Top-Notch Retirement Benefits Can Be a Magnet
Spokane Teachers Credit Union touts itself as an employer of choice—offering a competitive wage-and-benefits program designed to attract and retain employees. The benefit package helped Spokane Teachers earn recognition in 2003 as one of the best employers to work for in Washington state.
"People like working here, and they don't leave," says Paul Chalmers, vice president of HR at Spokane Teachers CU ($700 million assets, 70,000 members). Over the past four years, the turnover rate has averaged 9.8%, well below the average of 22% for credit unions in its asset range, according to CUNA’s 2004 Complete Staff Salary Survey Report.
Stock Options Not an Option
Retirement benefits are especially critical in keeping its 220 full-time and 45 part-time employees. "We can't compete against companies with stock options or stock purchase plans, so we believe in being aggressive with retirement benefits," Chalmers says.
The credit union believes so strongly in retirement benefits that it requires employees to contribute at least 2% of their own salaries to help fund their 401(k) accounts. After one year, the credit union will match up to a 5% contribution by employees.
After the second year, employees also are eligible for the second part of the credit union's retirement plan. In this part, employees are eligible to receive a profit-sharing contribution equal to another 5% of their salary from the credit union, with no contribution required from them. Employees are immediately 100% vested in each part as they become eligible to participate.
Increasing Employee Contribution Level
Spokane Teachers employees know how to take advantage of a good thing when they see it. The employee contribution level to its 401(k) plan continues to climb, from an average contribution of 5.1% in 2003 to 6.0% in 2004.
A 35-year HR veteran, Chalmers understands the importance of saving for retirement. "I’ve seen people in their fifties who haven't saved anything, and they don't know what they're going to do," he says. "When someone's 19 or 20, retirement is the last thing they’re thinking about. But when we teach them to put money away, soon they see on their quarterly statement that they've got several thousand dollars."
This article first appeared in CUNA Mutual Group’s online publication Added Dimensions at http://www.cunamutual.com/cmg/addedDimensions/home/0,1775,9057,00.html. Melissa Vazquez is a CUNA Mutual account manager in the Western marketing division, stationed in Spokane, Washington.
|Renew Membership Online|
|Update Member Information|
|Frequently Asked Questions|
|CUNA Councils Connect|
|In the Spotlight|
|Council Web Polls|
|Additional Resources from CUNA|
|All Past Conferences|
|Award & Recognition Program|
|CUNA Council Calendar|