A Tale of Two Credit Unions

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Last week, Windsor’s media went gaga over the ascendency of former mayor Eddie Francis to the driver’s seat of a local credit union. His former boss, Marty Komsa, will stay on as an executive adviser with responsibility for strategic planning.

It is a rather odd appointment for Komsa.

In the June 1 edition of the Windsor Star, the same day Francis took on his new expanded assignment, the paper quoted the Windsor Family Credit Union’s chair, Marty Gillis, pretty much saying Francis had been doing a good job on strategy on his own.

“Eddie,” Gillis was quoted as saying, “has been steadfast in leading the organization in the strategic planning process and the implementation of WFCU Credit Union’s new five-year strategic plan.” However, neither the paper nor the credit union offered any reason why Komsa has been assigned the strategy role.

While Gillis is proud of the work Francis has done since leaving the mayor’s office, and taking an initial subordinate’s role as a vice president in charge of the member experience, it seems some members are not as impressed with the experience he has been developing.

Francis, himself, quit as mayor after pursuing a trail of financial misadventures, including a money losing waterpark and millions of dollars going to cover the expenses of a rich, foreign swimming outfit. Now, he seems to have learned a lesson or two about how to make money in the alternative banking business which, it turns out, is to increase member fees.

At one time, members of the Credit Union were able to write cheques from their accounts without fees. The program was known as The Personal 1 Free Chequing Account. As of last year, TP1FCA was mothballed and replaced with the so-called evolution in banking or, as some wits have said, the new evolution in WFCU banking fees.

Known as EVA, the new set-up has made some commentators on the Star’s Francis story less than happy bank service users.

Madonna Beaudette, a poster to the paper’s story, is a little ticked with the new fees when, “… free chequing went out the window because of Francis. $1,000 in your account every month to get that.”

It is assumed the change in member benefits are, in fact, the work of Francis, because the timing corresponds to his time in the customer experience position. It is also a starting point for him to distance his outfit from local competitors.

Motor City Credit Union, under its newly announced Flex brand of chequing offers an entry level, no frills account with free, in-branch, mobile, telephone, and internet banking, unlimited ATM and debit transactions, along with free bill paying with no minimum monthly balance required.

Motor City unleashed its free chequing in early April with little media attention. It did not say if the new plan was its response to the Francis fee-generating EVA account.

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About the Author

Robert Tuomi
After initially succeeding as a broadcast journalist and achieving senior level assignments, Robert branched out into marketing communications. As a senior executive, primarily in the high-tech industry, Robert created award-winning and comprehensive, multi-faceted initiatives to enhance sales and expand market awareness for some of the largest companies in their fields. Email Robert Tuomi