Matt McCombs is a 30-year-old EVP/Chief Operating Officer with DHCU Community Credit Union ($450M) in Moline, Illinois, USA.
Synopsis: For nearly five years the financial services industry has been in turmoil. The economic recession of 2008 has caused banks and credit unions to substantially reduce growth plans and shift focus to survival.
As loan loss skyrocketed, operating budgets were slashed and financial institutions were asked to do more with less. Many institutions have had to shut the door and look at mergers as the last resort. Although the recession has technically ended, credit unions continue to see key ratios in turbulent waters.
Industry loan to share has slipped from 80% to 66% in four years and credit unions are experiencing limited revenue opportunities in a time of rising compliance and risk costs.
As our industry navigates these troubled waters, it is critical to understand there is no silver bullet or magical elixir to cure our symptoms but it will take an evolution of how our business operates culturally.
This last year DHCU Community Credit Union has started the “The Wow Project” aimed at evolving our business practices to our external environment.
The initial phase of the project has been aimed at three main areas; Creating a Sales Culture, Raising the bar on Employee Engagement and Establishing our Corporate Values.
Our Sales Culture started with a very simple goal. Re-engage our membership to drive balances back to the credit union that are held elsewhere.
Sounds easy, right?
Our sales culture formed around the idea of accountability, celebrating success and not being afraid to toot our own horn. This starts from the top down, driving high expectations and celebrating reaching critical milestones.
This last year we started measuring employee engagement and have tied manager’s compensation levels to a portion of their staffs engagement levels. We incorporate all front and back office employees into ongoing team goals to drive a “one team” approach throughout the organization. Also, as our growth has led to over a 20% increase in staff levels, all new employees undergo a culture lesson as part of new employee orientation led by myself.
The final part of our initial phase of “The Wow Project” was to establish our corporate values. Any organization can do the right things for a short period of time but it takes a corporate value system rooted to your culture to truly be a great organization. Our corporate values define who we are and what we believe in. Our long-term success relies on every employee believing and living our values on a daily basis.
Our results so far: This last year we have increased our loan portfolio over 29%. Leading the charge has been our consumer loan portfolio at increasing over 125%. Our loan to share has increased from 63% to 82%. Membership growth is over 6%, our member survey scores are at record highs and our staff is engaged in our next competition.
As we move into the next phase of “The Wow Project” our focus is on continuing the strong start of the last year and establishing “wow” standards for all areas of our internal and external interactions.