Jon Kramer’s official title at Marine Credit Union (MCU) is now Underwriter 2, having worked his way up from a loan officer position seven and a half years ago. Jon grew up in the Fox Valley area of Wisconsin, graduated from high school in Neenah and was given a football scholarship to the University of Wisconsin – La Crosse.
Jon played for the La Crosse Eagles and later graduated with degrees in both finance and economics. “I liked my economics course,” he shared. “It clicked with me.” However, Jon said that he felt finance was a “pretty safe bet” for his career. Why? “Because everyone uses money,” Jon said and smiled.
His first job out of college was doing loans and he had worked in both banks and loan companies before starting his career at MCU in June of 2014 as a loan officer. He said he enjoyed doing loans and along the way he “picked up a knack for reading approvals.”
Jon explained that he worked at different MCU branches until Covid hit. “When Covid came on, I was excited to work from home,” he shared.
Previously, when Jon applied to college…he didn’t get accepted into La Crosse. He was, though, accepted to UW-Eau Claire and then later got the call about the scholarship to UW-La Crosse. In a similar fate, Jon applied to MCU and didn’t get the job at that time, but later he met someone who worked there and told him MCU had openings for a loan officer.
“I didn’t want to go back to the bank,” he shared and also said he didn’t want to go back to working at the loan company. At MCU, he said he found an opportunity to have flexibility in the decisions being made for members. “Banks … the nature of their business is having a 700-credit score and this much income. If you don’t check all the boxes, you didn’t get the loan.”
Jon shared that he liked the idea at MCU that members were considered to be more than just their credit score. “We can still get you some kind of loan when you don’t have too many options, and at a better rate.” Much better, he shared than at the 36 percent interest rate his previous organization offered. He said at MCU it is more of a “credit journey” for members and he appreciates that they are able to provide financial counseling to members as well. “We can take someone who has bad credit, and we can convert that to good loans with good rates.”
Part of the problem with people getting caught up in high interest loans, he shared is that “people don’t know how credit and finances work. You can get different rates. The biggest thing,” he continued, “is education.”
Education, Jon said, is “one of my favorite things to do.” He said he is sometimes able to add a payday loan onto a vehicle loan. “We can consolidate to make them better off,” he explained; often times helping members to not only save money on interest, but also lower their monthly payments.
Outside of his full-time work at MCU, Jon also works part-time at an indoor gun range as a range safety officer. “I love shooting,” he shared. “I’m a big hunter.”
Jon and his wife Sarah live in West Bend and were expecting the arrival of their first child shortly after his interview – a baby girl.