Tailoring Value To A High-Tech Community

KeyPoint taps member talents to hone its products.

 
 

KeyPoint Credit Union ($785.6M, Santa Clara, CA) began as the credit union for the American Electronics Association and the electronics trade. The state-chartered credit union primarily serves employee groups — Apple, Adobe, and Cisco among them — but is increasingly turning to Silicon Valley communities and adjacent counties for members. The credit union has more than 39,000 active members, nine branches, and ATMs located inside major high-tech companies. Brad Canfield became CEO of KeyPoint in March 2012. Prior to this position, Canfield served as CFO at BECU during a time of explosive growth for the Seattle-based credit union.

I replaced Tim Kramer, who had been the CEO at KeyPoint for 26 years. It’s a bit daunting to enter your new building and see it is named after your immediate predecessor. I have big shoes to fill, and it’s a pleasure to be here in the Silicon Valley region. After Seattle, the weather is wonderful.

CU QUICK FACTS

  • KeyPoint Credit Union
  • HQ: Santa Clara, CA
  • ASSETS: $785.6M
  • MEMBERS: 39,803
  • 12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 4.61%
  • 12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 8.12%
  • ROA: 0.22%

My first challenge, of course, was assembling a team. It took longer than I had anticipated for a number of reasons. We had to bring the right talent to the table — not just skill sets but also personality mix. This took time. I looked for people from both inside and outside the organization. I used a variety of tactics: I networked; I listened to the grapevine; I advertised nationally; and I hired a recruitment firm. My point was to assemble a team that would look to the future and could craft this credit union to be a leader in technology, communications, social networking, and more. We have to keep up. Actually, we have to do more than keep up — after all, we are the credit union of the most advanced technology region in the world.

I think we brought in the best and the brightest. I hired credit union people and some not familiar with the industry. For example, my new CIO spent more than a decade at Apple, and my new Senior Vice President of Marketing ran marketing at E-LOAN and FICO. I brought in people not just from the Valley but also with experience all over the country, although I felt it was important that anyone we hired understand the Silicon Valley workforce.

Our first exercise as a group was to review the strategic plan and update it for the next five years. We had to closely consider where the high-tech industry was headed and how technology itself would be developing. This exercise allowed the team to gel and develop a common purpose. Then we had to work diligently to communicate this vision to the employees.

One of the challenges I see for myself this year is communicating with staff. People are used to another CEO, not to my approach. Communication is critical to insure everyone shares a common vision and knows what the priorities are. Understanding that I am a source of change and change might not be natural for people has been an important lesson I’ve learned this year.

A Step Ahead Of The Future

Being a credit union that serves some of the most tech-savvy people on the planet, we want to keep KeyPoint on top of — or ahead of — the crest of the wave of change. We will be paying attention to the impact of mobile banking along with the demand for 24/7 services, the changing payments systems, the evolution of branches, and the increasing need for reliable and swift movement of money among countries.

We are working to offer an experience that involves elegantly engineered financial services products, and we will try to take advantage of our talented member base for this. For example, we have formed a number of committees, such as the Innovation Committee, that involve members, and we are working with SEG companies to get members involved in our collaboration and innovation process.

We will reach out to members to discover what kind of credit union they want to help shape the institution and its products and services. Our members are highly mobile; many travel frequently and to many parts of the globe and many are foreign-born. They have unique financial needs. We offer a program called Career Builder by which we help members who might be new to this country establish credit while they are working here.

We will also try to take advantage of the excellent universities in this region. For example, we’ve talked with Stanford’s Industrial School of Design to see if its students would get involved with some of our initiatives. And that’s only part of it. Because many of our members are shaping the future, remember Apple and Google, we want to tap them for where they are taking technology. We are asking them how we can take some of what they are developing in their companies or what they see across Silicon Valley and then project it here internally at KeyPoint.

Goals

We have some pretty aggressive membership and asset growth goals. Mainly we are looking for organic growth with three priorities: 1. growth of products and services usage within our existing membership; 2. growth within our member companies; and 3. growth within the communities we serve.

We want to make sure we attract younger people. We will be doing more to attract Gen X, Gen Y, and the Millennials as we think about payments and banking 2.0. We have a huge mobile effort going on as part of that effort. As mentioned, we’ll put energy into emphasizing alternative delivery channels and mobile banking to serve a remote or transitional workforce, all with the intent of offering a superior value proposition to the most tech-savvy people imaginable.

We know we have to be sharp. Not only are we competing against banks, we might also end up competing against services from someplace like a Google, whose people are developing financial service-like products such as the digital wallet. We understand we need to be looking less at the competitors we have right now than at the competitors we are going to have in the future.

That’s a full plate, but we’re moving into the future with confidence.

As told to Brooke C. Stoddard

 

 

 

April 15, 2013


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