Scott Wilson, President/CEO SeaComm Federal Credit Union
What are the most important differences between credit unions and banks?
We are cooperatively owned by our members, who each have an equal share. That entitles them to a vote at our annual meeting. We also put people before profit. Each decision made is about how this will impact our members, whether or not it is an enhancement of a delivery channel, i.e., our mobile platform of fees associated with certain products. As an example, we offer our bill pay product at no cost to our members.
What trends in customer enrollment and retention are you seeing and how are you dealing with them?
We recognize that we cannot be everything to everyone but we really try to ensure we offer robust options from electronic to in-person. With the year-long pandemic, we have seen an uptick in online offerings and have not witnessed any channel decline when our lobbies opened back up. Retention is about knowing that our members will experience change when moving from one stage of life to another and offering products and services that move seamlessly with their needs.
How will you generate future growth?
Future growth will continue to be driven from market diversification. Being concentrated in one specific geographic location will thwart growth opportunity. We recently expanded into Vermont, opening two new branches and will soon begin to focus efforts to the west in Jefferson and Lewis Counties. These markets provide us access to new members and their ongoing need for financial products and services. Each market is unique and offers opportunity to grow membership.
What do you view as your greatest challenges/opportunities going forward?
Developing a competitive advantage in a crowded marketplace is a challenge. Our opportunity is in our quality service. We know that certain products and services may be offered at another financial institution, so we capitalize on the service experience as a differentiator. In fact, we obsess over it. Prioritizing the service experience means going above and beyond to resolve issues. Surveys are sent out regularly to ensure we are meeting our member’s overall expectations.
What will the future hold for SeaComm?
The future really depends on what our members demand of us. They own us. We are a cooperative and their needs are changing constantly. It is been an important part of our overall strategy to be knowledgeable of industry changes in an effort to ensure we are offering the right products and services for our members — not what we think they should have but what they want from us. Enhancements to our electronic delivery channels, such as mobile, have been a focus for us.
SeaComm is a member owned financial cooperative with headquarters in Massena, New York, with more than 50,000 members and assets exceeding $700 million. The credit union has branches in Massena, Potsdam, Malone, Canton, Ogdensburg and Plattsburgh NY, as well as South Burlington and Essex, VT. Membership is open to anyone who lives, works, worships or attends school in St. Lawrence, Franklin, Clinton, Essex, Jefferson and Lewis Counties in NY and Grand Isle, Franklin and Chittenden Counties of Vermont.
SeaComm Federal Credit Union
Headquarters: 30 Stearns Street
Massena, NY 13662