumers are shopping for the best lending option for their borrowing needs and we want to be sure that we’re providing all eligible members with competitive rates. Tier-based pricing helps us assure that we can meet the needs of every qualified member and, in the first month since the implementation of tier-based pricing on auto loans, SECU originated 8,300 loans (the highest since August 2021).  

While the rollout of tier-based pricing for auto loans has received positive member response, we’re continuing to evaluate how we thoughtfully roll this out to other lending categories, incorporating member feedback every step of the way. 

With branches throughout the great state of North Carolina, we meet people where they are in their communities, just like in the provision of our services. We meet people where they are with respect to how they want to receive services and with respect to the kinds of products that they wish to have.
Jo Anne Sanford, former member of the SECU Board of Directors

One in four North Carolinians is a member of SECU. It’s an astounding figure that reminds us how critical it is that we meet your needs. As we endeavor to grow and evolve as a financial institution, we want to make it clear that your needs, priorities, and expectations are leading the way.