Training Helps Create ‘Extreme Lending’ Success

Any conversation with a member can be a lending opportunity.

December 21, 2012
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Any conversation with a member can be a lending opportunity. By understanding members’ relationships with your credit union and listening carefully, you often can recommend loan products to help them meet their financial objectives.

Two years ago, UW Credit Union, Madison, Wis., launched a comprehensive training program to help staff engage in those conversations and recognize and act on opportunities.

 “We wanted to take our lending efforts to the next level—to an extreme level—and do things a new way,” explains Rob Van Nevel, vice president of member services at the $1.5 billion asset credit union. “As part of that, we wanted to move members’ loans from other financial institutions to UW Credit Union.”

  Van Nevel led a cross-functional team that identified training needs and developed training materials for tellers, financial specialists/lenders, and managers. Tellers learned to look comprehensively at members’ relationships with the credit union.

Financial specialists/lenders learned a new process to retrieve credit reports and review them with members. Managers spent a month on the front lines working as lenders so they could be more effective coaches.

When processing a member transaction, tellers learned to:

Financial specialists/lenders learned to:

As part of the process, one team of financial specialists focuses on outbound calls. The specialists pursue leads from credit bureau reports and other sources, looking to capture loans from other lenders. Another team focuses on inbound calls and online inquiries.

Staff members report their success in terms of member savings. “If they bring over an auto loan, for example, they note the difference in rate between the original lender and UW Credit Union.

That’s the member’s savings,” Van Nevel says. “We’ve developed a lot of enthusiasm for helping members save money and improve their financial well-being.

“We realized our previous approach to lending had been transactional,” notes Van Nevel. “We wanted to develop consultative, lasting member relationships for a lifetime.”

This article first appeared in Front Line newsletter.

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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 ( 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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