Managing finances is imperative to our well-being and quality of life. We know that saving money is difficult when the costs of goods continually rise.
Fortunately, there are bankers and financial planners throughout the Greater Lehigh Valley who can assist us with our financial endeavors.
Here to answer this week’s “Behind the List” questions and shed light on the services offered by a credit union is Tim McLeod, CEO of Riverfront Federal Credit Union in Spring Township.
Lehigh Valley Business: How long has Riverfront Federal Credit Union been operating in the region and what are its primary services?
Tim McLeod: Riverfront Federal Credit Union began serving our local community in 1948.
Founded as the RDG Reading Federal Credit Union, we originally offered services to employees of the Reading Railroad. Through the years, other organizations were permitted to join the credit union, resulting in substantial growth.
To reflect the evolving diversity of our membership, we changed our name to Riverfront Federal Credit Union in 1987.
This year, Riverfront celebrates its 70th anniversary. We now offer financial products and services to all those who live, work, worship or attend school in Berks County.
Our primary objectives are to improve the financial position of each of our members and make a difference throughout the community.
Lehigh Valley Business: What have been some of the biggest challenges and opportunities that Riverfront Federal Credit Union has encountered throughout its years in business?
McLeod: The challenge for Riverfront is not unlike other financial institutions in that we have to consistently evolve to meet our members’ needs.
We must anticipate what members need before they know they need it in order to provide the products and services that fit not only their lifestyles today, but going forward.
Lehigh Valley Business: What makes a credit union different from a bank? What are some of the perks of being a credit union member?
McLeod: A credit union is a cooperative and, as such, our board of directors are volunteers and are not compensated.
Everyone who joins a credit union is not a customer, but a member and an owner. As an owner, they each have a voice in how we provide service to the entire membership.
Our staff, who are member-owners themselves, take great pride in delivering exceptional member service, as our primary focus is to put each and every member on a better financial path by matching their individual needs with the products that work best for them.
Lehigh Valley Business: How does Riverfront Federal Credit Union directly stimulate the local economy? How does it get involved with the local community?
McLeod: Riverfront gives back to the local community regularly through donations made to local charities, as well as teaming up with other businesses throughout the county to support many worthwhile causes.
For instance, last year we partnered with First Choice Barber Shop to extend free haircuts to local veterans. We also partnered with Lackawanna Mobile X-Ray to perform free mammograms for the community. The credit union joined with Shear Spirit Salon in donating hair to a program focused on providing wigs to those undergoing cancer treatment.
Riverfront currently offers food and clothing donations to Berks Encore, Veterans Making a Difference, Opportunity House, New Journey Outreach, City of Light and many other local nonprofit organizations on a regular basis.
In addition, by partnering with local businesses like Sal’s Landscaping and D&B Elite Construction Group, we offer easy and convenient financing for their customers through a seamless loan application process.
With co-branded advertising campaigns, brochures and our online loan application made accessible via our partners’ websites, their clients and customers can finance the project of their dreams with our great rates, flexible terms and products to fit individual needs.
Lehigh Valley Business: What does the future look like for Riverfront Federal Credit Union? Does it have plans for growth?
McLeod: We are ever-evolving as we head in our new direction with many exciting new products hitting the market this year.
In April, we’re introducing our Cash Rewards Credit Card, along with a $100 introductory bonus and 1.5 percent cash back on everyday purchases.
We also recently began offering our Write to Ride Auto Loan, which puts members in the driver’s seat during their new-car buying experience. We supply them with a blank check up to their preapproved amount, allowing them the flexibility to buy from wherever they choose without having to go through the financing process at the dealership.
Lastly, with instant issue debit cards, a member can walk into a branch, open a new checking account and walk out with their new debit card. No wait. It’s simple, easy and convenient, just like many of our products and services.
Life is hectic, we know that. Which is why we set up our eBranch to put a live person behind the scenes, even when our branch is closed, to assist members in applying for a loan or opening a new account.