Marjorie Holder: In Tough Times, Collections Proves a Lifeline
When one member lost his job and his roommate back-to-back, Arkansas Federal Credit Union provided a lifeline that helped him reboot his financial situation.
While many collection departments simply wait to pounce when a client’s accounts become past due, Arkansas Federal Collections Officer Marjorie Holder worked out a plan to get this member back in good standing. Left with little income after losing his job and then his roommate, he struggled to come up with rent and make his Arkansas Federal car payment.
“I knew that the most important thing I could do for the member would be to think differently about his situation, and to do that you have to really listen,” Marjorie said. “To listen and think outside the box is the best way to bring comfort to anyone in a financial crisis. You have to be willing to look at the big picture.”
Doing all those things, Marjorie set up a special payment plan that reduced the member’s payments by half for three months, keeping his account in good standing and giving him time to straighten out his finances.
“Because we always try to do the right thing for our members, we had a program that fit his needs perfectly,” she said. “This enabled him to stretch his money out so he could pay all his bills until he got a new job and a new roommate.”
For Marjorie, her role in collections is simple. And it has little to do with actual collections.
“I feel that our role in collections is essential to the credit union and our community,” she said. “We are the guides who help our members navigate through some of the most difficult moments in their lives. When someone has lost their job, lost a loved one, lost their health or experience any potentially difficult financial moment in life, we’re the ones who listen and help them through the difficult patches.”
Those difficult times require trust, on both sides. “We just have to be willing to extend our trust to our members and know that in turn they will trust us to help them through the difficult times,” Marjorie said.
Amber Reilly, Vice President for Collections at Arkansas Federal, said it’s rewarding to see the credit union’s core values in practice and making a difference.
“There’s no greater compliment than a member sharing their personal experience and recognizing that our team is striving to be the difference for everyone we come in contact with,” she said.