As a community credit union, First Financial's team is bursting with people who are ready to help and make an impact in the community. Always a fan favorite, Tony Marcus has been with FFCU since August 2011 and is one of the best at finding ways to help members make financial decisions to benefit them now and in the future.
Growing up a stone's throw from the FFCU main branch in Chicago, Tony knows the West Ridge community well. Over the last 6 years, he's been able to work one-on-one with our neighbors as a Member Service Representative, a Senior Contact Center Representative, and now a Member Solutions Representative.
Before coming to First Financial, Tony worked for a bank and says he's so happy he made the switch to a Credit Union. He describes FFCU as more personal, more like a family and is happy to be a part of an organization that cares about making its account holders financially secure.
So you can get to know the man behind the desk a little better, we asked Tony a few questions about his life, his job and the wisdom he can share.
What is your favorite moment while working at FFCU?
It's so hard to choose a favorite, I actually have a couple. I really enjoy working with everyone here, we're definitely a team, so there's lots of good moments.
One of my favorite things is going to the annual meetings. I like being able to meet our members and talk to the board. When you have the members, staff and board all in the same room and talking about the credit union, it's obvious that you're more than just a number here. People really do care.
Another favorite memory of mine is working with the members who I've gotten to know really well. It means a lot to me to know I've earned someone's trust and they can talk openly because they know I'll help. Some will even refer their friends and family because they enjoyed working with me so much - that's a really big deal to me.
What's your favorite thing to do in your free time?
I love working out! When I go to the gym, I mostly do cardio and weightlifting.
I also have a huge family and love spending time with them. My nephews and I go out to Kiddie Kingdom or Yogli Mogli for games and ice cream - I like seeing them smiling and having a good time.
If you could cast yourself in a movie, who would you pick?
James Gandolfini - he was such a good actor! I watched a documentary on him and was so impressed with all that he did. He traveled, helped kids in hospitals, went to Iraq...was just a really good guy. I admire what he accomplished on and off the screen.
Do you prefer dogs, cats, or both?
I'm a dog person - I have a 12 year old Pepian named Bo Bo. A family friend realized they couldn't give him the time and attention he really needed, so we adopted him and it's been great.
Cubs or Sox?
Cubs! I grew up on the north side - I even went to Mather High School across the street from FFCU's main branch. It was amazing to be here when they won the World Series - finally! I was at a friend's house watching and we couldn't stop celebrating.
Favorite place to vacation?
Beaches are my favorite. The last trip I took was a family vacation to Orlando. There were 8 of us and, of course, everyone wanted to do something different all the time. Luckily, Orlando has a lot going on so it was a good spot for our group. I've heard Fiji is beautiful, so I'd like to get away and go there someday.
If you could visit anyplace in the past, present or future - where would you go?
I would go to see my parents home in Baghdad, Iraq - as long as it was safe. They had to leave their neighborhood a while ago, so I never saw it. They've told me such amazing things about what it was like to live there and the picture of their brick house is beautiful. They said the neighbors were so friendly and doors were always open. Some nights they'd sleep on the roof to feel the breeze and get away from the heat.
If you could meet anyone, who would you want to talk to?
Well, not to use the same answer again, but James Gandolfini. I would want to ask him about all the work he did off the screen, what his real life was like and how he inspired people. Also, his character on the Sopranos was so different than what he was like in real life (at least, from what I know). I'd want to ask him what it was like playing a character so different from himself.
What book have you read recently?
I just finished with Rich Dad, Poor Dad by Robert T. Kiyosaki. I really enjoyed how it covered succeeding in life and how to invest money instead of spending it. It helps me think about my own daily decisions and how they impact my money, and it makes me even better at my job - I always love to learn.
What is something that FFCU has or does that you want members to know about?
I think everyone should know about the new "It's a Money Thing" Academy. It's free courses we offer to our members online! I recently did the series on earning and income - there's so much good information on managing your money in there. I was really inspired after reading Rich Dad, Poor Dad, so I wanted to get more information and the Academy was perfect.
Anything else you would like to say to the members?
Always utilize the products and services here - and don't be afraid to ask us any questions.
We have really great products, like the High 5 Checking. I don't know anyplace that's giving 5% on a Checking Account. I also do a lot of auto refinancing and love to see members' reactions when we can save them money by bringing down their monthly payments.
There's really no downside to talking with us. We're not here to judge, we're here to listen and to help you make the best decision for you so you can accomplish whatever goals you want.