Power Financial Credit Union is best midsize employer in Sun Sentinel’s Top Workplaces survey

By Arlene Satchell Sun Sentinel
Javier “Javi” Saborio is thankful for the workplace mentors who have guided and shaped his career during his 15 years at Power Financial Credit Union.

That mentoring has helped to propel him from teller and member service representative to assistant manager to assistant vice president and to vice president of retail at the Pembroke Pines-based credit union.

“Career development and advancement – that’s what I felt that I always got here,” said Saborio, 43. “I always had mentors who were willing to teach me something I was interested in learning, which kept the job interesting.”

Power Financial was rated the best midsize employer in South Florida in the Sun Sentinel’s Top Workplaces survey for 2017. Employees said they love working for the credit union because it encourages career development, fosters a family environment, recognizes their efforts and provides great benefits.

“I’ve been able to grow at Power Financial, which was a top priority,” said Stephanie Powell, 33, compliance specialist, who started working at Power Financial as a call center agent in 2006. “A previous manager saw leadership potential in me and I was promoted to assistant manager for the call center, then I moved into compliance.”

Powell, a single mother of two from Miramar, said she finds the culture at Power Financial to be positive, welcoming and family-friendly. “For me, the number one thing about the job is the support factor.”

Over the years that workplace support has ranged from encouraging words from coworkers as she moved up the ranks to paid tuition from Power Financial to pursue a certification in compliance.

“All those things are important to me,” Powell said. “It boosts morale to have people cheering you on.”

Making a difference in people’s lives is at the core of Power Financial’s mission as a member-owned financial institution with roots dating to 1951.

“We’re not here to push product, to sell. We’re here to offer solutions that benefit our members – make their lives better now and for generations to come,” said Allan Prindle, president and CEO.

Today, the credit union has six locations in South Florida and about $615 million in assets, Prindle said.

It serves more than 35,000 members, the majority across eight Florida counties including Broward, Palm Beach, Miami-Dade, Monroe, Martin, Hillsborough and Manatee.

For Prindle, who this year will mark 18 years at Power Financial, it’s gratifying to hear how the credit union’s employees have positively impacted members’ lives.

Those stories are often shared with him during monthly employee meetings where individuals are recognized by their peers or by members for exemplary service.

Of the Top Workplaces recognition, Prindle said: “We’re proud of it. We feel humbled. It’s a team celebration.”

For 2016, the credit union placed No. 33 on the Sun Sentinel’s Top Workplaces list in the small employee category.

For the past three years in a row, Power Financial was named a top credit union to work for by industry publication Credit Union Journal.

Finding the best people to serve customers is critical to its success, so Power Financial typically hires “very slowly” to try to find the right fit, Prindle noted.

“We have a fantastic team and I like to come to work and be a part of that team and support them,” he said.

The credit union takes pride in having several long-tenured employees.

Nineteen of the credit union’s 137 employees have between 20 and 29 years of service, said Michelle Hedges, executive vice president and chief talent and knowledge officer. Four have served more than 30 years and another 12, for 15 to 19 years. More than 50 have worked there for five to 14 years.

Hedges started as a teller nearly 27 years ago.

“When I’ve needed the organization, it’s been there for me,” she said, recalling the flexible schedule the company arranged for her so she could take a class to complete her bachelor’s degree in business administration.

She appreciates other work-life balance considerations that allowed her to deal with a medical issue or give her time to watch her daughters’ softball games.

“I can’t imagine myself today being really anywhere else,” Hedges said.

Hedges, 48, enjoys the diversity of her job, which allows for her participation in cross-functional teams to spearhead special projects.

“I’ve run projects for upgrades on the website and just different things that were completely out of my area,” Hedges said. “This is nice because it keeps you in touch with and aware of different parts of the business.”

Among the credit union’s benefits is a quarterly gain-sharing plan where employees can earn up to 10 percent on top of their salary when corporate goals are met. The company’s 401(K) plan matches 100 percent of the employees’ first 3 percent contribution and 50 percent of an additional 3 percent. There’s also a tuition reimbursement plan, free Zumba classes and a summer Fun Day where employees bring their children to work. On birthdays, employees receive a personalized card signed by Prindle, the CEO, with a gift card.

The benefits go a long way for long-timers like Saborio who say it’s hard to envision working anywhere else.

“I’ve been 15 years here through thick and thin,” he said. “I really enjoy it and I look forward to hopefully many more years.”