Bringing New Business on Board

‘Know the demographic your CU is targeting in its efforts to be successful.’

December 23, 2013
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Numerica Credit Union’s team of business development managers has been together just one year. But what a year it’s been.

Drawing from their separate areas of expertise, Manuel Hochheimer, Janet McNeilly, and Jeanette Radmer teamed up to identify the Spokane Valley, Wash., credit union’s target demographics and introduced initiatives to broaden its market share within those segments.

The trio’s Dealer Center Outbound Conversion Program dramatically improved engagement among indirect auto loan recipients. Its University Outreach Program deepened interactions between Numerica and more than a half-dozen colleges in its service area. And the credit union’s emphasis on the growing medical, dental, educational, and small-business communities in the region meshes with its goal of attracting more 25- to 49-year-olds.

Radmer sums up the team’s strategy: “Be strategic in your business development efforts. Know the demographic your credit union is targeting in its efforts to be successful and thrive in the future. Then, reach out to that demographic, get to know them, and introduce them to the benefits your credit union has to offer.”

The group’s successful onboarding program stands out as its chief accomplishment. In the past year, Numerica connected with approximately 70% of its indirect members, converting nearly 20% of them into primary financial institution members—a rate about 10 times the industry average.

“Simply by reaching out to people, having a conversation, and listening to their stories, we’ve become a partner in their quest to find financial well-being, rather than the place where they have their car loan,” Hochheimer says.

Numerica tailors financial education presentations for students and faculty at colleges such as Gonzaga University, Whitworth University, and Eastern Washington University, and partners with them on community involvement projects. The credit union also offers a tour of its headquarters with an executive Q&A.

Thanks to the region’s emphasis on becoming a business corridor, many of those rising stars remain in the area following graduation to start their careers. Numerica has positioned itself as their trusted financial adviser.

“I get excited about learning what motivates members and identifying their unique needs,” McNeilly says. “This process wouldn’t be as fulfilling if I didn’t work for a company that I believe in. I can honestly say I enjoy going to work every day.”

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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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