Mornings with Kristen Herrmann

Mornings with Kristen Herrmann

Mornings with Kristen Herrmann

I’m Kristen Herrmann, BEN FM’s Program Director and weekday morning host. As I’ve mentioned many times on the air, I am a proud member of TruMark Financial Credit Union. I’ve had only great experiences there, and now they’ve become a part of my professional life too. At BEN FM our on-air studio is now officially the “95.7 BEN FM TruMark Financial Credit Union Studio”. It’s a great partnership. The way it happened is sort of kismet too. One morning I was in the studio, and I was approached about a possible opportunity to work with a financial institution called TruMark Financial Credit Union. I did a double-take. Not only am I familiar with them, I LOVE them, AND they saved our house last summer. I’ll explain.

I first learned about TruMark Financial Credit Union back in 2018 when we were looking for a Home Equity Line of Credit (or as they call it in the biz, a HELoC). At the time, my husband and I banked with another bank (a terrible bank) and had always banked there. I don’t know why we continued to bank there. Our checks, direct deposit accounts, E-Z Pass, and so many other little things were tied to them. Laziness, really. Switching banks just seemed like a hassle. In hindsight, the actual hassle was banking there. It was awful. They seemed to make the even smallest requests a huge ordeal, and the hard stuff even harder. We knew this (and we even said this out loud many times to each other), but for some reason, we kept banking there. I think we just assumed that hating your bank was normal and that everyone hated their bank. That is, until we walked into a TruMark Financial Credit Union branch for the first time.

My husband and I wanted to renovate our old house and needed a home equity loan. Our real estate agent suggested TruMark Financial Credit Union for the loan, and that was that. The Home Equity Line of Credit process was easy. Uneventful really, but something really stood out. The way we were treated. The people at TruMark Financial Credit Union were so nice. So friendly. They don’t act as if your deposit or transaction (or whatever) is a chore or something to get through. They really take the time with you. We had actual conversations. About banking, sure, but other stuff too. The last time we were in the branch we were talking about the new Taylor Swift album. They’re real people, and they act like it. It’s refreshing. Truly. And that experience was so different from what we were used to.

It’s consistent too. We’ve since been to multiple TruMark Financial branches and talked to many people both in person and over the phone. The experience is the same. We meet real people, who actually care. This again, is so unlike our old bank. And I’ve thought a lot about why the two financial institutions are so different. I think it’s that the people at TruMark Financial not only want to help but are able to. The members are owners and aren’t answering to stockholders. They listen and are able to make exceptions. It’s not all these hard and fast rules coming down from a corporate office without any flexibility. Life doesn’t work that way. Not every transaction, member, or situation is the same, and at TruMark Financial Credit Union, they get this.

In our experience, in every situation, the people at TruMark Financial have made the extra effort to help solve problems and do whatever it takes to make everyone happy. In situations where my old bank would have charged us a fee or given us a hard time about something (or more often than not… just said no, with no explanation), these are the situations where TruMark Financial shines. The best example of this happened last summer. A branch manager at TruMark Financial made a HUGE effort to help us. Her name is Daria, and I will never forget her. I was having a really terrible day. It was a situation where she could have told me, “Sorry, I can’t help”. Instead, she helped when she didn’t have to, and that makes all the difference.

My husband and I had the HELoC with TruMark Financial and used a checking account there off and on, but for the most part, we still had everything else tied to our old bank. Then, in the summer of 2022 when we were settling on our new house, we got into a bit of a situation. We’d withdrawn $30,000 from our TruMark Financial checking account as an Official Check and deposited it in our other bank’s account so that we could withdraw one lump sum as our down payment. I’d dropped the check off in person at my old bank, and the person there assured me that the check would clear a day ahead of settlement day. I kept an eye on the account each day, but settlement day came, and the money still hadn’t cleared.

  • A Little More Back Story....

    During this time, our daughter Trudy was about 5 months old. My husband was also away for work on a 6-week trip.

    Trudy 5 Months, Summer of 2022

  • My Husband Was Battling An Illness, Too

    He’d been battling an unknown and extremely painful illness for months. He started limping, and then using crutches, and finally needing a wheelchair in order to get around, all while in debilitating pain. The illness was (at the time) still undiagnosed, and we were all under a lot of stress trying to help him and ease his pain.

    Kristen's Husband Paul's Leg X-Ray

  • Our 13 Year Old (Wonderful) Dog Gloria Had Just Passed Away 10 Days Prior

    Gloria was the best dog and a wonderful longtime BEN FM Dog Jockey. She passed in July of 2022 after suffering from bone cancer and being unable to walk for months.

    Gloria, BEN FM's Longtime Dog Jockey July of 2022

  • The Move

    We were pretty stretched thin (to say the least). Then we decided to buy a house. It wasn’t something we’d planned. We found a house that was just the right size, in just the right neighborhood and exactly 4 doors down from my in-laws. It was perfect, so we went for it. Nothing like an impending move to add to the stress of a new baby, a dog (family member) passing, a debilitating illness, and my husband being out of town through all of this. I was charged with settling on the house on my own (along with Trudy), and then packing up and moving our entire house too. It was a lot.

    Trudy Helps with the Big Move

  • Daria And Trumark Financial Credit Union Save The House (And The Day)

    So again, settlement day arrives. I was on my own, and I rushed home from work to pick up Trudy and take her to the bank to figure out what our options were. I stopped by my old bank and explained that the money wasn’t there that I’d been told it would be, and that it was already withdrawn from our TruMark Financial account, so it should be available. I was told that the money was on hold and would be for another 2 days. No explanation, no apology, no solution. Just “Sorry. Can’t help you. You’ll have to move your settlement date.” I took Trudy over to TruMark Financial Credit Union a few blocks away.

    At this point, I’m stressed. I’m sweaty (it’s a super hot day in July). Trudy is hungry and crying and in need of a diaper change. Oh yeah, and we are about 2 hours from when we’re supposed to be settling on a house, and I am still $30,000 short. Enter TruMark Financial. I fumbled through an explanation of what was going on to one of the people at the front desk of the 5th and Berks Street TruMark Financial Credit Union branch. Daria, the branch manager, overhears all of this (and no doubt recognizes what a hot mess I am), and she decides to help.

    Trudy Hanging Out

    Trudy chills on the floor of the real estate office while I sign my name, and my husband’s name to our settlement papers.

    The money had been withdrawn from TruMark Financial and deposited in this other bank. Daria could have just said, “Sorry, we can’t help you.” That would have been easy. Instead, she invites me (and Trudy) to have a seat in her office while she calls the other bank to verify the check for me so that they can take off the hold. This also allows me my first chance to change and feed Trudy, and sit for a minute. It was so nice. I will always remember the way Daria spoke with the same manager I had spoken with at my old bank and helped to argue my case. She made so many calls. She sat on hold. She tracked down that other bank’s security office, talking to anyone who would pick up the phone. One of my favorite things I remember overhearing her saying was, “Listen. We have a mutual customer, the two of us. I am here to help. I want to help her. Are you also here to help?” She was calm and professional, and at this point, I probably began to see a halo beginning to form over her head. In the middle of my very terrible day and the hardest few months of my life, here was this person who was helping me when she didn’t have to. She was lovely and kind, and everything I needed at that moment.

    After a few hours and many calls, the other bank was ultimately no help. No surprise. They held the $30,000, even though it had cleared as an Official Check, issued from another bank. I still don’t understand why. Daria didn’t give up though. She helped again. I’m still not sure how she did it. She got on her computer and somehow helped me scrounge together $30,000. We had that HELoC that had been paid off but was still open, and she pulled money from anything we had access to. I ended up with probably 40 receipts from all of the transactions she processed to help me come up with $30,000. I showed up to the final house walkthrough and closing a few hours late, but with every cent needed, and a new fervent LOVE for TruMark Financial Credit Union that I still have today.

    Philly Collective Takes Care of Trudy While Kristen Signs the House Settlement Papers

    Our real estate agent holding Trudy so that I can sign the settlement papers.

    I called my husband that evening to tell him that we officially had a new house, and I attempted to explain just how much Daria and TruMark Financial helped me. I’m not sure anyone will fully comprehend the extent of it. I was barely holding everything together and was very much in need of a friend, and Daria was that friend. I made my husband promise that we would both immediately withdraw our money from the other bank and switch over all of our accounts to TruMark Financial Credit Union. We did. We only wish we had done it sooner.

    TruMark Financial Credit Union is more than a financial institution to me. They’ve helped us in a number of smaller, but important ways since then too. I highly recommend TruMark Financial Credit Union to friends and family, and anyone who will listen.

    Trudy living her best life collage - her on the beach, in the BEN FM studio and with mama

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