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CU Staff's Generosity Lifts Member After Setback
TORRINGTON, Conn. (11/20/13)--Like her co-workers at $38 million-asset
Click to view larger image (Left to right): TMTFCU's Mike Denza, Mike Allen, Therese Pavan, Suzette Barker, Dawn Pawlow, Brooke Gunther, and Ilma Sabolik stand under the credit unions' "People Helping People." (TMTFCU Photo)
Torrington(Conn.) Municipal & Teachers FCU (TMTFCU), front line staffer Suzette Barker enjoys engaging members in conversations. That extra effort on Barker's part gave the credit union a chance recently to go "above and beyond" for a member in need.
 
Many times, members simply reply politely to Barker about that day's to-do list, an upcoming birthday, or a development around town.  But in one instance, Barker's pleasant greeting prompted a member to share a painful episode that had put her family in a tough spot.
 
According to the Credit Union National Association's Credit Union Front Line Newsletter, the member told Barker she was moving to a new apartment with her two young girls as part of a much-needed fresh start. She purchased new bedding, new furniture, and a few back-to-school items, and left them overnight in the apartment along with some other family possessions.
 
She returned the next day to find someone had broken into her apartment, stolen many of her belongings, and damaged or destroyed much of what remained. Worse, the member had
yet to purchase renter's insurance.
 
Understandably, the setback devastated the woman. She wasn't sure whether she wanted to move into the apartment complex anymore, even though she'd spent two years on a waiting list.
 
"She'd been through some hard times, and it was just unfair," Barker says.
 
The member wasn't asking for any help, according to Barker, but was merely opening up about her situation. CEO Donna Marie Battistoni and a group of TMTFCU employees consoled her.
 
Later, a colleague suggested the credit union take up a collection on the member's behalf. Barker received contributions from employees and the board.
 
"Suzette's a great example of the credit union philosophy of people helping people, and the staff and board of TMTFCU were happy to follow her lead," says Nancy Sieller, the credit union's chief operating officer.
 
With the proceeds, TMTFCU purchased a $300 Walmart gift card to help the member replace some of her belongings.
 
"She was so appreciative, you knew you did good," Barker says.
 
CUNA's Credit Union Front Line Newsletter asks credit unions to send their stories about front-line staff who went "above and beyond" to: cufrontline@cuna.com.
 
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