2018 Applicant: Jeff Panko

Jeff Panko is a 32-year-old Branch Manager at United Federal Credit Union ($2.6B) in Sparks, Nevada, United States.

Project Title
Thank You Thursday

Short Pitch
Encouraging credit union employees to write two handwritten thank you cards every Thursday.

Saying “Thank You” is one of the most important things you can communicate to others. Basic human psychology dictates that we all want to feel special, valued, and appreciated. “Thank You” are two words that are not said enough. Credit Union members will go through most of their day feeling underappreciated at work and at home. The urge to feel special and valued never goes away. We gravitate towards the people, places, and ideas that help us meet those needs. 

My project focuses on encouraging employees to say “Thank You” every week as a way to personalize member service by providing another authentic point of interaction with the credit union. Every Thursday, I challenge my team to hand write a “Thank You” note to two members. That’s over 104 personalized handwritten notes to members thanking them for their membership every year. 

There are lots of reasons why you should consider thanking members on Thursdays, and it’s not just because Thank You Thursday has a better ring to it than Thank You Wednesday. It gives us time to reflect on and identify the great member interactions we experienced all week. Because mail is delivered right before the weekend or right after, our Thank You messages will arrive in time to help someone enjoy the weekend more or start the week off right. 

We know members value personalization. This individualization leads to better member experience, and members are more likely to stay where they are appreciated and share that experience with others.

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