NJCUL Convention Blog

Balancing Risk and Reward – Setting Your Risk Appetite 

By: David Frankil, President/CEO, NJCUL

As individual investors, we intuitively understand the relationship between risk and reward. If I want low risk, it means US Treasuries, laddered CDs, or maybe even a money market – which means low reward, too. If I am willing to accept high risk, it may mean options and margin trading – which has the potential for high reward under the best scenario, lots of pain under the worst case. A well-thought-out strategy balances a mix of risks and returns, based on personal goals and situations.

Which is pretty much the same way it works for a credit union.

One of our breakout sessions at the upcoming NJCUL Annual Convention (Oct 22-24, Atlantic City) is focused on helping credit union executives and Board members think through how to determine their appetite for risk, and then develop strategies to power growth.

Our speaker is Ancin Cooley, CIA, CISA, and founder of Synergy Credit Union Consulting, Inc. A former examiner, Ancin performed safety and soundness examinations for institutions of all sizes, up to $8 billion in assets. He has also worked at a regional accounting firm doing internal audits and pre-regulatory examiner reviews, and at Synergy helps clients with a range of risk management services.

We had a chance to visit with Ancin to discuss his upcoming presentation.

Frankil: Let’s start with definitions – what do you mean when you refer to a credit union’s ‘risk appetite?

Cooley: Risk appetite is specifically how much risk a credit union is willing to take in pursuit of earnings.

One of the analogies I like to use is food - if someone has high blood pressure or high cholesterol, they need to change their appetite to adapt to their body’s condition. In a similar way, some credit unions don’t have risk appetites that fit their current conditions, whether we are talking about capital ratios, or past due ratios, for example. So in the same way you need change a diet or physical balance sheet, some credit unions need to take a more forward looking approach when deciding to strategically grow their financial institutions.

Frankil: Who has the ultimate responsibility for setting the risk appetite – the Board, the CEO, and/or NCUA? And how involved should senior executives be?

Cooley: Typically we see risk appetite conversations occur between the Board of Directors and management. Senior management should set the course, and then the Board reviews for alignment with their appetite for risk. The strategy and results should be reviewed quarterly. That is the best way to develop the synergy (no pun intended) between strategy for growth and risk appetite.

Frankil: Most credit unions are run pretty conservatively – realistically, how much difference will there be between risk strategies? Or maybe put differently, how wide is the band of acceptable risk for credit unions, especially given the oversight of our regulators?

Cooley: There are real differences – it comes down to capital constraints and the comfort levels that a Board and /management team has with pursuing additional revenue streams  SBA lending is a good example – in my opinion, SBA lending is low hanging fruit to grow loan portfolios in a safe manner, but there has to be a willingness to grow and learn, and be compliant – which typically involves some push from management side to get started. There seems to be a bias or myth around SBA loans – often we hear ‘we don’t have the expertise.’ But that is true of anything the credit union does, at some point in its evolution. Not to say it is easy or trivial, but there are significant potential benefits. Plus, you can always sell all or portions of SBA loans on the secondary market, to reduce exposure and produce incremental revenue.

Frankil: Are we only talking about risk appetite with respect to growth via lending, or are there other opportunities to apply this approach?

Cooley: No – it should be an enterprise-wide activity. For example, look at investments, which can employ a similar approach. Some credit unions have the majority of their liquid assets in ultra-safe investments with minimal yield. But there are degrees of risk credit unions should consider in pursuit of earning. I’m not suggesting that credit unions invest their assets in junk bonds, but there are plenty of opportunities for participations and other relatively safe activities that can increase earning.

Frankil: What is the first step a Board and CEO needs to walk through in a risk-setting strategic process?

Cooley: First, you want to figure out what everybody’s risk appetite is – usually with a survey of Board, CEO, and senior management, From there, understand what the general consensus is in the organization, which creates a forum for the conversation to set the risk appetite. Risk is not a yes or no question, it is a matter of degrees. From there, you develop a simple statement that captures everyone’s perspective.

Frankil: How does that statement flow through to implementation, and get communicated to the rest of the organization?

Cooley: Often, policy statements become a document that that gets stale or old. Best practice is to memorialize risk tolerances in policies and procedures, but make it an organic document. Creates a situation where the policies and parameters are alive, revisited on a regular basis, and the organization will embrace them. For example, you can back into operational goals from the broad parameters.

Frankil: How involved should NCUA or State regulators be in that risk appetite -setting process, if at all?

Cooley: In some situations, being pro-active in implementing this process means communicating with a regulator to show that you are not just pushing into a new solution without anticipating the potential risk issues. So not so much on the front end for approval, but demonstrating to regulators that you are anticipating the potential risk from a new solution or activity, and have a plan to ameliorate the concerns. That you understand it is not just about having your foot on the gas pedal, but that you understand the need for brakes and other safety devices.

 

To learn more about how to balance risk and reward at your credit union, come spend some quality time with Ancin (Synergy Credit Union Consulting www.syncuc.com) at the NJCUL Annual Convention, October 22-24, 2017 at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City. Visit www.njcuconvention.com for more information and to register – early bird discount available until August 18th!

Wednesday, August 16, 2017 10:55:00 AM

Riding the Digital Revolution and Driving Loan Volume 

By: Barbara Agin, Vice President of Member Experience & Education, NJCUL

 

For over 100 years, credit unions have been the source of financial services for many in the United States, not for profit but to serve their members as credit cooperatives.

Today, while most are able to offer equally competitive products as do banks, it is the ability to offer credit to meet specific needs that continues to set them apart.

I had a chance to chat briefly with Don Arkell from CU Lending Advice who will deliver two impactful sessions at this year’s Annual Meeting & Convention: “Using the Digital Revolution to Deliver Lending” and “Lower Expense Ratio While Increasing Loan Volume”. 

Agin: Your first session talks about the digital revolution. In your experience, what holds a credit union back from moving to a digital platform? 

Arkell: The majority of credit unions already operate on a digital platform. However, the vast majority of credit unions don’t lead with their least expensive, most convenient channel. Consumer behavior has changed dramatically in the past 10 years, let alone the last 20 years. Often times credit unions get stuck in what they can see (the branch) and neglect their online remote presence.

Agin: What holds a credit union back in most cases? Is it the board, fear of failure, cost, or other constraints?

Arkell: There is a large chasm between the typical board member’s expectation for delivery of loans and the generation of borrowers that are entering the market today. 30% of the US population is under the age of 30. This generation surpassed the Boomers in 1Q2017 as the largest block of consumers. Their digital expectations and behavior with regard to delivery are out of sync with many BODs.

“Cost” is relative. While there is certainly a cost of entry, the cost to deliver a direct loan through a branch system is 10X higher than delivering remotely. Most credit unions today have the available technology, or have ready access to it, they just aren’t’ maximizing it.

Agin: Are there statistics to support that a move to a digital platform increases loan volume?

Arkell: Execution is at the core of any strategy. Credit unions need to understand that their membership is already using these channels and choose competitors over them because the competition leads with a more convenient (not necessarily lower cost) delivery. That is one of the key insights – we often think of loans as being commodities, driven by lowest cost of either rate or fees, but data shows that consumers value convenience over cost. In a sense, they are looking at the total value of a transaction, and valuing their time highly.

Agin: Do credit unions using digital see an increase in delinquencies?

Arkell: I’ve not seen a correlation between the digital channel of Direct Loans and delinquency rates. There are certainly additional fraud protections and related processes that need to be in place, though.

Agin: Well that is good to know! Don, your second session discusses lowering expenses while increasing loan volume. Without giving away the essence of your program, what will you address?

Arkell: For one thing, credit union executives are optimists. In my travels, I find that lending departments are typically overstaffed, from which we can infer that they are building in capacity before the actual volume exists to support it. Lending is the revenue arm of the credit union. Across the network 65% of all income generated at credit unions comes from loans. It is the most important thing we do.

Agin: I would think that the lending department would be the best investment for staffing.

Arkell: It’s all about systems, process and goal alignment. I have seen motivated Loan Officers generate the volume in one month that a typical branch generates in the same time period. Having the right people in the right seats is core of a lending strategy.  The skill sets needed to originate loans are different than the skill sets needed to underwrite loans.

Agin: So, it is not the amount of staff focused on the loan function but rather the skill set of the member-facing individuals?

Arkell: Exactly. Lending is a margin business, it is extremely important that we deploy our precious resources intentionally. How your credit union is designed organizationally sets the tone for lending. Are you set up to lend? Do you have the right people in the right seats to maximize revenue while reducing costs?

There are very few things in this world that we can control as management, one of the factors we do have control over is the ability of our front-line staff. That is 100% within our domain. Many credit unions talk about the elusive “Sales Culture” but few credit unions execute this strategy. It’s all about the people.

 

To hear more of Don’s insights on growing lending volume, join us at the NJCUL's 83rd Annual Meeting & Convention in Atlantic City, October 22-24, 2017. For complete pre-convention coverage, more information and to register, go to www.njcuconvention.com

Thursday, August 10, 2017 9:04:00 AM

An Ivy League Professor Who Spent 4 Months Working in a South Bronx Check-Cashing Store Says We're Getting it All Wrong 

Story originally appeared in Business Insider on Feb. 12, 2017
  • University of Pennsylvania professor Lisa Servon went to work as a teller at a check-cashing store to find out why customers use the service.
  • Prevailing wisdom holds that customers would be better served by using a bank. But Servon found that check cashers were frequently cheaper and served customers' needs better than banks.
  • Three common reasons customers cited for using a check casher over a bank were cost, transparency, and service.

Lisa Servon couldn't kick the nagging feeling that the financial elite had it all wrong.

The prevailing wisdom from bankers and policy makers went like this: People who used alternative financial services — like check cashers and payday lenders — were making expensive and unwise decisions. If we could just educate the "unbanked" and "underbanked" and usher them into the modern financial system with a bank account, their fortunes would surely improve.

But Servon, a professor of city and regional planning at the University of Pennsylvania and a former dean at the New School, spent 20 years studying low-income communities, and to her, that picture didn't add up. Most of the unbanked (the roughly 7% of US households without checking or savings accounts) and the underbanked (the nearly 20% that had such accounts but still used alternative financial services) that she encountered were neither naive nor irresponsible about money.

"The implication of that" — the biennial surveys of the "unbanked and underbanked" by the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporation — "was these people were making poor decisions," Servon recently told Business Insider. "I knew that the people I had worked with closely who don't have very much money know where every penny goes. They budget things. They know where to get the best deals on things. And so it struck me that if they were using check cashers, there must be a good reason for that."

Already steeped in academia and research, Servon didn't think she'd gain any new insight from behind the desk. So in late 2012, she decided to embed in these communities to get a firsthand look, landing a job as a teller for four months at a check-cashing store in the South Bronx. (She would later also work as a teller and loan collector at a payday loan store in Oakland.)

She didn't go undercover, but rather was hired on the up-and-up thanks to some help from Joe Coleman, the president of a small chain of New York City check cashers called RiteCheck Cashing, who had guest lectured for one of her classes years before.

"It felt like the only way I could answer this question: If alternative financial service providers are so bad — if they're so predatory and so sleazy and so much in the business of taking advantage of people — why are people using them in growing numbers?" Servon said.

Servon recounts her journey in her new book, "The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives," which came out in January. The book seeks to untangle the reasons millions of Americans are fleeing the "broken banking system" and opting instead for alternative financial services in ever increasing numbers, providing many first-person accounts from people Servon encountered while working in the field.

Early in the book, she focuses on her experiences at RiteCheck, which is part of an industry that reached $58 billion in 2010, up from $45 billion two decades earlier. If check cashing was shady, why were more people flocking to it?

Servon was surprised by what people told her. Over and over, Servon heard and observed that check cashers often met customers' needs better than banks did.

She discovered there were three main reasons people used these services instead of banks: cost, transparency, and service.

Cost
"People told me they were saving money by going to the check casher instead of the bank," Servon told Business Insider.

The RiteCheck she worked at charged $1.50 to pay a bill, $0.89 to buy a money order, and roughly 1.95% — as regulated by state law — of the face value of a check to cash it. These small fees add up, but they often paled in comparison to the unexpected charges, maintenance fees, and overdraft fees customers had experienced at banks. The rate for money orders is cheaper than at most banks, which commonly charge $5 to $10.

"RiteCheck customers told me clearly that bank fees were an important factor in their decision to patronize check cashers," Servon wrote in her book.

In the book, she provides the example of Carlos, a local contractor who came in on a Thursday to cash $5,000 for his small business, paying a $97.50 fee (and a $10 tip to Servon) in the process. That's $100 he'll never see again — how could he be coming out ahead compared with using a bank? Servon explains:

"If Carlos is like many small contractors operating in New York City, he relies at least in part on undocumented workers, who are unlikely to have bank accounts. If Carlos deposited his check in a bank, it would take a few days to clear — too late to deliver cash on payday. Or maybe the check was a deposit for a job he had just been contracted to do, and he needed supplies to get started. If he couldn't start right away, he risked losing the job to another contractor."

Paying $100 isn't much compared with the cost of losing good laborers that need to be replaced or forfeiting new business.

"It feels expensive — it is expensive — but it made good sense," Servon said. "And there are many, many stories like that."

Transparency
Outsiders may think the signage at a check casher — resembling that of a fast-food menu — is gauche compared with simple, polished interiors of their local bank branch. But that's a feature, not a bug.

Customers "felt like they knew exactly what they were paying when they went to the check casher. And if you go into a check casher, you will see there are signs that span the teller window that list every product that's for sale and how much it costs," Servon said. "The transparency is really critical."

On the contrary, customers couldn't predict when banks would charge them a fee or what that amount would be — a deal-breaker when you're operating on a tight budget.

"Walk into your bank branch and you'll see there's no literature like that that makes it obvious what's on offer," Servon said.

Moreover, Servon writes, checking accounts were the antithesis of transparent. The terms and conditions were long, technical, and laden with jargon. Many people can't afford to wonder when their deposit will clear, and they prefer paying a small fee for the clarity and speed offered by check cashers.

Service
The third thing Servon heard repeatedly was that "people felt like they were being better served" at a check casher than at a bank.

"The customer-teller relationship at RiteCheck creates remarkable loyalty," she wrote in her book. She said the dynamic resembled the banking she grew up with in the late 1960s and early '70s that was based on relationships and that has largely faded from traditional banking.

Check-cashing companies charge small fees and thus rely on a high volume of business to turn a profit. That means inspiring loyalty is crucial to the business model, so tellers go out of their way to be friendly and flexible, and customers reward them by returning week after week, year after year.

"Banks want one customer with a million dollars. Check cashers like us want a million customers with one dollar," Coleman, the RiteCheck president, said in Servon's book.

In practice, this means providing customers with payment plans when times get tight or helping non-native speakers read letters they've received in the mail and providing advice — not to mention offering rapid access to their money that banks frequently can't match.

"One of the things that cost people a lot of money is actually waiting for their money," Servon said, alluding to the example of Carlos, the contractor.

Not all check cashers are the same, but the perception of the industry as seedy doesn't jibe with Servon's experience. And contrary to the views of the financial elite, customers' use of check cashers typically didn't seem naive or poorly thought out, but rather the smartest decision they could make given their circumstances, according to Servon.

"It showed me that those decisions are often rational, logical decisions, even if they're expensive," Servon said.

Posted by Marissa Anema Tuesday, July 11, 2017 10:33:00 AM Categories: Lisa Servon

NJCUL Annual Convention 2017: Innovate, Collaborate, Succeed 

By: David Frankil, NJCUL President/CEO

Curating content for our Annual Convention (taking place this year October 22-24, at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City) is exciting, yet challenging. Our audience is diverse – CEOs and other Executives, Board Chairs, Supervisory Committee Members, and Volunteers. Just to complicate things further, the CEOs and  Executives range from more  senior  to those just starting their career – and with functional responsibilities from lending to marketing to operations to HR, and everything in-between. 

Factor in the diversity in credit union size and their differing needs, and you can see why crafting great content for Annual Convention takes a concerted effort by our entire team.

Luckily,  our team is diverse in their specialty areas (legislative affairs, compliance issues, marketing, member experience, etc.) , so it made sense to take an all-hands-on-deck approach to our initial Convention planning.

At our first “whiteboard” meeting, before we even glanced at speakers and topics, we spent a considerable amount of time talking about our mission at NJCUL – to be a catalyst for our members’ success. As we work through our strategic plan, we’re looking at every activity to make sure it is consistent with that mission – and that applies to Annual Convention, too. Hence the change in theme from the previous two years’ “Inspire” to this year’s “Innovate, Collaborate, Succeed!.”

It starts with the Keynote Speaker, made possible by the generosity of CUNA Mutual Group – Ms. Lisa Servon. Lisa is a Professor of City Planning at the University of Pennsylvania and the author of The Unbanking of America: How the New Middle Class Survives. In it, Lisa recounts her experiences behind the counter of a check cashing store and at a payday lender, to help us all understand why these alternative banking systems have emerged as a central feature of our economy for the unbanked.

View Lisa’s message in the context of our long-standing goal of raising awareness of the benefits of credit unions in New Jersey, the single most significant rate-limiting factor in our growth. We’ve all at one point in time wondered why a group of consumers—who ought to represent a great growth opportunity for us—voluntarily choose to pay higher fees for banking services with check cashers and payday lenders, when credit unions can offer them the same benefits without the punitive costs.

Even worse, we watch some of our own members that patronize check cashers and payday lenders, when a better solution is right in front of them, along with  financial knowledge and empowerment to help them with their overall situation. 

Yet those alternative banking systems not only continue to exist, but they thrive – and until we understand why, we’ll never be able to make meaningful inroads into their marketshare. Go back to our mission of being a catalyst for our member’s success - Lisa’s surprising and somewhat counter-intuitive findings are more timely now than ever. Look for a future blog post interview for a preview of what she will tell us in Atlantic City.

Next up come the breakout sessions – everything from how to explore opportunities to collaborate, to director liability issues, to income opportunities, to management consulting skills for top executives, and much, much more. Plus we’ll have a strong focus on advocacy, too – special breakouts with NCUA on taxi medallions, updates directly from NCUA and NJDOBI, a CULAC event, and maybe even special appearances from a politician or two.

All focused on one clear mission – helping you succeed in an increasingly complex and competitive financial services marketplace.

I hope you can join us October 22-24, 2017 at the Golden Nugget in Atlantic City. Visit www.njcuconvention.com for more information and to register. You can take advantage of an early bird discount if you register your team by July 31st.

Wednesday, July 05, 2017 9:58:00 AM

10 Essential Leadership Prerequisites 

By: Celeste Cook

One of the hottest topics in the credit union industry today is leadership – new leadership, that is. With the current mass exodus of credit union CEOs, new leaders are entering top roles to take the baton and raise this industry to higher levels over the next few decades. But there are many questions being asked about this next group. 

  • Do they possess management and leadership attributes, abilities, and skills? 
  • Do they have the ability to lead change? 
  • Are they visionaries and progressive thinkers? 
  • Do they have the ability to influence others to support their vision? 
  • Are they out-of-the-box thinkers? 
  • Are they passionate? 

For credit union Boards and exiting CEOs, these are questions, among many others, that need to be addressed for the industry to maintain and certainly increase its current momentum. 

Listed below are ten prerequisites Boards and exiting CEOs need to examine closely for their future leaders: 

  1. Passion: Leaders must have an ongoing burning drive to make things better, to make a difference, to persevere and overcome all barriers to achieve success. 
    In addition, how passionate is the new candidate about ensuring growth through excellence in all areas of the credit union: People, pricing, products, programs, policies, processes, and procedures? This industry has a unique mindset. It’s more than a transaction. It’s about changing lives and making a difference. Is the passion there to go to a deeper level of service? 
  2. Perspective: Today’s leaders need to understand where you have been, where you are, and where you want/need to go. It’s an ever-changing world today. The speed of technology, for instance, has never been faster. Having your eyes on the horizon regarding members’ growing needs (Can you say mobile?), growing regulatory requirements, evolving infrastructure, etc., is so critical. However, one of the most critical component is keeping your pulse on your employees and your culture which have such a powerful impact on the member experience and the growth of a credit union. 
    Credit unions today are living in a world of moving targets. Perspective certainly plays a huge role in an organization’s success. 
  3. Creativity: Use your creativity to find new and more effective ways to do things. It’s the fun part of the job that requires the complete opposite – risk taking which is what credit unions are in the business to do. This takes creativity to venture outside the proverbial box that can many times help leapfrog over the competition. Try new things, be curious. 
  4. Organizational skills: Transferring your broad vision into a very well organized, practical, step-by- step program. This prerequisite is vital to running a well-oiled machine in keeping tasks, responsibilities, and order in check and on target. 
  5. Teamwork: Leading any major change involves engaging, persuading, and working with other people while keeping the organization’s best interests at heart. Very few great things in life occur from one person – especially professionally. Being an aligned team from top to bottom just about guarantees success as long as the direction has been clearly defined for all staff. . But this alignment and direction starts at the top, the leader and must be clearly communicated to everyone in the organization. 
  6. Persistence: Passion gets you started; persistence is what carries you through. Highs and lows are not only part of life, they are part of business, too. A leader that can weather these fluctuations and keep steaming ahead can keep the credit union heading toward achieving its goals. Setbacks occur, but being persistent can quell those speed bumps – keeping the passion that sparked it all at full stoke. Getting and keeping everyone focused on the end results and putting simple actions plans in place is critical to remain steadfast in your mission and vision. 
  7. Open-mindedness: Change leads you into unchartered waters and involves a good measure of “learning by doing.” Therefore, you must be very comfortable with ambiguity. It’s somewhat similar to both creativity and perspective, keeping options open for anything new and, yes, proven. Therein lies the calculated risk that an open mind craves. A mighty fine prerequisite for today’s credit union leader. 
  8. Integrity: Honest and genuine; motivated by your deeply held values to make your organization and team better. Nothing matters more in a leader. 
  9. Empowerment and Accountability: Empowerment and accountability go hand in hand. One does you no good without the other. Great leaders are comfortable delegating and empowering their teams to excel and do the right thing to get the right results. Conversely, great leaders hold their teams accountable as well. 
  10. Fun: Leaders know how to incorporate fun along the journey! 

Success is not driven by “black and white” operational thinking. Success is driven by visionary leaders who embrace and possess the attributes outlined above. As an industry striving to become more relevant in a fast-paced world with a very fluid economy, having the right leader in place is certainly giving you a competitive edge to ensure long-term success. 

Celeste Cook works with credit unions across the country and in New Jersey, helping them accelerate their lending programs. Celeste will be will be speaking at the NJCUL Annual Convention on the topic of Key Lending Strategies for Growth, Profitability and Retention. Register today at www.njcuconvention.com.

Wednesday, September 07, 2016 8:00:00 AM Categories: Celeste Cook

Business Development and Marketing Best Practices from cuStrategies 

By: Celeste Cook

In today’s economic landscape with fierce competition between credit unions and other financial institutions; even worse, competition between credit unions; and the lack of loyalty from companies, successful credit unions are finding it challenging to increase its membership, loan growth, and checking accounts without reluctantly giving the farm away…meaning lower interest rates and lower profit margins (yield which impacts ROA). The days of waiting for people (new members) to walk into the credit union to open an account are long gone. Therefore, if people in your community and employees of your select employee groups aren’t coming to you, then you have to find a way to get face-to-face with them. That is where business development and innovative marketing strategies become an important piece of the pie to grow the credit union. But it isn’t as easy as it sounds. Getting in the door of companies is one of the biggest obstacles credit unions face today. Secondly, once the door is open, it is even more difficult to keep the door open with regular on-site visits and access to employees. Thirdly, it seems all marketing pieces and ads look alike so it is difficult to create differentiation! This being said, credit unions must rethink, renew, a​nd revive business development and their marketing strategies. Below are some quick tips to help you get started! Also, take a moment to review the success of other credit unions.

Business Development and Marketing Best Practices

Credit unions cannot afford to not have business development!

  1. Market a partnership, not the credit union with businesses in the community. Also, market a relationship, not a product or service
  2. Strengthen your brand to become more relevant to people and employees in your communities…offer a program that helps member improve their credit score; lowers their DTI and monthly payments on loans with other financial institutions; and gets rid of high-interest-rate credit card balances with other financial institutions (proven strategies shared at cuStrategies Business Development and Marketing Conference)
  3. Offer a unique program no other financial institution offers that adds greater value and is real, relevant, and relatable to companies in your communities and their employees: Exclusive Credit Score Management Seminar (a one-hour PowerPoint Presentation provided to attendees at the cuStrategies BD&M Conference) that is guaranteed to generate loans and increase checking accounts from new members for the credit union
  4. Build and train a strong Business Development Team that is focused on building relationships and partnerships as well as capturing quality profitable loans (New Member/New Money) and services: auto loans and HELOCs as well as checking with e- statements, bill pay, etc., to strengthen loyalty and long-term retention
  5. Establish loan and new account goals that align with the credit union’s overall strategic goals
  6. Remove barriers and offer the right tools to create a streamlined process to ensure new accounts and loans are captured at onsite visits
  7. Build strong partnerships with real and relevant programs that add value your competitors don’t/can’t offer
  8. Offer rewards for the right results…loans, checking account with e- statements, and bill pay (number-one retention tool)
  9. Get staff motivated to be engaged in Business Development and with the Business Development Team
  10. Develop key strategies and scripts to overcome objections: ask the right questions and offer relevant solutions to ensure you don’t get the response “No thanks”!

Celeste Cook works with credit unions across the country and in New Jersey, helping them accelerate their lending programs. Celeste will be will be speaking at the NJCUL Annual Convention on the topic of Key Lending Strategies for Growth, Profitability and Retention. Register today at www.njcuconvention.com.

Monday, August 29, 2016 8:00:00 AM Categories: business development Celeste Cook marketing

Millennials Say It's Too Difficult Working With You 

By: Jim Kasch

Member Intelligence group recently published the results of a large Millennial credit union member research survey. Millennials report it’s too difficult to do business with their credit unions, and they want better access to their money.  Sometimes it’s technology, but it’s just as often branches and ATMs. Credit unions should redefine the Millennials need – it’s not ATMs they need, but surcharge free access to cash.

For more information on this and other findings, visit Member Intelligence Group to download your free copy of the report.

Jim Kasch has over 20 years experience in business, most of which with credit unions. In his credit union tenure Jim led marketing, business development, sales, and strategic alliances as CEO of Partners FCU, which serves The Walt Disney Company. Jim will be speaking at two NJCUL Convention General Sessions. Register today at www.njcuconvention.com.

Wednesday, August 24, 2016 8:41:00 AM Categories: Jim Kasch

Ask, Listen, & Respond: The Secret Sauce for Serving Your Audience 

By: Dr. Michael Hudson

The gap between what we think we know about those we serve and what we actually know is often much larger than we realize. But if we don’t really understand the challenges they face, we can’t create value for them.

In this video I share a simple approach you can use to learn how to serve your audience by joining the conversation in their mind about the problems they are facing and the solutions they are seeking.

Back again this year for another highly engaging small credit union workshop at Convention, Dr. Michael Hudson brings 31 years of experience working with businesses, including credit unions and credit union associations to the breakout room. Challenge your credit union to think bigger and go further by being a part of his workshop. Register today at www.njcuconvention.com

Thursday, August 04, 2016 12:09:00 PM Categories: michael hudson small credit union
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