Brenda Warren, Marine Credit Union (MCU) Real Estate Loan Support Supervisor. was born in Prairie Du Chien, Wisconsin and attended Western Technical College in La Crosse, Wisconsin where she received an associate degree in data entry. Brenda also attended Fennimore SW Technical Institute where she studied food service management. “I worked at a bakery at 15 years old. ‘I love it.’ I thought, “yep, I’m going to be good at baking. My husband said that was why he married me,” she added with a laugh.
“I did catering and I loved it,” Brenda shared. She added, “No one has a party on a Tuesday. It was all nights and weekends. My kids … I was missing too much.”
Brenda said she had a conversation with a friend who worked at a bank. Her friend told her that the hours were nine to five and Brenda replied, “Sign me up.”
She started as a teller and moved up to personal banker. “I liked doing loans,” she said. So, when the bank she worked for downsized in 2014, she said she took some time off before learning about MCU. “Now that sounds interesting,” she said, and has been working for MCU for almost eight years now.
“The position evolved,” she explained. “I enjoy it. I like the variety of it.” Brenda said there are a lot of different tasks every day … “a lot of things going on.”
She admitted that at the start of the pandemic, she was concerned about the technology, but that MCU had a plan, it was a smooth transition and she got used to it . “I really love it now,” she said of working remotely.
“When I applied,” Brenda added, “I didn’t know much about MCU. I really love our mission. We don’t just want to help the underserved … we want to help everyone, and we want to keep them.” Brenda said they don’t just want to give out loans but to educate members so that they can succeed financially.
“I don’t know what it is to struggle,” Brenda said. But she said she can still be empathetic and is really concerned about her members. “We dig in and ask, ‘How else can we help you?’ It’s really pretty impressive.”
“Big banks are out to make a profit,” Brenda added. “We need to make money, but we use it to put back into the company and into the community. My role and my team’s role is supporting all of that as best as we can – to do our part collectively and efficiently.”
“There is a lot of collaboration on our team,” Brenda explained. “We have to work closely with processing and deposit operations and collections. There is a lot of work back and forth to make sure we are doing what needs to be done.”
Brenda said she relates to MCU’s value of courage. “Everyone needs to have the courage to speak up and do what’s right for the member … within compliance. We have to make sure everything is signed correctly. Our team is responsible. We catch it and we have to get it fixed.”
Brenda said she feels her experience in catering had many similarities to her current job. “Grandma lived to be 100,” Brenda shared. “She was always the pie maker. After 80 some years, she was really good at it! I was making cookies as soon as I could stand on a chair. It was so fun … so awesome,” Brenda said when going into someone’s house and taking over their kitchen and serving fancy dinners. “It’s service,” she said. “A different type. But when I did catering, I had a great, very creative mentor.” With catering and servicing loans, Brenda said there are lots of things that can’t be compromised. “You can’t mess with some things. It has to be done exactly right. There are steps to both.” In catering, she said, “you can make it look beautiful, but it also had to taste really good. The whole picture was important,” she added.
Outside of work, Brenda enjoys volunteering and the supportive community she has found at her burn boot camp. She said she appreciates that MCU wants employees to have a good work-life balance and how MCU supports volunteerism.