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|Products & Services News (04-24-13)|
The Pulse (04-24-13)
April 24, 2013 ● Volume 02, Issue 16
CO-OP Financial Services announces new marketing tools, team
CO-OP Financial Services recently formed a new team and has developed new tools to assist credit unions in their marketing and sales efforts. The team brings together CO-OP employees with several years of experience across the entire CO-OP product line. The enhanced tools will bring best practices learned in the shared branching product line to all of CO-OPs business partners.
The new team includes:
Kim Swift, Manager Strategic Business Partners – CO-OP Financial Services
Ann Morgan-Belyk, Business Development Manager – CO-OP Shared Branching
Nathan Rogers, Manager of Channel Strategy and Market Innovation – CO-OP Financial Services
Katie Elston, Channel Marketing Manager – CO-OP Financial Services
Amanda Botte, Marketing Coordinator – CO-OP Financial Services
Along with assembling the new team, CO-OP is enhancing some partner marketing services. The first major enhancement will be expanding www.co-opdna.org to all partners for access to sales tools, research, marketing materials and more. CO-OP DNA is a web portal that provides self- service access to these tools.
Throughout 2013, the CO-OP Partner Marketing Team will continue to add new and improved materials and strategic insights to the CO-OP DNA website. For more information on CO-OP Financial Services and its product offerings, contact MnCUN Vice President – Network Service Corporation John Ferstl by email or call (651) 288-5505.
Universal employees can help CUs promote products and services more efficiently
The concept of a universal employee – a worker who can take members through each step of a transaction instead of shuffling them between departments – is catching on at credit unions as a way to provide quality services to members more efficiently. Affinity Plus Federal Credit Union in St. Paul and Grow Financial Federal Credit Union in Tampa, Fla., both hire and train universal employees to serve their members.
Affinity Plus introduced the universal employee model at its branches in 2007. Senior managers at Affinity Plus recognized inefficiencies in how their branch staff interacted with members. A member with a debit card issue, for instance, could only be served by that department to resolve the problem.
"We had what I called the continental divide, where tellers operated in one area of a branch and loan officers in a different area, and there wasn't any collaboration or teamwork between the two,” said Dave Larson, Senior Vice President at Affinity Plus.
To improve service, Affinity Plus eliminated the titles member service representative and financial service officer, replacing them with an all-encompassing title: Member Advisor. All employees who work with members are now considered member advisors.
Now, branch employees can assist members with several types of transactions, as well as with all types of lending, including business, consumer, real estate, home equity, first mortgages and debit and credit cards. Employees still specialize in certain areas, but staff members collaborate and work together to deliver the best possible service. Affinity Plus has also applied the universal strategy to its back office. Employees in marketing, accounting, finance, operations, and IT are viewed as member advisors, as well.
Grow Financial came to a similar conclusion. The Florida credit union implemented its initiative just a year ago but has already seen a positive effect on its balance sheet. Loan origination per employee is up 5.5 percent and overall loan originations have increased 18.5 percent. In the year since it switched to the universal employee model, the credit union has originated more loans than in any year since the economic downturn began.
To support the transition, the credit union altered the structure of its branches. Team members are now called member relationship specialists, and within that job family there are tiered levels of responsibility. Employees start off at level one, a classification for those who understand one side of the institution, either cash or platform. Employees are promoted to level two when they show proficiency with both sides of the institution. Once they take on leadership roles, employees are promoted to level three, and they advance to level four after working with outside business development.
To find employees with the potential to perform a more universal role, Affinity Plus executives changed their interviewing techniques and reconsidered the type of experience they valued in applicants. Like Affinity Plus, the executives at Grow Financial also look for certain personality traits that make for a successful employee.
"We empower our employees here,” Larson said, "so we ask interview questions that help us determine if candidates can make decisions on their own instead of just following the system or asking a supervisor.”
Contributed by Drew Grossman, CreditUnions.com