Loyal to this Outfit: How USAgencies Earned the Loyalty of One Veteran

Phil Weddington lives mostly off the grid. He has an email account that he rarely checks, and a cell phone. But he prefers pen, paper, and a personal connection.

“I worked in information for the government,” he said. “I learned not to trust computers.” He pointed out the recent revelations of NSA data gathering to illustrate his point.

Phil served in the United States Army as a sergeant medic during the Vietnam conflict. When I mentioned that my own father had served in Vietnam, he said I should pass along this message: “Welcome home, brother.”

“People didn’t welcome us home after Vietnam,” he said, “so we had to welcome each other.”

Over 20 years ago, Phil opened a checking account with USAgencies Credit Union. A couple weeks ago he called the credit union to thank them for their years of outstanding customer service.

“I was making a good living, but living close to the vest,” said Phil, recounting his early days as a USAgencies member. “Eventually I had about $18,000 in my checking account. So I called Jan and said, ‘This is ridiculous.’”

Jan Dieringer was Phil’s personal contact at USAgencies for a number of years. Whenever he needed service he would call Jan. If Jan was busy, he would wait.

“Jan lined me up with a number of CDs,” said Phil. “They all had different maturity dates so I could maintain liquidity. Those CDs served me really well, and I still use them.”

Phil introduced his son to USAgencies years ago. “He’s an engineer and travels all over the world,” said Phil, “but he’s still with the credit union.”

Dieringer eventually left the credit union and “a wonderful young man” named Tedd Welch became Phil’s contact person.

When the banking crisis hit in 2008, Phil got worried about his deposits. “It turns out the banks were wheelin’ and dealin’ with other people’s money,” he said. “I talked to the credit union and they said, ‘No, we don’t participate in that.’”

These days, Phil’s contact at USAgencies is Andrea Leon Guerrero. Phil doesn’t use online banking, preferring to make his transactions by phone.

“My checking account is still free,” he said. “And I know my money stays local. Plus they have the best rates in town. I got my car loan through them. They beat everything else.”

More than anything, though, Phil said that he’s been impressed with the level of service USAgencies continues to offer him. “They make accommodations to me because I’m old school and everything is cyber. Every time I have a special request or transfer, they treat me really nicely.”

Phil remembered one time in particular that USAgencies helped him with a special request. His son was getting married, and he wanted to give the newlyweds something really unique.

“I talked to Jan, and told her I wanted to get $2,000 in brand new Sacagawea dollars,” said Phil. “She got them for me, and I put them in a chest. It looked like a prince’s dowry. When they opened it up there were lots of oohs and ahhs.

“Later, when they were buying a bed, the delivery guys came and brought the bed in. My son just pointed down and said, “Count out what you need!” The delivery guys loved it.”

When Phil thinks of USAgencies he thinks of Jan and Ted and Andrea, and the few other people he occasionally talks to. “To me, they are the credit union,” he said. “They’ve been kind and patient with me over the years. It’s with their voice and actions that they make me loyal to this outfit.”

Questions about this story? Contact James Pearson: 206.340.4790, jpearson@nwcua.org.

Posted in NWCUA.