Losing The ‘Loan,’ Learning From Blackrock, And Leadership In The Tar Heel State

Five can't-miss data points this week on CreditUnions.com.

This week, CreditUnions.com learns how to look past lending to boost business relationships, finds inspiration from the CEO of Blackrock the world’s largest asset manager and looks back at the year in social media.

Here are five can’t-miss data points:

$400 Million

When Brendan Wiechert joined STCU as the director of commercial and business services in December 2017, he found a department that needed to shift its focus. We had great lenders, but we were transactional, Wiechert remembers. We’d process a loan and move on to the next deal. The credit union competed on rates and convenience, and as of the third quarter of 2019, its business and commercial loan portfolios, both totaling more than $400 million, were each nearly three times larger than at asset-based peers. Wiechert did not take issue with the department’s loan balances but did see the opportunity to build lasting relationships with those members. Doing so would ensure stable growth; however, providing products and services beyond loans meant making changes to the credit union’s modus operandi.

Read: Look Past Lending To Boost Business Relationships

26 Years

When Gary Wallace stepped down as CEO of Commonwealth Credit Union after 35 years of service, the credit union named Karen Harbin as his successor. Harbin was a 26-year veteran of the credit union who had held the roles of executive vice president, vice president of finance, and chief accountant, but the new leader wasn’t interested in sustaining the status quo. When Harbin took the helm in early 2012, she had her eyes set on creating a culture that united staff around a single vision and empowered every department and team member to maximize their strengths. And today? That culture is still going strong.

Read: How To Foster A New Culture Across The Credit Union

$7 Trillion

Maybe it’s a sign of the times. Or, maybe it’s the universe saying to expect the unexpected. I never expected Blackrock CEO Larry Fink the leader of the world’s largest asset manager to offer inspiration and insight on what it means to reassess core assumptions about modern finance. The money we manage is not our own, Fink says his annual letter to CEOs that was released in early January 2020. It belongs to people trying to finance long-term goals like retirement. And we have a deep responsibility to promote long-term value. BlackRock has $7 trillion yes, that’s trillion with at under management. Its CEO seems an unlikely source for inspiration for a member-owned financial cooperative. Yet, his words could be those of the CEO of a $50 million credit union speaking at the institution’s annual meeting in a local union hall. And much of Fink’s letter this year to BlackRock investors is about his company’s adoption of accountable and transparent capitalism, which focuses on the environmental and social impact investment decisions.

Read: What Has The World Come To: Inspiration From The CEO Of Blackrock

33 Million

Did you know that Google no longer features ratings and reviews in search results for local businesses? That Facebook removed gray verification badges from local business pages? That TikTok was the most downloaded iOS app for five consecutive quarters and saw more than 33 million App Store downloads in the first quarter? The worlds of social media and search are ever-changing. Below, we’ve highlighted some of the most groundbreaking updates from 2019 that may impact your credit union’s 2020 strategy.

Read: A Year In Review: Social & Search


State Employees Credit Union is the nation’s second-largest credit union and largest state charter. It claims nearly 25% of North Carolinians as members, and true to the people helping people ethos those members fund the cooperative’s foundation through a $1 monthly contribution through their checking accounts. It’s opt-out, but almost no one does. Since 2004, the SECU Foundation has invested more than $169 million in state, regional, and community development, funding high-impact projects in education, housing, health care, and human services. Four years ago, the foundation named its first full-time employee, tapping the leadership of Jama Campbell, a longtime staffer with deep roots in branch management and operations. Here, Campbell describes the leadership philosophy she has developed in her nearly quarter-century with SECU and how that has translated to her work with the SECU Foundation.

Read: Jama Campbell On Leadership

Happy Reading!

January 21, 2020

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