20 great workplaces in financial services

Photograph by Ray Rushing — Quicken Loans

Say what you want about the economy, finance is still a great place to work. We asked our partners at Great Rated!, the workplace review site maintained by Great Place to Work, to survey thousands of employees in the financial services industry. Perks go well beyond the standard bonuses and awards to include on-site massages, dry cleaning delivery and pick-up, as well as free tickets to concerts and office Ping Pong tables. Here are the top 20 companies in the financial services industry, and what they’re doing to keep employees happy. Visit the Great Rated! links for full workplace reviews.

1. Edward Jones

Revenue: $6.3 billion
Headquarters: St. Louis
Employees: 40,142
100 Best Companies rank: 4
Great Rated! review

This financial services firm backs its employees’ success by hosting diversity fairs, hassle-free transfers between branches, and a profit-sharing plan that boosted annual pay nearly 5% last year. Every year, some associates take a three-day vacation at the Red Oak Resort at the Lake of Ozarks in Missouri for a fishing tournament. “I have never felt more comfortable about a company than at Edward Jones,” says one employee. “Our branches have a small-town feel, yet we are part of a very large organization that really cares about its employees.”

2. Credit Acceptance

Revenue: $723.5 million
Headquarters: Southfield, Mich.
Employees: 1,334
100 Best Companies rank: 52
Great Rated! review

This car credit company, which helps auto-dealers sell cars to consumers regardless of their credit history, springs for weekly lunches and free massages for its employees during its busiest months. It also regularly raffles off seats to concerts at a popular venue in the Detroit, Mich. metro area. In the office, workers dress casual and can enjoy Ping Pong and foosball at their leisure. "I appreciate their receptiveness to feedback and the application of it,” says one employee. “Wrong is wrong and right is right no matter who it is and what position they hold."

3. Quicken Loans

Headquarters: Detroit
Employees: 9,010
100 Best Companies rank: 5
Great Rated! review

Home mortgage lender Quicken Loans promotes workplace wellbeing by regularly handing out free tickets to local concerts and sporting events like Cleveland Cavaliers NBA games. (The founder and chairman is the majority owner of the team.) The company's headquarters, which was moved to Detroit in 2010 in parallel with the city’s revitalization efforts, features a basketball court modeled after the Cavaliers’ arena. Spot bonuses in the form of $50 gift cards or up to $5,000 awards are not unusual ways for the company to thank its top performers. “There is a sense of family here,” says one employee. “Passing someone in the street and seeing another QL badge, there is a sense of camaraderie.”

4. PrimeLending

Revenue: $575.2 million
Headquarters: Dallas
Employees: 2,531
Great Rated! review

Mortgage lender PrimeLending, a subsidiary of Hilltop Holdings, pays 85% of health costs for employees and offers a variety of discounts on services like Verizon, AT&T, 1-800-FLOWERS, and Orange Theory Fitness Centers. At its corporate office in Dallas, the company has an Employee Engagement Council that plans events each month. Once a year top performing employees take a Prime Power Producers trip to an off-site location. “We celebrate small wins and recognize each other's efforts always,” says one employee. “Whether it be a simple but meaningful Prime Award or celebrating a great month with lunch at the end of the month or a happy hour. We keep it fun.”

5. Mountain America Credit Union

Revenue: $241.6 million
Headquarters: West Jordan, Utah
Employees: 1,322
Great Rated! review

This credit union lender matches up to 5% of employees’ contributions to their 401(k) plans and recognizes outstanding workers each year by arranging a lunch with the CEO and treating them to a paid vacation. Last year managers doled out more than $135,000 in spot bonuses and 7,000 hours of pad-time-off as awards for their performance. At the company’s headquarters, executives hand out ice cream during summer. “The training that is given here is tremendous,” says one employee. “There is so much trust and money invested as each employee gains the tools not just to complete his/her tasks, but to really help change members' lives.”

6. Robert W. Baird & Co.

Revenue: $1.07 billion
Headquarters: Milwaukee, Wis.
Employees: 2,926
100 Best Companies Rank: 9
Great Rated! review

This financial services company offers nearly 100 hours of annual training for full-time salaried employees. The firm’s perks extend all the way down the corporate ladder to interns, who receive the Fourth of July as a paid holiday and can earn a day’s pay volunteering at a charity of their choice. Discounts are available to employees on a variety of products including personal computers, software and athletic apparel. “Employee ownership is a big positive,” says one worker. “People hecre seem to always respect the company. When you become a shareholder the upper leadership and other employees make you feel important and that you are part of something special.”

7. Mercedes-Benz Financial Services

Headquarters: Farmington Hills, Mich.
Employees: 8,500
100 Best Companies Rank: 94
Great Rated! review

Employees at this auto financer celebrate the company’s German heritage during Oktoberfest. Once a year, they can also participate in the company’s “week of caring” where employees volunteer at community and nonprofit organizations. A popular program provides discounts on Mercedes-Benz vehicles and the firm pays 96% of health costs for employees as well as 93% for dependents. “The integrity of the brand promotes a sense of pride and makes one happy to say they work here,” says one worker.


Revenue: $20.97 billion
Headquarters: San Antonio, Texas
Employees: 26,389
100 Best Companies Rank: 17
Great Rated! review

Employees at this financial services company, which caters to veterans and retired members of the military, collect two weeks pay in cash as a holiday bonus. While they enjoy stress-relieving rooms and workout areas all year round, they can also send family members to the company’s onsite summer camps. The company matches up to 8% of employees’ contributions to their 401(k) plans and pays 80% of their health costs (same goes for their dependents). “We serve a unique set of members and we strive for excellence,” says one worker. “There's no limit on how we can contribute to our members when they have sacrificed so much more than that. I love what we stand for and what our purpose is.”

9. William Blair

Revenue: $845 million
Headquarters: Chicago
Employees: 1,227
Great Rated! review

At this investment banking and asset management firm, partners are voted on each year. About 15% of its employees have achieved that rank, and have a stake in the company’s equity. The firm offers a generous college reimbursement policy and pays 90% of employees’ health care premiums, including coverage of alternative therapies like acupuncture and homeopathy. Says one employee: "William Blair is not only very professional but is a very friendly place to work. I see my co-workers more than I see my own family members during the week, so it's important to have a connection with them. We all care very deeply about the outcome of our work and each other."

10. Citadel

Headquarters: Chicago
Employees: 1,400
Great Rated! review

This investment firm matches mentors with mentees who meet monthly to discuss career development. In addition to having access to free breakfast, lunch and dinner, employees have the opportunity to hear thought leaders give talks like ESPN’s FiveThirtyEight blog editor-in-chief Nate Silver and doctor and author Atul Gawande. About 20% of the firm’s workers participate in company sponsored running groups, sports teams and other activities such as chess clubs, and all have access to onsite fitness facilities or receive subsidized health club memberships. “I am truly happy to be part of such a strong, intelligent and hardworking company,” says one worker. “The people I work with are incredible.”


Small and Medium-Size Companies

1. Quest CE

Revenue: $6 million
Headquarters: Milwaukee
Employees: 37
Great Rated! review

At this financial services company, which provides technology for managing training and compliance duties, all employees are eligible for a raise after three months of employment. After one year of employment, employees get a total of 25 holidays and vacation days. On a day-to-day basis, Quest CE strives to make work fun. Daily achievements are celebrated with a giant gong at 3:30, the kitchen is stocked with free snacks, and employees are encouraged to take 20 minutes to exercise. In the words of one employee, “When it comes to getting our jobs done, I feel like everyone is in it together…Not only are we focused on the jobs and tasks that need to be accomplished, but there are opportunities for fun breaks throughout the day.”

2. Sage & Rutty Co.

Revenue: $12.4 million
Headquarters: Rochester, N.Y.
Employees: 55
Great Rated! review

This comprehensive financial planning company, which handles everything from retirement to estate planning, is all about planning to make their employees happy. There’s a profit sharing plan where 20% of the firm’s pre-taxed profits is distributed amongst employees with over a year of service. College tuition reimbursement is up to $10,000. In the summer, employees get three hand a half free days as well as one in December. And as an added touch, there’s on site dry cleaning pick-up and delivery as well as a massage therapist. “The benefits are fantastic,” says one employee. “They offer a more-than-reasonable amount of vacation and paid holiday time off and have several health and fitness support groups. This company cares about my personal and professional wellness, happiness and health.”

3. First American Equipment Finance

Revenue: $329.9 million
Headquarters: Fairport, N.Y.
Employees: 141
Great Rated! review

This firm, which finances commercial equipment, annually shares its profit with employees. High performers earn all-inclusive trips for two to destinations like the Bahamas. Additional perks include iPads, free health club and ski club memberships as well as paid volunteer time. The social consciousness extends to the environment as well. The office uses digital signs instead of newsletters, solar-powered keyboards, and e-documents instead of paper contracts. In addition meetings are virtual whenever possible. “Employees can share their ideas about both their work life and personal life on the same public forum. It helps reinforce that family culture we take so much pride in here,” says one employee.

4. Greenleaf Trust

Headquarters: Kalamazoo, Mich.
Employees: 91
Great Rated! review

The independent chartered bank, makes taking care of their employees’ health a priority. Health care—medical, dental, and vision— is completely covered for employees and dependents. In addition, employees receive $600 a year for wellness programs ranging from golf to nutritional counseling. Other perks include monthly team breakfasts, and spontaneous celebrations—Valentine’s Day, coffee and bagel welcomes for new employees, and surprise pizza parties when someone does well. “Work-life balance is very important, not just something management talks about,” says an employee. “If you have a sick child, doctor’s appointment, the cable guy is coming etc., you can take the time needed to handle those things without worry.”

5. Opus Fund Services

Revenue: $8 million
Headquarters: Naperville, Ill.
Employees: 37
Great Rated! review

This independent accounting company has numerous systems for validating their employees. There’s daily group huddles, monthly town-hall meetings where employees can ask senior staff questions anonymously, as well as a kudos system for recognizing anyone who does a good job. In addition to appreciation lunches, the year is peppered with get-togethers for everything from birthdays to pumpkin decorating. Plus, high performers who beat deadlines earn extra days off. “This is a place full with energy,” says an employee. “There are lots of young people working hard and everyone is treated like members of a family.”

6. Primary Capital Mortgage

Revenue: $28 million
Headquarters: Atlanta
Employees: 126
Great Rated! review

Residential mortgage lender and servicer, Primary Capital Mortgage, has a plethora of community building activities. In additional to regular company sponsored happy hours, there are holiday parties galore. Think a catered holiday part, Thanksgiving lunch, a Halloween pizza lunch with a costume party, as well as a Super Bowl chili cook-off. On birthdays employee cubes are decorated, and the birthday person receives a card and gift certificate to Wal-Mart or Safeway. “I can honestly say that this is the best company I’ve ever worked for,” says one employee. “Every employee is a team player and we are all like family.”

7. AnnieMac Home Mortgage

Headquarters: Mount Laurel, N.J.
Employees: 478
Great Rated! review

Perks at this residential mortgage lender are holistic. Employees receive formal training through AnnieMac University which gives them an overview of the company as well as training on new programs, products, and technology. Rewards for high performers include quarterly bonuses, and a four-day all-inclusive tropical vacation for two. On annual company trips, top performers also receive limo service and spa treatments. “Management truly cares about professional development and they provide the resources to make it a reality,” says an employee.

8. Altair Advisers

Headquarters: Chicago
Employees: 41
Great Rated! review

This financial counselor, which works with individuals, families and foundations, dishes out bonuses based on an annual peer evaluation. Work-life balance is an integral part of the culture. Employees can work from home and have flexible work hours, which allows them to plan work around family commitments. Everyone gets to leave early on afternoons before a holiday. In the event of a birth or an adoption, employees get a solid nine weeks of paid time off. “We genuinely care about each other,” says one employee. “If someone is having a personal issue, the rest of the team steps in to support them.”

9. OnDeck

Revenue: $65 million
Headquarters: New York City
Employees: 369
Great Rated! review

OnDeck is a small business lender that makes short-term loans and a comprehensive compensation package. Employee pay is padded out with equity as well as a spot-award program where high performers receive cash awards “on the spot.” Employees get free membership to One Medical, which has clinics and offers 24/7 virtual care, as well as onsite massages, wellness fairs and free manicures. And just for fun, every quarter offices have celebrations including carnivals, bowling and ice skating. “We get unlimited vacation. If I ask for certain computer hardware that makes me more productive, I get it,” says one employee. “Also, we have flexible hours and we can work from home.”

10. MSU Federal Credit Union

Revenue: $130.26 million
Headquarters: East Lansing, Mich.
Employees: 639
Great Rated! review

The Michigan State University financial cooperative offers services ranging from deposit accounts and loans to IRAs, while taking good care of its employees. It covers 100% of its employee’s health insurance premiums. After one year of employment, employees are eligible for full college tuition reimbursement including the cost of books. Education doesn’t stop there, however. Employees can sign up for a wealth of leadership and pre-management development courses. “The benefits are what help to make MSUFCU special,” says one employee. “The fact that employees do not have to pay medical, dental or vision insurance premiums is fantastic.”

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