Tips To Make 2022 The Best Year Yet (Part 2)

Credit union leaders share how they plan to make the coming year a success — both by numbers and beyond.

 
 

As the credit union movement reaches the end of 2021, leaders from cooperatives large and small across the country are looking ahead to calibrate strategies for the next 12 months. With year two of the pandemic nearly over, they’re hoping to build on past practices to ensure a prosperous future.

Several leaders talked with CreditUnions.com to share what they hope to accomplish in 2022 and how they plan to get there. Here’s what they had to say.

This is part two of two. In part one, read insights from Riverways Credit Union, Texas Trust Credit Union, UNIFY Financial FCU, and Vermont State Employees Credit Union.

GREATER TEXAS FCU

Howard Baker, President and CEO, Greater Texas FCU

Howard Baker has been president and CEO of Greater Texas Federal Credit Union ($941.2M, Austin, TX) for six years. In April 2020, Greater Texas shared insight on using social media to help the cooperative and its members navigate the new normal in “Social Media Specialists Share Strategies And Principles.

It’s December 2022, and Greater Texas has had its best year ever. What does that look like?

Howard Baker: By the end of 2022, technology upgrades implemented over the previous year will be fully realized, with machine learning and artificial intelligence providing substantial efficiencies and ample benefits to our business operations, especially retail and lending. Additionally, because we’ve adopted new payment technologies, crafting the best possible payment experience will result in our cards being the first choice for members when opening their wallets to make payments — digital or physical.

The in-house overhaul of our indirect auto lending program will also make waves, serving as the secret sauce to our prosperous dealer relationship platform. In 2022 we’ll increase the emphasis of our Greater Good community engagement initiative by donating more funds and increasing employee volunteering time to worthy causes within the communities we serve. Furthermore, we’re committed to keeping diversity and inclusion top of mind and will make strides toward improving where we stand. The year 2022 is going to be a great year!

Of course, it’s really December 2021. What are you doing now to bring that 2022 vision to life?

HB: We’ve been around for 70 years, and today, we’re laying the foundation for the next 70. Greater Texas | Aggieland Credit Union is working diligently to position ourselves as a top-tier financial experience across Texas. Our new, ultramodern, centralized headquarters building in North Austin is a physical representation of our commitment to achieve that goal. With a high-tech member contact center, state-of-the-art information technology wing, and centralization of our back-office departments and executive staff, we’re here for the long haul.

We’re also making serious strides to improving the credit union’s business operations, including replacing a 30-plus-year-old core banking system and implementing artificial intelligence/machine learning wherever appropriate. Finally, we’re keenly aware our biggest competitive advantage is our people. We’re investing in employee rewards programs, work environments, and staff development to ensure we’re securing and retaining the best talent.

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

HB: For 2022, we’re going to ramp up our Greater Good initiative and put our corporate giving into a higher gear. Whether it’s donating our time, treasure, or talents — Greater Texas | Aggieland Credit Union is prepared to significantly increase how well we’re serving our communities.

MICHIGAN STATE UNIVERSITY FCU

Deidre Davis, CMO, Michigan State Employees FCU

Deidre Davis has been chief marketing officer at Michigan State University FCU ($6.5B, East Lansing, MI) since 2017. MSUFCU is the world’s largest university-affiliated credit union and a frequent contributor to CreditUnions.com. Most recently, the credit union shared its experiences revamping its digital strategy in “3 Managers. 2 Decades. 1 Agile Digital Team.

It’s December 2022, and MSUFCU has had its best year ever. What does that look like?

Deidre Davis: We view success as helping more than 300,000 members and nearly 1,000 employees achieve their financial goals and dreams while keeping their accounts safe and secure.

We help our members achieve their dreams by providing convenient and affordable access to our products and services and easy-to-use apps that help prevent fraud and make planning for future goals easier.

We empower our employees to make good decisions to assist our members and one another by providing them with the tools and educational resources they need, trusting in their abilities, and supporting them to be their best authentic selves each day.

Every year, we help our members save money by refinancing high-rate loans from other financial institutions to MSUFCU — as of the end of 2022, we will have saved our members more than $125 million in interest since 2013.

Of course, it’s really December 2021. What are you doing now to bring that 2022 vision to life?

DD: The Lab at MSUFCU, our center for innovation that turns thoughts and ideas into viable financial technologies to improve our members’ experiences, has been busy this year. Through The Lab, we identify partners with which the credit union’s strategic initiatives can be accelerated.

This year, The Lab has piloted and released several financial apps for our members, including MSUFCU CVVkey, which reduces fraud by allowing members to enroll their MSUFCU Visa Credit Card and receive new and unique CVV2 codes to use while shopping online or over the phone.

Another app available is MSUFCU FinLife which was developed with Michigan-based fintech company, Pocketnest, to allow members to engage with their finances on another level through the education and guidance of financial planning experts. Through The Lab, we plan to continue providing our members with solutions to improve their experiences.

We’re also working on updates for our Visa credit cards, including placing member information — name, card number, and CVV number — on the back of the cards to enhance security, offering digital issuance for additional safety, and giving members the option to activate the card via our mobile app for improved convenience.

We continue to build and renovate branches, including a regional office and a new headquarters branch that is expected to open in summer 2022. The regional office will house our intern center, community space, a call center, and more. Increasing convenience for our members, we have also added a new “get in line before you arrive” feature, allowing members to plan their days to their specific needs.

We also introduced a new equity loan this year — SmartLine. It acts as a hybrid between a home equity line of credit (HELOC) and a fixed-rate home equity loan. It’s a revolving line of credit that allows the option to lock segments at fixed rates.

As of Nov. 22, through affordable lending options, MSUFCU has saved our members almost $17 million this year and nearly $108 million since 2013.

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

DD: Going forward, we will continue to use our members’ voices through feedback and pilot programs to ensure we are offering products and services that will improve their experiences and meet their needs. We will also continue to build off our success at The Lab, ensuring that innovation continues throughout our organization.

We will also continue to use data to create products and services aligned with members’ needs and wants as well as look for ways to help our members, such as through the recent Visa upgrade project. By analyzing members’ spending habits, we optimized their earning potential by upgrading their cards to rewards — or higher rewards — cards.

Additionally, we will continue to provide convenient access to branches as well as multiple digital channels, including our virtual assistant, Fran.

Lastly, we will continue to focus on our employees, providing them with the support, development, tools, and resources they need, empowering them to assist our members, and together, building a culture and work environment that we are all proud to be a part of and continue to enhance.

This is part two of two. In part one, read insights from Riverways Credit Union, Texas Trust Credit Union, UNIFY Financial FCU, and Vermont State Employees Credit Union.

RESOURCE ONE CREDIT UNION

Brady Popp, Chief Strategy Officer, Resource One Credit Union

Brady Propp joined Resource One Credit Union ($726.2M, Dallas, TX) in 2018. He shared insight on how his cooperative was helping members during the first wave of the pandemic in “7 Credit Unions. 2 Questions About Prepping For More Pandemic Fallout.

It’s December 2022, and Resource One has had its best year ever. What does that look like?

Brady Popp: Resource One Credit Union is embarking on an exciting new strategic heading that magnifies its impact within the communities it serves. In 2022, the credit union began its first leg of the journey by removing barriers to the traditional banking system for the underbanked and underserved in our communities.

We leveraged our Community Development Financial Institution (CDFI) designation to deploy grant supported lending, savings, and educational programs in areas of the greatest need. Additionally, the credit union focused its resources and efforts to support the needs of the financially vulnerable with convenient affordable products that stretch the family budget and promotes savings. Resource One continues to strive to assist up to 4,500 unbanked individuals and nearly 78% of existing members with those strategic initiatives.

Of course, it’s really December 2021. What are you doing now to bring that 2022 vision to life?

BP: Throughout 2021, the credit union has been laying the groundwork for its strategic journey and is poised to hit the ground running in 2022 with more than $1.8 million in grant money earmarked to support lending programs that support the needs of the unbanked and financially vulnerable.

We’ve also developed strategic partnerships with nonprofit organizations and others that serve these communities. These partnerships facilitate trust of the credit union and helps the credit union better understand the needs of the community.

What are your New Year’s resolutions?

BP: In 2021, the credit union had a mindset of waiting for things to return to pre-pandemic norms. We resolve in 2022 to accept the possibility that we might never return to those norms and accept the landscapes as they are and to adapt to the ever-changing environment.

These interviews were edited and condensed.

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