In the 1990s and through the beginning of this century, the credit union retail investment services channel lacked its own way to measure program productivity and performance. Available studies were designed for and catered to a larger bank marketplace where the majority of participants owned their own broker-dealer. As such, much of the information and analysis out there was not relevant to a credit union’s operation, and most of the metrics credit unions could use related to the productivity and referrals for a financial consultant (FC).
There are distinct benchmarks that offer a clear indication of a credit union program’s productivity and performance, and 10 of them appear on a scorecard created by Callahan & Associates and Snyder Consulting Solutions. These metrics, which are both directly and indirectly related to one another, include program gross dealer concession (GDC) per one million shares, GDC per financial consultant, financial wallet-share ratio of insured deposits and uninsured assets, member penetration rate, branches per FC, member per FC, total share deposits per FC, accounts per FC, cross-referral activity, and financial modeling. Credit unions can use combinations of these metrics to identify opportunities for improvement within their overall delivery model.
Just as a detective investigating a crime, credit unions can use the scorecard and industry productivity ratios to resolve productivity and performance issues.
For example, let’s assume Credit Union A has:
Above average GDC per FC
A high branch per FC ratio
A low GDC per million of shares
A low net income ratio
The program is operating well under its capacity to generate business with its members when compared to its peers. If average GDC per FC is above average while program GDC per million of shares is below average, then financial consultants might be overextending themselves in trying to reach members. This is substantiated by the higher than average branch per FC ratio.
Second, the credit union’s program is not generating a net income ratio that is in-line with peers. This is critical in today’s economic environment in which non-interest income is a critical component in supporting many credit unions’ financial models. The low net income ratio suggests gross fee income is lower than what it should be despite the financial consultants’ above average production.
This credit union should conduct a comprehensive review of all of its branches in an effort to expand the FC sales force. Although the FCs might not be in favor of this solution – as they’ll likely perceive it as cutting up their territory – programs that have expanded their sales forces to reduce the branch per FC ratio to peer levels typically find financial consultants maintain their productivity levels while the new FCs contribute to the program’s total GDC. Although anecdotal, this validates that in similar scenarios there is a considerable amount of additional capacity for business without disrupting the productivity of the program’s current FCs.
The story changes considerably if we change one of the components of this scenario.
For example, for Credit Union B let’s change the average GDC per FC. If the average GDC per FC was below that of peer FCs, this program would have a third key issue regarding individual financial consultant productivity. In this situation, there is a reason why the average FC is not producing as well as their peers. The credit union should consider:
Are FCs housed in the wrong branches?
Are FCs demonstrating the right skill sets related to best practices around branch relationship development?
Does the retails staff have confidence in their FCs?
The above scenario about individual FC productivity is frequently found in credit union programs. In this situation management would want to examine its staffing model, training programs, and relationship development between the investment program and front-line staff.
Callahan & Associates and Snyder Consulting Solutions (SCS) have designed a credit union scorecard with the industry’s distinct needs in mind. The scorecard reports on 10 benchmarks that are clear indicators of a program’s productivity and performance. Credit union management teams can use combinations of multiple metrics to identify opportunities for improvement within their overall delivery model. Learn more about the Retail Investment Services study.