Colleen Nerius October 15, 2020 at 10:48 AM

SAFE named Best Place to Work third year in a row

Not once, not twice, but three times now SAFE Credit Union has been named a Best Place to Work in the Greater Sacramento Region. 

This year, SAFE was designated the No. 1 Best Place to Work, Very Large Employer, by the Sacramento Business Journal (SBJ). This is the third year in a row SAFE has been named as a Best Place to Work by the SBJ. 

This is truly a testament to the incredible culture, employees, and leadership at SAFE Credit Union. This honor is especially meaningful because it was determined by our 700 employees themselves. They voluntarily shared in a survey all of the many positive aspects they enjoy about working at SAFE, including work-life balance, a dedication to families with baby-bonding time and flexible work schedules, as well as a collaborative and supportive culture where we all lift and help one another in the service of our members. 

This year, especially, is particularly meaningful because the survey was conducted in the early months of the pandemic when we were not operating under normal conditions. I believe the steps SAFE leaders took to ensure their commitment to the health and well-being of our employees and members contributed to this year’s high scores.

Happy employees lead to happy members

Here at SAFE Credit Union, we know that to have happy and loyal members, you must first have happy and loyal employees. 

The secret sauce is our culture. We treat our employees as unique individuals who bring their authentic selves to serve our members. Ours is a cooperative, supportive culture, where we choose each day to provide exceptional experiences and the best solutions to our members.

SAFE walks the talk on work-life balance, providing vacation and sick time, as well as 16 paid hours a year for employees to volunteer for the causes they care about. We offer generous baby-bonding time for new parents, and we love our Baby at Work program that allows parents who work in our headquarters to bring their babies to work with them.

The health and wellbeing of our employees is very important to us. In addition to generous health insurance benefits, our Wellness Committee encourages healthy living through activities, exercise and meditation classes led by SAFE staff, and a newsletter full of recipes and health tips.

2020, a year like no other

This year cast in sharp relief how important culture is to the credit union’s success in challenging times. In response to the COVID-19 pandemic, SAFE leadership quickly implemented work-from-home solutions for employees who work from headquarters and established sanitation and social distancing protocols in branches to protect employees and members. SAFE's all-local call center was distributed among various locations to allow for distancing in order that this crucial lifeline for members would operate seamlessly.

The personal health of our employees is important to SAFE. Employees are invited to participate in fitness activities and have access to Employee Assistance Program services to help them take care of their well-being. We provided an additional 80 hours of sick time to each employee for COVID-19-related illness.

Several hundred employees who regularly work from headquarters in Folsom have been working from home since March. We are providing them with the equipment – even the chair from their work desk – to ensure they have what they need to work ergonomically in their own home.

While SAFE has incurred unexpected costs associated with our pandemic response, we have found that it has more than paid off in productivity and employee morale. A study by Stanford showed that employees who work from home are 13 percent more productive than those working in the office. It also gives them peace of mind that they can safely shelter in place, and parents can be there for their children as schools continue with remote learning.

Our employees also understand that these are unusual times, and they have worked long and hard for our members. Our lending team quickly put together emergency solutions for members including no- to low-cost loans, as well as expanded Skip-A-Pay options. Our technology teams quickly set up new systems to allow members to easily apply for this new assistance online and in the SAFE Mobile App. Our Business Banking team worked diligently to connect more than 400 Sacramento area businesses with Paycheck Protection Program loans. We expanded our online system for members to schedule appointments in advance to help maintain social distancing and to help our members conduct their banking more quickly and efficiently.

Our financial educators expanded the courses shared in financial well-being workshops from SAFE’s Workplace Financial Wellness program to all our members and the general public. They offer new webinars designed to help our members and others in the community navigate the unique, current economic situation.

SAFE’s commitment to diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI)

We’ve always prided ourselves on our culture here at SAFE. But we know there is always room for improvement. That’s why we recently launched a company-wide initiative to increase diversity, foster equity, and improve inclusion at SAFE Credit Union. Ensuring that many voices are heard and different communities have influence at all levels at SAFE will help us be a stronger credit union positioned to better serve our members.

A group of nearly 50 employees are helping guide the organization in creating a roadmap toward improving DEI at SAFE. This is a permanent commitment by SAFE to continually work to address DEI in our workplace.


Even though our work environment is so different, our teams have stepped up to meet this year’s many challenges with dedication and a focus on helping our members weather these uncertain times.

If you’d like to learn more about working at SAFE, please visit our Careers page.


Colleen Nerius

Colleen Nerius is Chief Human Resources at SAFE Credit Union.