In December 2020, Dustin Holland was hired as Listerhill’s digital strategist, reporting to the CEO.
Acting as a hub for all digital development, Holland brings together talent from several key departments to make digital change happen.
Digital services are not a one-size-fits-all component of a credit union’s operations. For some industry players, organizing digital offerings and teams can be complicated by geography and member preference — as is the case at Listerhill Credit Union ($1.1B, Sheffield, AL).
“Some of our branches and our members are located in rural areas,” says Dustin Holland, Listerhill’s digital strategist. “So, we have to maybe consider our digital set ups differently. I do think it can be a barrier sometimes overlooked in places where we do business.”
Though Listerhill does business in Huntsville, AL, and Nashville, its bread-and-butter members don’t live in those nearby urban centers. And for those members, it’s not uncommon for them to lack high-speed internet or cell service that many today now take for granted. Despite those differences in digital adoption, Listerhill has positioned itself to offer solutions for everyone.
“To be competitive, we still have to offer the same level of services as Chase. That’s expected,” Holland says. “But at the same time, we have to make sure we’re a comfortable place to do business for all those people we spent years inviting into the branch.”
CU QUICK FACTS
Listerhill Credit Union
HQ: Sheffield, AL
Data as of 06.30.21
12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 11.7%
12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 10.1%
The 4 Pillars Of Digital
Until December 2020, the digital approach at Listerhill contained three pillars: member experience, process, and IT, with each pillar having its own leader and team underneath. It was at that point when the big Alabama credit union hired Holland to his current role, a position from which he acts as a hub for digital development projects across the organization and reports to the CEO, Brad Green.
“Depending on the project, I’ll work to determine who is involved and where we can hitch our wagon,” Holland says. “My goal is to bridge departments and stakeholders together.”
At the moment, Holland is a team of one, though through his work he’s helped the credit union identify areas to invest in additional staff. For example, Listerhill has hired an employee to manage its loan operating system as well as several data analysts for its IT team. But for now, when an idea for a digital project is initiated, it starts with Holland as the point who then quickly involves the appropriate departments.
“Once we realize we’re moving forward on a given project, the first question is always: Well, who does this involve?” Holland says.
Often, that first call goes to legal and compliance to ensure the credit union can cross all the Ts and dot all the Is in the development process.
From there, the credit union will involve its process department to map out the project’s development schedule.
“They help us see who this project is going to affect and what are our next steps,” Holland says. “That way we’re not running around without a plan.”
And while that plan can differ based on the project, typically Listerhill will involve its member experience team to ensure what’s being built or introduced is up to a high experiential standard, its IT team to specifically leverage new or existing data dashboards and insights, and its Lift team — essentially an internal support center for the credit union — who provide beta testing and feedback.
“Those are the main building blocks,” Holland says. “But we’ll add blocks depending on the house we want to build.”
For instance, of late the credit union has been working with its growing commercial department to create a custom report to provide the team cleaner and more efficient data insights. The process team kickstarted the project by mapping every business account type the credit union offers, helping the department understand the value of each and whether a given type should be included on the custom report.
Holland and IT are working on the software side of the project. And member experience is working in the project’s back end, speaking with retail and sales staff to understand what commercial members want and how that can best be tracked or benchmarked in the report itself.
“It’s a large-scale discovery and deconstruction process until we build it back with better functionality, software, and efficiencies,” Holland says.
Managing Digital Changes
For any given project, Holland can count on at least 15 different collaborators within Listerhill’s member experience and process teams. The IT team is much larger, however, and Holland relies on a handful of employees from that department for digital work—data analysts and the core processor admin, without whom much of the digital work would not be possible.
“Everything has to plug into the core,” he says.
And while each of these stakeholders has a part to play in digital development, it’s the process team that oversees the tail end of the development cycle: change management.
The team of three is led by Abigail Gaddy, the vice president of process management, and includes Heath Butler, change management specialist, and Jeremy Terry, process improvement specialist. The three work together to map out the developmental process for new projects and existing product updates, but they also work closely with different departments to prepare them for organizational change, especially digital ones.
It’s in this realm where Butler’s work looms large. He leverages the ADKAR model, helping Listerhill’s employees both accept change and lead them toward advocacy, as well. ADKAR stands for:
Awareness of the need for change.
Desire to support the change.
Knowledge of how to change.
Ability to demonstrate skills and behaviors.
Reinforcement to make the change stick.
Weeks in advance of any change, Butler and his team begin communication with impacted stakeholders, including visits to each of Listerhill’s branch locations to have sit-down meetings with staff. As change occurs, it’s not just members who can feel left behind, but employees as well.
Holland believes this team finds success by communicating in terms of efficiencies.
“They take the time to map it out, show the employees how much money or time goes into the current operation, and what can be saved through a change,” Holland says. “It’s important to take the time to do that because change can be scary.”
Being able to diagram why certain changes are happening is part of the reason why change management lives within the process team. And because they are so effective in their search for efficiencies, ideas come from this team, too.
“Once we realize there’s an issue or an opportunity for improvement, we kick into gear. We find out who is involved. We ask how we can get this done in a way that will be better for everyone. And then we get it accomplished. It’s really that simple.”
Listerhill’s Columbia, TN, branch is close to Lawrenceburg, TN, a town with a strong Amish presence. Each Wednesday, Amish families take the bus to Listerhill’s Columbia location to do their banking. However, because they don’t have government-issued IDs, debit cards, and the like, serving these members can be a wholly different experience for the credit union.
“But should they suffer because they are different clientele? Absolutely not,” Holland says.
The process team reviewed how this population of members were doing their banking, again deconstructing the pieces of the process to make it more efficient. Does an Amish member need all the same input fields in a given transaction? All the same pages in the new account opening process? Is there a plug-in the credit union could create to generate an Amish-focused loan or account opening form entirely?
While Holland notes that this may be an extreme example, it does highlight the potential that digital services have to improve the member experience, increase efficiencies, and make Listerhill a better place to bank for all its members — not just those in Nashville and Huntsville and in and around its Muscle Shoals-area headquarters, but those further from the cities.
“Once we realize there’s an issue or an opportunity for improvement, we kick into gear,” Holland says. “We find out who is involved. We ask how we can get this done in a way that will be better for everyone. And then we get it accomplished. It’s really that simple.”
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