Pelican’s Nationally Certified Credit Counselors talk with members each day to help guide them in their financial decisions and improve their financial wellness. They work closely with our members to help them review their budget and make significant progress toward their financial goals.
Lynn Gobert is a Nationally Certified Credit Counselor through the Credit Union National Society (CUNA). We asked her to answer a few questions to give us a look at a day in the life of her career as a credit counselor at Pelican:
How long have you worked at Pelican, and how long have you been a credit counselor?
I have worked at Pelican State Credit Union for 15 years. I came to Pelican through a merger with Kaiser Employees Credit Union. I worked at Kaiser for 24 years prior to the merger.
How many sessions do you have per week, and how long do they last?
I conduct approximately 12 sessions a week. Most initial sessions with our members last 45 minutes to an hour, and follow-up sessions are usually about 30 minutes. This all depends on the extent of the credit plan we establish. Each of our members’ circumstances are unique!
How do you manage all of your appointments with the rest of your job duties?
Finding the time to summarize each credit session, complete required monthly reports, and follow up with members in-between sessions is very challenging.
Creating and sticking to a routine helps me stay on top of each member’s progress in the program.
What does your typical workday look like?
A typical day in the office starts with me responding to voicemail messages and emails from the previous day. The voicemails and emails usually result from loan recommendations I made or need to make.
Most of the time, members email me because they were unable to contact me via telephone. My rule is not to answer the telephone during my credit counseling sessions, since our members deserve my full attention.
I also receive a large amount of calls and emails from referrals, so I have a lot of people wanting my expertise.
To you, what qualities do you need to be a credit counselor?
The qualities needed to be a successful credit counselor are kindness, a willingness to serve people, sincerity, fair-mindedness, teaching skills, being non-judgmental, flexibility, and commitment.
When did you know that you wanted to be a credit counselor?
Actually, Pelican’s COO Annette Thames asked me to become a credit counselor, and I accepted the request immediately.
Prior to taking the position, I was a Branch Manager at Pelican and a CEO for Kaiser Employees Credit Union. Once I began counseling members, I realized that I had been performing many of the functions in my previous positions.
Other duties, like speaking in public, had been a part of my life from a young child. I believe that all of my life experiences, good and not so good, happened to prepare me for my career as a credit counselor.
If you had to define what it means to be a “great” company, what would you say?
A great company is best defined by what its employees and customers say about them. A great company has a well-designed culture and policies, and actually achieves the goal of excellence.
What’s the biggest challenge you’ve faced so far?
The biggest challenge I face daily is to give every person and situation my best effort.
What’s the most rewarding part of your career?
The most rewarding part of my career is that I bring positive change to the lives of so many people.
I am deeply grateful that God chose me to do what I am doing at this point of my life. I also feel needed, every day. I always feel useful.
If you had to choose one day that stood out above all others in your time at Pelican, which day was it and why?
The day I attended a home mortgage closing with one of my clients was a day that stands out above many others.
This person had been in a difficult situation with a mortgage lender that was using unethical business practices. The member had been under extreme stress, believing that any day the lender would start the foreclosure process.
It took many months and persistent hard work to assist her with refinancing her home with Pelican. At the closing, the member expressed truly heartfelt gratitude for the assistance she received from us.
Our assistance included countless phone calls and emails to the lender, helping her shop for affordable homeowners and flood insurance, and acting as a liaison between the member and our Mortgage department. And what’s more, we assured the member that we were in this fight with her.
Even though I considered this situation to be one of my “hard cases,” I would have to say this case defines what credit counseling is all about.
What advice would you give to someone that’s struggling with their finances?
I would advise someone struggling with their finances to seek help from a professional.
I would advise them not to give up.
Finally, I would tell them that the situation is never as dire as it seems.
Want a peek at a Day in the Life of another Pelican team member? Let us know in the comments below!
Once a Pelican State CU member, always a member—through life’s milestones, we’ll always be there to help you with your financial needs. Your Financial Family for Life. Give us a call at 800-351-4877.