From Auditor to Advocate

Her CU mission is bring strategy and finance together.

October 08, 2013
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Her zeal for credit unions extends back to her first job as an auditor, when Pam Finch visited Mid-Minnesota Federal
Credit Union in Baxter, in 1992.

“From that point on, I looked forward to serving credit unions. The people were friendly and the atmosphere was welcoming.”

Mid-Minnesota’s then-CEO, Ray Burnett, recruited her as chief financial officer (CFO) in 1996.

During Finch’s tenure at Mid-Minnesota, the credit union grew from $60 million to $250 million in assets.

“My goal was to maintain a loan-to-share ratio as high as possible,” recalls Finch. Other CEOs would tease her for “being disappointed with anything less than 110%. I liked to run lean because the best investment is an investment in members.”

That style changed in 2008 with the flight to safety. But Mid-Minnesota continued to thrive, refining its long-standing consultative sales and service culture, adding branches, and absorbing very little capital loss during the corporate crisis.

“I feel good about where the credit union is positioned as I move on,” says Finch, who began a new position in September with consulting firm c. myers. 

Council leader
As a 17-year member of the CFO Council—eight years spent on the executive committee—Finch recalls, “We had fun, worked hard, and grew one of the most sought-after memberships in the industry.”

During her tenure at Mid-Minnesota, Finch facilitated a strategic planning process built on the principles used by c. myers.

The council executive committee established metrics to measure success, set deliberate objectives to meet those goals, and monitored progress using a scorecard.

“With the proper focus on outcome, our success soared,” Finch recalls. 

“When I retired from the executive committee we were the largest of the six CUNA Councils, earned an impressive Net Promoter Score, broke our own conference-related records, steadily offered more educational opportunities, and were strong financially,” she adds.

Ultimately, all six Councils adopted the scorecard approach and the Council Forum uses it as a tool to monitor success.

Moving on
Her mission now is to bring strategy and finance together. She wants credit union leaders to think differently about how to reach the next level of performance.

“Credit unions are facing a crucial time,” says Finch, “and they must shout from the rooftops the value they bring to consumers’ financial world. If we continue to do the right thing by our members and educate consumers as to why they should become members, the opportunity to make a difference is endless.”

That could be why Finch holds a special place for rocker Jon Bon Jovi. “My 14-year old rocks out when he hears ‘Living on a Prayer.’ Aside from his music, Bon Jovi passionately supports worthy causes—definitely a rock star who has made a difference in many lives!”

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