By Rebecca Metcalf
Those of our readers in the education and healthcare fields should consider joining Sovita Credit Union. Unlike banks, credit unions are not-for-profit. Credit unions exist to serve their customers, where as banks serve shareholders. Credit union members have a say in how they are run, because they can vote for members of the board or elect to run themselves. Credit unions are known for having exceptional customer service. Like a bank, credit unions provide services such as checking and savings accounts, loans and business accounts. Sovita’s website states, “We reward your life’s work through high value, low cost financial services along with constant reinvestment in the places we all call home.” Essentially, the credit union takes care of one’s finances so we can focus on day-to-day life and family. An example of a small thing Sovita does that might make a big difference to someone on a night shift is they post checks before night shifts end. When you call, the phone is answered by a live person, because they want you to have the best banking experience.
Sovita members are educators and healthcare employees, and their immediate families in Genesee, Lapeer, Livingston, Oakland and Shiawassee counties. For this reason, Sovita donates to programs that support education, healthcare, family togetherness and communal improvement. They have been dedicated to advancing the financial well-being of educators and their families for over 84 years. Over the years, the credit union has expanded from serving one Flint branch in 1934 to five locations across two counties. In 1934, it served just Flint school teachers. In the 1970s, it was rebranded and any school employee in Genesee County could join. This included employees such as parapros and coaches.
Sovita’s Marketing Director Jen Shew explained that both educators and health care workers have values that mimic each other. Therefore, in 2013, the credit union brought in health care workers. Flint Area School Employees Credit Union became Sovita Credit Union so it could be more inclusive of those whom it serves.
Credit unions often engage in the community. Sovita supports the causes that are important to their members and those employed in the fields of education and healthcare. Community involvement is tailored to support the areas of education and health care. Sometimes, that is through a financial commitment or sponsorship, but often it involves members of the Sovita team onsite helping at an event where support is needed. For example, the credit union helps Bentley Community Schools with their food drives by sending four or five Sovita representatives to sort food and disperse it to the community. They choose to assist with this program because it is important to the school.
Another example of how Sovita Credit Union engages with the community is they surprised 25 classrooms with a $100 YE$ to People Classroom Grant. This gave teachers support for the needs of their classroom or program at the school. The credit union holds a member appreciation event lunch where it welcomes educators and health care professionals to the building and has giveaways. It is a sort of meet and greet. To learn about events like this, check the Sovita website’s calendar of events. Sovita also works events that benefit area hospitals, and its employees serve on some of the committees to help plan and raise funds. To Shew, “It’s about the relationships we build with people. Our members are really the people who bring life to this community through their care and commitment to others.”
After 85 years of serving our community, one might wonder what Sovita Credit Union plans to do next. Shew said they aspire to “continue to provide exceptional service and support to educational and health care employees, and offer high value at low cost.” After all, credit unions were formed to help people. Sovita will no doubt continue to build relationships while offering low fees and competitive interest rates. If you are a health care employee or work in education, it might be time to visit Sovita. Not only do they care about their members, they also value the community they live in. If you are really ambitious, you might even run for their Board. Regardless, when you join a credit union such as Sovita, you can be assured that they will serve your interests—not those of stockholders.
For more information visit, https://www.sovitacu.org/.
Flint Local: 810.720.8300
Lapeer Local: 810.664.5351
Toll Free: 800.369.2786