Purdue Federal Credit Union Adds Depth To Teller Training

A new training program is improving member service and helping the Indiana credit union build universal employees.

 
 

Purdue Federal Credit Union ($824.7M, West Lafayette, IN) has struck GOLD in its homegrown efforts to provide staff development while improving member service and preparing for a sea change in how that’s delivered.

The 64,436-member Indiana credit union launched its Growth Opportunity Leadership and Development program in early 2013 to give entry-level staffers more reason to stay and experienced employees more room to grow.

CU QUICK FACTS

PURDUE FEDERAL CREDIT UNION
data as of 06.30.14
  • HQ: West Lafayette, IN
  • ASSETS: $824.7M
  • MEMBERS: 64,436
  • BRANCHES: 12
  • 12-MO SHARE GROWTH: 4.97%
  • 12-MO LOAN GROWTH: 8.21%

The GOLD program consists of five training modules that each build on their predecessors. The modules are aimed at developing a “universal employee” concept, which Purdue FCU is moving toward.

“We eventually will no longer have tellers,” says Lisa O’Neal, Purdue FCU’s senior sales manager. “We’ll have universal employees who can do everything from basic transactions to home equity loans.”

Tellers will work with members face-to-face as well as through video teller machines, one of which already is in place at one branch while another is planned for a branch currently under renovation.

Striking GOLD

Purdue FCU started developing the program in early 2012 when employee surveys revealed a lack of training and opportunities for tellers and member service representatives. That malaise was leading to high turnover as staffers either left the credit union or moved to lending services and other support jobs that were seen as more stimulating or promising.

The credit union built GOLD to keep essential member-facing staff engaged while highlighting a potential career path, but creating the program constituted an exercise in learning not only for the students but also the trainers.

“We had to learn how to balance what we wanted to do with what was possible,” says training specialist Megan Brown.

That includes both in terms of how many people can participate and how much training can fit into each module.

In order, the modules cover:

  1. How to create new member accounts, including checking, youth, and estates and trusts; how to talk to members.
  2. How to add accounts such as deposit certificates and IRAs; digging deeper into trusts and estates.
  3. Introduction to lending, including auto installments and secured loans.
  4. Digging deeper into lending, including home equity lines of credit.
  5. Member business lending (Purdue FCU has a low-income designation; therefore, its MBL cap has been lifted.)

Sharing The Wealth

Although GOLD is less than two years old, early results show the annualized turnover rate has decreased to 14.38% among the approximately 80 of the credit union’s 200 employees in those categories, O’Neal says.

And the credit union is building off the promising launch by continuing to tweak the program. For example, GOLD initially consisted of four modules but the credit union split MBL into a fifth.

Tellers typically complete training modules in a group of two to four employees during a single daylong session at credit union headquarters. A student passes when they can complete a checklist of tasks associated with that module to the satisfaction of the branch manager.

Managers at each of the credit union’s 12 branches decide which employees can participate and when. And aside from July and August — when the credit union does not offer classes so it can maintain branch staffing during vacation season — Purdue FCU offers each module every month.

The first module is mandatory. Any staff member whose job includes opening accounts has to successfully complete it to satisfy internal audit requirements, O’Neal and Brown say.

Beyond that, participation is optional but stands at 86%, O’Neal says.

“Of those not participating, all but one are part-time, and their availability to go to the training sessions is limited,” she adds. “There are eight employees who have completed the entire program and have been promoted.”

The credit union does not offer pay raises as a perk to completing the modules, although the promotions that come from completing them results in higher salaries, O’Neal says. Managers also can recommend staff for pay increases based on performance in their current jobs.

Benefits to the credit union, meanwhile, include more motivated staff and a consistency in service delivery as everyone works off the same modules.

“Members like a familiar face,” O’Neal says. “We’ve had complaints from members about so many new faces. Reducing teller turnover reduces that perception.

She adds, “We find the success that comes from this program is having knowledgeable and friendly employees capable of helping members in nearly every capacity. We strive to not need to ‘pass the buck’ and our future goal is that all branches will have employees who can help a member from start to finish.”

EMPLOYEE SCORECARDS
Source: Purdue Federal Credit Union

Purdue_Module1

Purdue_Module3

(click image to enlarge)

These two scorecards outline two of the modules now in use at Purdue FCU. Tracking employee progression with cards like these help the credit union ensure consistent service delivery through each of the member-facing channels used at the Indiana Credit Union.

 

 

 

 

Oct. 6, 2014


Comments

 
 
 
  • Interesting approach
    laurie.butz@communityfirstcu.org
     
     
     
  • Props to Purdue FCU for proactively addressing the challenges of member satisfaction and employee development. The "universal banker" approach is gaining momentum among community-scale financial insitutions.
    John Hyche