'Put a Pulse' to Every Loan

June 20, 2010
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“Go to work.”

That’s Wayne Vann’s nonsense-free approach to running a credit union during times of financial distress. The president/CEO of $960 million asset Navy Army Credit Union, Corpus Christi, Texas, says despite the recession, there still are many members borrowing and depositing money.

“You can’t fold up your tent every time someone tells you the economy is horrible,” he says. “You have to go to work and get your people geared up. You’ll make some mistakes and have some chargeoffs. You’ll have lower quality come to you. This doesn’t mean they’re bad people or they won’t repay you. It means you’ll have to look at these members more closely.”

Vann says financial struggles are nothing new to Corpus Christi—an area with few high-tech employers or heavy manufacturing, where the median annual income is around $30,000.

Vann shares his approach to serving members during times of financial distress.

CU Mag: What economic challenges are facing your members and your CU?

Vann: South Texas is a predominately blue collar area that’s 65% Hispanic; mostly second- and third-generation families. We have no high-end, high-tech jobs and no heavy manufacturing, so the median income is in the low to mid $30,000 range. Our average credit score is something south of 600.

But this is an environment we operate in all the time; it’s not because of recessionary factors. A common comment around here is that it’s hard to tell when Corpus Christi is not in a recession.

But having said that, we have a lot of good, solid people and families here. They just, traditionally, don’t always take care of their retail credit, and they don’t have a lot of disposable income.

They use their income for household necessities so bills may get pushed aside. When you have that kind of median income it doesn’t take too many bumps in the road before your paycheck goes to other factors.

Next: Balancing risk and service

Put a Pulse to every loan

Peggy Brown
July 09, 2010 9:13 am
Would like to know if Vann would share his lending guidelines for consumer lending. I am looking at revising our lending guidelines and his situation is the same situation I am facing in East Tenn. Please help... Thanks

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Great article! Unfortunately, most employees don’t feel valued or appreciated by their supervisors or employers. In fact, research has shown that the predominant reason team members quit their jobs is because they don’t feel valued. This is in spite of the fact that employee recognition programs have proliferated in the workplace – over 90% of all organizations in the U.S. has some form of employee recognition activities in place. But most employee recognition programs are viewed with skepticism and cynicism – because they aren’t viewed as being genuine in their communication of appreciation. Getting the “employee of the month” award, receiving a certificate of recognition, or a “Way to go, team!” email just don’t get the job done. How do you communicate authentic appreciation? We have found people have different ways that they want to be shown appreciation, and if you don’t communicate in the language of appreciation important to them, you essentially “miss the mark”. Additionally, employees need to receive recognition more than once a year at their performance review. Otherwise, they view the praise as “going through the motions”. A third component of authentic appreciation is that the communication has to be about them personally – not the department, not their group, but something they did. Finally, they have to believe that you mean what you say. How you treat them has to match the words you use. If you are not sure how your team members want to be shown appreciation, the Motivating By Appreciation Inventory (www.appreciationatwork.com/assess) will identify the language of appreciation and specific actions preferred by each employee. You then can create a group profile for your team, so everyone knows how to encourage one another. Remember, employees want to know that they are valued for what they contribute to the success of the organization. And communicating authentic appreciation in the ways they desire it can make the difference between keeping your quality team members or having a negative work environment that everyone wants to leave. Paul White, Ph.D., is the co-author of The 5 Languages of Appreciation in the Workplace with Dr. Gary Chapman.

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