Love my job: Sno Falls Credit Union voted 'Best Place to Work' in Snoqualmie Valley

Staff at Sno Falls Credit Union take part in a staff training day this winter. The Snoqualmie-based credit union was voted the business the best place to work in the Valley for 2011. - Courtesy Photo
Staff at Sno Falls Credit Union take part in a staff training day this winter. The Snoqualmie-based credit union was voted the business the best place to work in the Valley for 2011.
— image credit: Courtesy Photo

This year, we asked Valley Record readers to tell us which Valley business was the best place to work at. At the top of the list: Sno Falls Credit Union, the Snoqualmie-based union with five local branches, including one at Mount Si High School.

Last week, CEO Linda Larion shared her thoughts on why employees are so proud to work there.

Responsible for all operations and branch functions, Larion has been president and CEO of Sno Falls Credit Union for 16 years, and has worked in the credit union industry since 1978. She started working as a teller while attending college.

Larion works with the union's board of directors to set the direction of the business while protecting the assets of members, who are also shareholders. She continually strives to serve members better with quality services and competitively priced products.

What role do you play in ensuring employees like and stay at their jobs?

I am responsible to evaluate each employee individually at Sno Falls.  The Board of Directors and I agree that our staff is what will make or break our financial institution, the service they provide our members is crucial to our success.  We strive to treat our employees fairly and reward them for a job well done.  Our employees understand without our member’s, Sno Falls Credit Union would not exist.  We do not use a “sales” environment, but encourage our staff to educate our members individually with financial services that will further them financially.

What do you think makes SFCU a good place to work?

Sno Falls is a “community” credit union.  Our Board of Directors are all volunteers from the Snoqualmie Valley.  We are headquartered in Snoqualmie. The direction of the credit union is set locally.

When you understand the needs of the community, it is easier to set direction.  Our staff is made up of Valley residents.  Sno Falls Credit Union identifies the financial needs of the valley... It makes it a exciting place to work when you know your members and can call them by name, building a personal relationship with them.  It makes it enjoyable to come to work, working with local people and helping local people.  Employees find it rewarding to help our members improve their financial education, and provide competitive services to them.  You see the results when you live and work in the same community. We start at young age marketing to youth, and we all get to experience those youth and  see how they grow with the financial education we provide, from Rocky Raccoon accounts to our Wild Cat Branch, and beyond.

Do you have a philosophy about worker treatment and duties? What do you expect from your employees?

We expect our employees to come to work ready to serve our members, not as an outsider, but an owner of the credit union. Treat the member how they would want to be treated. Member complaints or letters of recognition are addressed with the employee. A job well done is recognized by their supervisor, CEO and Board of Directors. All employees are expected to respect each other as well as respecting themselves.

A team environment is what we emphasize; all employees are cross trained in their jobs to cover for one another when necessary. Cross-training our employees utilize them better and give them a chance to advance when job openings are available. We always strive to promote within our organization when there is opportunity for advancement.

What's one thing people might be surprised about regarding working at SFCU?

I asked the staff to answer this question. Below are some of their comments.

Not sure exactly how “surprising” this would be, but maybe that everyone gets along and works well with each other. It’s more like a family here than just co-workers.

• How involved we are in the community and schools.

• That you need some sort of formal education before you can get a job here.

• The nice thing is that it’s like working with a big family, everyone gets along pretty well, and that we are always able to work together as a team on issues.

• How much of a family we all become!

• I don’t think most people realize that Sno Falls Credit Union is a non-profit financial cooperative, governed by a volunteer Board of Directors.  When you become a member you are an owner/ share holder of the credit union.

• The Rocky Raccoon mascot is one of our staff, he puts the costume on every time Rocky is needed somewhere in the valley, after hours, weekends, festivals, etc. We are so lucky we have an employee that enjoy this sometimes very warm costume, and sucks it up for the kids because he enjoys what he does, and believes in the program.

Are you surprised to be nominated? What does this recognition mean for you?

At first I was surprised, but the best word to describe how I feel is proud—proud to be a part of such a great organization. It is so rewarding to know that all of the decisions you make over the years, which can be so difficult pay off with employees enjoying what they do, and it feels good to know that they enjoy coming to work every day just as I do.  The support of my Board of Directors over the past 16 years as been a big part of the success of Sno Falls Credit Union, without their support we would not been the success we are today. The success of Sno Falls Credit Union speaks for itself, we are so proud to be voted the “best financial institution” year after year.

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