Looking for a Lending Rebound

Members are paying down debt at unprecedented rates, wreaking havoc on CU loan portfolios.

March 31, 2011
KEYWORDS cuna , loans , market
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A work force revival

Another way to keep members happy—and reap the financial rewards of doing so—is to ferret out members’ needs and work to exceed them.

Creating a member-focused sales and service culture has helped 1st MidAmerica Credit Union, Bethalto, Ill., boost assets, loans, and deposits. Plus, the effort has prompted a work force revival as employees embrace a new way to work.

Creating this culture required employees to adapt to a new approach to member service. To guide the process, the $430 million asset credit union used organization-wide training and complementary materials that gave employees a common language and shared references.

Employees were introduced to the change process in January 2009 with training based on the book “Who Moved My Cheese?” by Spencer Johnson. The credit union also developed a product manual and a “Team Leader Coaching Guide” to provide a foundation for sales and service tools.

Managers began holding bi-weekly coaching meetings with employees to provide information about products and services, and tips for interacting with members.

Also playing an important role were new tools such as:
• Referral goals and incentives, which reward employees who reach goals with cash, paid time off, or gift cards;
• Cross-sell pop-ups, delivered via the core computer system, that remind employees of marketing promotions, suggest products and services to cross-sell, and offer scripts to initiate conversations; and
 A monthly newsletter with articles and success stories.

During the 12 months following the culture change, 1st MidAmerica grew membership from 38,970 to 41,343, increased products per household from 3.49 to 3.59, grew deposits 12.69% (vs. a goal of 9.84%), and increased loans 8.31% (exceeding its 7.38% goal).

The credit union won a 2010 CUNA Operations, Sales & Service Council Best Practices Award for its efforts.

Next: What to expect in 2011

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