Being a Good Banker Means Caring About People

Being a Good Banker Means Caring About People

By Lisa Howard

BANKS AND BANKERS SOMETIMES HAVE A REPUTATION FOR BEING STUFFY, but Tamara Powell, manager of the Berkley branch of Vibe Credit Union, is the opposite.

So is the branch itself. Her 20-year anniversary of working at Vibe is just around the corner, and she’s been the manager for the past 12 years. One of her main jobs, she says, is to be the face of Vibe; to get out into the community and meet people. That’s why she also joined the Berkley Area Chamber and loves to volunteer at events around town like the annual Berkley Street Art Fest and the Berkley Art Bash.

“Being in Berkley is like being in a big city in a small town – everyone knows everyone,” Powell says. “The average person I meet who lives here has either lived here for 30 years or they were raised here and then moved away and now they’re back in the community with their new family. I feel like no one leaves Berkley.”

That kind of neighborly connection makes it all-the-more enjoyable to network within her roles as both a credit union manager and a Chamber member. Perhaps not surprisingly, she’s also the Treasurer of the Chamber.

TAMARA AND HER FAMILY ARE ACTIVE IN THE COMMUNITY IN MANY WAYS. Her kids attend Berkley schools and played for Berkley sports teams, among them the Berkley Steelers and Bears. The kids work in the community too. In other words, everyone in the family stays plenty busy, and Tamara’s days are full with work and family life.

Powell says life at the credit union keeps getting busier too, especially now that the renovations are complete. The branch got a complete overhaul starting in the Winter of 2020 and finishing in the Summer of 2021, even shutting down the drive-thru services for about two months while the parking lot was redone.

But now business is running at full tilt, with a record number of loans issued and a thriving membership. Ever since Vibe merged with Oakland County Credit Union – which doubled the number of Vibe branches – more and more people have been coming in to find out about the credit union’s services.

“MY FAVORITE PART ABOUT BEING THE MANAGER IS THE PEOPLE,” Powell says. “I love meeting the new members and helping the existing ones. And I have a great team here, which makes my job easy. Everyone at the branch understands the importance of providing excellent member service. We get referrals because our members brag about how well they’re treated.”

Some of the employees whom she originally hired are still there eight years later, a testament to the branch being a great place to work. In addition to Powell volunteering at Chamber events, the branch also sponsors community initiatives like the Berkley Public Library’s summer reading program.

As Powell points out, being a financial institution doesn’t mean being standoff-ish rather, it means being at the heart of the community.

3082 Coolidge Hwy, Berkley, MI 48072 | 248.735.9500