Updated: Nov 20, 2019
What do you think of when you think of a bank or a local financial institution? Do you think of fees and interest rates, waiting in lines, or the pain staking process of opening a new account? Are you an employee and maybe even currently work in the financial industry? When I think of a financial institution or what it should be, I think of accuracy, innovation, trustworthy and knowledgeable.
I have been working within the financial industry for almost a decade of my life. Currently the majority of my adult life. Banks, credit unions, insurance agencies and freelance consulting is where I have gained my vast and diverse financial background. These years of multi level industry experience is what makes me concerned for the member's and employee's well being at Cyprus Credit Union.
My Cyprus Story
As a new citizen of Utah and a single mother ready to return to the work force, ready to get out of the house and meet new people, ready to have a purpose outside of my home, I started applying for jobs within my industry. Positions that fit my career background. This is what landed me an interview at Cyprus Credit Union after being referred, where the mortgage manager wanted me to develop a new Mortgage Loan Officer Apprenticeship program for aspiring and up and coming MLO's.
Not widely known to the general public, but anyone can be a mortgage loan officer within a credit union. No skills, training, talent, education, or licensing is required. This differs from a bank and/or established financial institution where mortgage loan officers have to be trained, educated, and licensed on state and federal regulations, laws, procedures, and selections of loan types.
After being offered the position based on my experience, education, and the fact I am licensed in mortgage lending, it was time to negotiate the terms. Cyprus denied my consulting offer and insisted on hiring me as an employee. I wanted to put this limit breaking industry development program on my resume, of course, so I did my best at negotiating an hourly rate and incentive option along with my necessary need for flexibility in my work location. I was elated when the terms of the negotiations were accepted and settled. As a woman and mother who is not only passionate about the love and dedication she has for her child, but also being a driven and motivated career woman, I was eager to start my first day and hit the ground running!
It wasn't long after that very first day I was so excited for, that the novelty wore off and reality started setting in. Despite the amount of research you do on a company the dirty, filthy, real and raw details wont come out like they will in this article.
Looking around from my cubicle other employees started dropping like flies... desks were cleaned out and chairs were empty. A new training group of bright sad hopefuls every week. Coming in one by one like an assembly line, naive to what's ahead. Everyone left for similar reasons. Better work environment, better pay, better services, better training, better management, better resources. Overall as I saw people walking out the door towards their new "better" life, I was determined to stay and design / train new mortgage loan officer apprentices in a program that would make people better. Better to borrowers, better to the community, better to builders, better to co workers, and better for themselves. Well at least in the mortgage lending department that is. Come on now. I'm not a miracle worker.
Young in my career I realized I wanted to be in home lending. I wanted to help people provide stability for their family and themselves, and aid in one of the biggest life milestones. It's a hard position to get into. Often a catch 22 between education and experience. So this program to me, was my opportunity to give people the chance to advance in their career that I fought so hard for.
The passionate fire that got me out of the bed in the morning started to flicker. The environment was toxic, the tensions in the air you could slice like cheese, not a smile in sight, people started snapping and turning on each other like hyenas. This comparison rings loud in my memory because my son has recently been watching Lion King on repeat, but not so much like a scene from the Disney cartoon more like the mall scene from Mean Girls. This institution is filled with so much immaturity, drama, gossip, lies and um-professionalism it was close to impossible for me to get actual work done. Though. always plenty of time for a dessert or candy. Cyprus sets aside a designated "treat" budget, even though the entire institution still operates on programs that came out before I was even born... High priorities.
Management didn't return emails, or communications, instead gave dirty looks and blank stares in passing, they conned me in the unethical negotiations filled with false promises, which coerced me into taking the position in the first place. Subtle personal digs from loan officers and processors became not so subtle when loud, hostile, and aggressive personal attacks on my character, my family, and basic dexterity appeared at my desk.
Just as outdated as the software and technology Cyprus Credit Union uses to manage and supposedly "safe guard" member's funds and accounts is the expired, hypocritical, bigotry views of the staff and management. I have noticed in my short time in Utah, this is home to a culture different than any other place I have ever been. A profoundly rigorous religious organization that previously held a majority among the people. However, with the rapid growth Utah is experiencing and as this state becomes more diverse, this is an opportunity for not only profit growth (and not the Mormon kind) but personal growth that Cyprus Credit Union is bitterly refusing to take.
I was told directly that not only "my life was so sad and pathetic" as a single mother on the day after my 30th birthday, but also that I "just don't fit in within Cyprus or the Utah culture." I guess skipping my birthday treat, because I'm trying to be healthier, and enjoying a glass of wine in the evening as an unmarried woman in 2019 is simply unacceptable in Cyprus Credit Union's discriminatory standards. Diversity is a chance for people to learn from each other, come together in unity, offer new experiences and better ways to coexist. Maybe this is just my way of thinking because I was raised in an atmosphere that was welcoming to the worlds varying cultures, beliefs, and personal views.
This small glimpse into the experiences I've encountered at Cyprus Credit Union makes me fear for not only the financial well-being of the members and employees but also curious if anyone else has been treated this way. I guess when their slogan says "Most Beloved Credit Union" it's meant to be most beloved by those who fit into their mold. It's dangerous when such unwavering stringent thinkers hold a status or have availability to finances and power. Please share in the comments if you have witnessed or been subject to this discriminatory, bigot behavior from Cyprus Credit Union.