Products & Services News (04-24-13)


The Pulse (04-24-13)


April 24, 2013    ●    Volume 02, Issue 16

View 04-24-13 issue of The Pulse

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:

Business Development

Kim Swift, Manager Strategic Business Partners – CO-OP Financial Services
Kim brings more than 17 years of experience with CO-OP Financial Services. Kim works with various business partners that resell or endorse EFT products and services. She provides strategic leadership and support to assist the growth and success of the EFT business partner channel.

Ann Morgan-Belyk, Business Development Manager CO-OP Shared Branching
Ann has worked for CO-OP for almost 12 years and works closely with the business partners that resell shared branching, as well as all direct state credit unions for shared branching. Ann is responsible for maintaining existing relationships and new business opportunities, and also plays a key role in the growth and development of shared branching, including new products and services through CO-OP Connect.


Nathan Rogers, Manager of Channel Strategy and Market Innovation – CO-OP Financial Services
Nathan has spent more than 15 years in various capacities within the financial services industry, including as Branch Sales Manager, Director of IT and VP of Marketing. Nathan manages the marketing group responsible for partner engagement and support and all products under the Locations business line.

Katie Elston, Channel Marketing Manager – CO-OP Financial Services
Katie has been with CO-OP for eight years. She has worked extensively with CO-OP's business partners to assist them in marketing CO-OP products and services. Katie has also focused on marketing CO-OP Shared Branching, and her role has recently been extended to marketing CO-OP Member Center and CO-OP Network.

Amanda Botte, Marketing Coordinator – CO-OP Financial Services
Amanda has spent almost four years at CO-OP, where she has worked closely with its business partners. She is responsible for creating and executing campaigns for products that fall under the Locations business line and serves as the administrator of CO-OP DNA.

Along with assembling the new team, CO-OP is enhancing some partner marketing services. The first major enhancement will be expanding 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,


Minnesota Credit Union Network
555 Wabasha Street N, Suite 200
St. Paul, MN 55102

(651) 288-5170
(800) 477-1034