Effective Collaboration Helps Retail Investment Program Thrive

Allegacy Federal Credit Union offers an integrated investment services program to its members.


The decision of Allegacy Federal Credit Union ($1.0B, Winston-Salem, NC) to fully integrate its investment services program within its overall core product/service offering has helped the credit union achieve above average financial performance. The credit union wanted to position its investment services as one of its core offerings, says Cathy Pace, senior vice president and chief marketing officer at Allegacy, which serves almost 110,000 members and 550 select employee groups with its 20 branches.

“Effectively integrating a retail investment program with other credit union business can be considered a critical success factor for credit unions looking to increase their wallet share with members and grow their assets under management,” says Pete Snyder, president of SCS Consulting and co-author of the annual Callahan/SCS Retail Investment Services Benchmark Research Report. “Some credit unions experience difficulties when retail investment programs are operated separately, where different product groups ‘compete’ for marketing dollars and member attention.  Having a more cohesive approach to the member relationship can help the credit union more effectively provide products that meet the member’s needs, not just individual departmental goals. Programs that can do this effectively typically experience higher than average performance and productivity.” 

Productivity & Performance Benchmark/Metric

Allegacy FCU

Other Dual Employee Programs


GDC @ Million of Deposits




Average GDC @ FC




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Source for Data: 2010 Credit Union Retail Investment Services Study

Allegacy has developed an organizational “Synergy Strategy” that drives collaboration throughout the business and operational teams at the credit union. The income contribution of the investment group is communicated throughout the management team, so other departments fully understand the importance of these products to the credit union’s bottom line. 

“Including someone from a marketing perspective makes sure that the investment group is receiving support and that they are working from a referral standpoint with the financial centers,” Pace says. “We're educating the financial centers on what the investment group can do for the members and that it's a complement to what they're doing.” 

Leveraging Cross-Selling Opportunities
Allegacy’s financial center managers and financial advisors work together, which helps ensure the success of their cooperative efforts.  

“There's a lot of focus within our organization and our culture in cross-selling opportunities,” says Donna Hennessey, Allegacy’s project manager for the CEO, describing the impact of the system on the credit union. “You know we have our payroll division, we have a realty division. We have a group insurance division and that's part of our CUSO. But we truly have a good relationship within our branch structure and department structure within the different areas to promote synergy and give the referrals to the different areas.  We can't just push from a retail operational standpoint and say, ‘You got to promote Allegacy investment group.’ It's got to be a return back from the financial advisers on supporting the credit union’s initiatives, whether mortgage products, checking accounts, or really promoting the CD maturity push that we've had for the last 12 months of pushing retail dollars from the credit union side into the investment group. It's been a very well blended approach and initiative by both our retail side and our investment side.” 

Allegacy tracks and incentivizes referrals from the credit union to its investment services program, and its cross-departmental collaboration enables it to more effectively meet the regulatory and compliance challenges related to marketing and advertising investment products and services. Increasing member awareness of the full scope of the available products and services is an ongoing focus of the integrated team. Allegacy uses its SEG network to promote financial education and increase awareness of credit union products through workshops and lunch-and-learn sessions.

Tracking and Communicating Performance
Another key component of the credit union’s synergy strategy is communication through all levels of the organization. Allegacy holds town hall meetings to ensure goals are clear and messages are effectively communicated organization-wide. The credit union has developed a comprehensive performance evaluation system that includes 60 characteristics that support its synergy strategy. Employees have individual performance plans and goals and are evaluated every six months. 

Allegacy’s management stresses the importance of using a variety of measures to track performance in the current environment. Although assets under management can vary with the market, the institution closely monitors account data, such as new accounts and new invested dollars, each month. It also closely tracks its member penetration rate and would like raise it considerably higher than its current rate of 3.7%