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Hey there, time traveller!
This article was published 15/03/2022 (257 days ago), so information in it may no longer be current.
Growing up in small town Manitoba, Amber Osborne always appreciated the personal attention and service she received when dealing with local credit unions. As a senior member service representative for Winnipeg-based Access Credit Union, she now enjoys building equally strong relationships with the members she serves.
“What’s always attracted me about credit unions is that you feel like you are a person, not a number,” says Osborne. “I enjoy getting to know our members, from the first time they walk through the door to all the different changes in their lives. Building and maintaining those relationships is what it’s all about.”
Osborne says the same informal and supportive atmosphere permeates the organization.
“You feel like you can talk to the CEO or member of the executive management team the same as you can to your direct manager,” she says. “Everyone is so welcoming, encouraging, and friendly.”
Maintaining that sense of teamwork and shared purpose is key to the organization’s workplace culture, says president and CEO Larry Davey.
“Everything we do revolves around ethically serving the best interests of our members,” says Davey. “We are never trying to move them into products or services they don’t need. It’s about building trust and support between our staff and our members.”
Access Credit Union serves some 92,000 members through a total of 26 branches located throughout Winnipeg and southern Manitoba rural communities. The organization’s stated values include a passion for service, embracing change, and having the courage to innovate.
Over the past five years, Access has developed an Innovation Centre, comprised of three or four innovation specialists who are typically younger employees.
“We ask them to look at our processes and come up with better ways of doing things,” says Davey. “We rotate these officers every two years or so, because it’s important to have fresh eyes. They then move on to an administrative or branch role, where they take that innovative mindset with them.”
Access also places a strong focus on professional development.
“We provide staff with the time and financial support to build on their existing education or branch out in new directions,” says Davey. “In the nine years I’ve been here, we’ve probably had 20 to 25 people complete their MBAs. We’re very proud of that fact.
Access has a rich history of giving back to the communities it serves, though donations, partnering with non-profit organizations, and employee volunteerism.
In 2021, the organization awarded $11,500 to deserving students through the Access Credit Union Scholarship Program. Recipients are chosen based on academic excellence, community involvement and participation in extracurricular activities.
Access is also a long-time supporter of Winnipeg’s Main Street Project, a non-profit organization that provides programming and services to some of the city’s most vulnerable residents.
“It’s nice to know that we can help those who may not have many of the things the rest of us take for granted,” says Osborne. “It makes you feel like you are truly making a difference.”
While the COVID-19 pandemic has presented many challenges, it has also revealed some organizational strengths.
“When needed, our people have stepped up to cover off work for colleagues who faced challenges at home,” says Davey. “Nobody was asking for anything in return – they just wanted to help each other out.”
Osborne concurs. “In the end, this experience made us stronger,” she says. “Even through a pandemic, we’ve stuck together and performed as a team.”
This article is produced by the Advertising Department of the Winnipeg Free Press, in collaboration with Manitoba’s Top Employers 2022