Then And Now

For 21 quarters, Callahan & Associates has offered lessons and best practices through the Anatomy Of A Credit Union series. Here's an update on six reader favorites.

 
 

Callahan’s Anatomy Of A Credit Union series is a quarterly, multi-feature profile that explores the strategies and analyzes the performance of an exemplary credit union. But what happens after Callahan leaves? The following excerpts from the executives at six Anatomy subjects show where the organization was and where it’s going.

 

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Heritage Credit Union (Newburgh, IN)
Profiled: 3Q 2013

THEN: “Greater technology is the No. 1 thing our members are asking for in our surveys, most specifically mobile,” said David Milligan, the credit union’s then-vice president of electronic services and deposit support operations. “But we’d been limited by our previous online banking relationship. It took a while to find a new provider who could meet that need.”

NOW: The credit union rolled out its mobile banking app in March of 2014, and so far it’s been a success: “In less than six months we’ve had close to 25% adoption,” says Ruth Jenkins, CEO. “The increase in transactions we’re seeing on mobile correlates to the number of transactions that are declining in our branches.”

 

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Veridian Credit Union (Waterloo, IA)
Profiled: 4Q 2011

THEN: In 2011, Hispanics were Iowa’s largest and fastest growing ethnic minority, with a population that increased more than 80% from 2000-2010, according to the U.S. Census Bureau. In Waterloo alone, the Hispanic population increased more than twofold during that timeframe. To provide a higher quality and value of service, Veridian decided to hire an additional 17 Spanish-speaking employees to assist its 10 existing ones. 

NOW: More than 50,000 Burmese refugees have fled to the United States and many have settled in the Hawkeye state, triggering an effort at Veridian to hire more employees who speak this language. “We’d like to make sure that everyone in our community feels welcome here,” says Jean Trainor, CEO. “Quite often, that comes down to seeing someone who looks like you when you walk in the door, speaks your language, and can provide whatever it is you’re looking for when you use a financial institution.” 

 

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GTE Financial Credit Union (Tampa, FL)
Profiled: 1Q 2011 

THEN: At first quarter 2011, the credit union had negative loan growth of -17% and a stated goal to revamp its lending process to improve member relations. “We started focus groups to bring the members back into the credit union and make them commonplace in our culture,” said Brian Best, the then-chief lending officer and now executive vice president at GTE. “If you engage them in the process, you’ll create products that are far better suited for the member instead of just creating a product and hoping it takes seed.” 

NOW: “We’re a lending machine and a net seller of both automobile and home loans,” says Joe Brancucci, CEO. “We have gone from 175,000 members back then to 230,000 members and from a Net Promoter Score of -33 to, as of year-end, a little over 74.” 

 

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Guthrie Federal Credit Union (Sayre, PA)
Profiled: 4Q 2010

THEN: Although Guthrie’s membership was and still is based on employee groups, in late 2010 it also began to embrace a new level of community-oriented outreach outside of those businesses, said former CEO Eric Chase. 

NOW: In the spring of 2012, Guthrie hired John Savelli as CEO. Savelli has expanded the credit union’s membership by acquiring several SEGs, including the staff of a local newspaper and employees at a local natural gas company. “We needed these new members so we can keep growing and have someone to loan to,” he says. “These are not huge organizations; some have just 30 employees or so, but they have shown an interest in our brand and the products and services we have.”

 

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Wright-Patt Credit Union (Beavercreek, OH)
Profiled: 1Q 2010 

THEN: In 2008, Wright-Patt Credit Union launched a Savings Race that featured five area families competing to reduce debt and increase savings. By first quarter 2010, the 10 families who had participated had improved their household worth — the amount saved plus the amount of debt reduced — by more than $250,000.

NOW: “We’ve tracked the results of the Savings Race during the past five seasons and the total household worth has increased for all of these participants by $675,000,” says Tracy Fors, vice president of marketing and development at the credit union. “That’s an average of $26,000 per family. We also estimate that, on average, the participants have improved their credit scores by approximately 48 points.”

 

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State Employees’ Credit Union (Raleigh, NC)
Profiled: 4Q 2009

THEN: At year-end 2009, in the midst of the Great Recession, SECU was still growing its loan portfolio at 6.31% year-over-year. “We have to lend in order to get out of this recession,” said Spencer Scarboro, at the time SECU’s senior vice president of mortgage lending. “That’s what we’ve done in the past. I’m not sure why we should stop doing that, members need us more now than they did when things were prosperous.”

NOW: “When the banking industry pulled back from the borrower, we waded in,” says Jim Blaine, CEO. “We have had growth in our loan portfolio. It’s been minor at some points compared to the past, but we continue to lend and work out plans to help folks who got behind on their mortgages or lost their jobs.”