“We had a member who referred her son to us because he needed help with his credit score,” Boutté said. “His score was under 500 when he first came to us. We educated him on what was hurting his score and gave him steps to take to improve it. Now, he has purchased his first home and he even started his own business. That is just one of many stories that come to mind.”
ECCU offers many of the same services as a bank, such as checking accounts, savings accounts, certificate of deposits, auto loans, mortgage loans and more. What makes ECCU different is that it is not-for-profit, which means their goal is not to make money, Boutté said.
“We do have to make money to operate, but that’s not our end goal,” she said. “Our primary goal as a credit union is to serve our members.”
One of the ways ECCU employees serve their members is by paying attention to the economy and needs in the community, then creating services to specifically address those needs.
“We recognized that a lot of members wanted a place to store their money but not lock it in,” Boutté said. “Traditionally, they would get a CD. But if the market changes, you’re not able to pull that money out without a penalty. We saw that gap and created a high-yield savings account. It’s a safe place for members to park those funds, earn higher than normal dividends on those accounts and easily move funds when the time comes.”
In addition, ECCU is one of the few credit unions in the area to offer excess deposit insurance protection at no additional cost to members.
“Through the National Credit Union Administration, ECCU provides coverage of up to $250,000 per account owner. ECCU has taken that a step further and offers members solutions to increase that protection, covering up to $1,750,000 in most cases,” Boutté said.
Boutté said the credit union also recently launched the ECCU Cares Foundation. The foundation is focused on two core initiatives: financial education and concern for the environment.
ECCU employees are currently looking for local charities that align with the ECCU Cares Foundation’s core initiatives to see how they can partner together to serve their community.
“There is value to being a credit union member,” Boutté said. “You’re not just a number here. We care about you, your family and your financial well-being.”
Another aspect of the credit union that sets it apart is that it is one of the few credit unions that has a full-service insurance agency as well as wealth management and financial planning services, Boutté said.
The credit union is expanding as an organization, both internally and externally. The company is building a new branch in Katy as well as updating their online banking system to make it easier for their members to manage their finances.
“We help our members at every phase of their lives,” she said. “Whether they are building credit, rebuilding credit, saving for a major purchase or planning for retirement, we have every service to meet those needs.”
Boutté said four small things you can do to improve your credit score are:
- Pull a copy of your credit score so you know where you stand.
- Pay your bills on time.
- Never miss a payment.
- Keep your credit card balance low.
To learn more about ECCU and experience the credit union difference, visit www.eccu.net/.
The above story was produced by Mary Katherine Shapiro, a member of Community Impact's Storytelling team, with information solely provided by the local business as part of their "sponsored content" purchase through our advertising team. Our integrity promise to our readers is to clearly identify all CI Storytelling posts so they are separate from the content decided upon, researched and written by our journalism department.