Building An Identity In Bricks And Words

Two Mazuma leaders reflect on the renovation of the credit union’s retail delivery network and brand strategy.

The ABCs of member satisfaction at Mazuma Credit Union ($524.3M, Overland Park, KS) are more like the BBCs: the brand, the branch, and the care center. If these critical areas align, then the rest of the organization falls in line behind them.

Here, two Mazuma leaders chief operating officer Deonne Christensen and brand manager Andy Dickhut talk about the efforts taking shape in each of their areas as well as where the two departments overlap.

Deonne, what did Mazuma’s brick-and-mortar network look like when you joined Mazuma?

Deonne Christensen, Chief Operating Officer, Mazuma
Andy Dickhut, Brand Manager, Mazuma

Deonne Christensen: I joined Mazuma in 2012. At the time, we had nine physical branches and a member care center, yet we did not track basic metrics.

To improve our operations, our CEO, the leadership team, and the front-line staff worked together to realign priorities and tear down walls across the organization. We now use scorecards to track product usage, IT project completion, and much more.

Did you need to update your staffing strategies or departmental organization as well?

DC: We broke our member care center into two divisions one handles traditional service needs and the other serves as an e-branch focused on web and mobile banking.

The e-branch has been tremendously popular. We’re monitoring remote deposit capture volumes, loan applications, everything coming through those channels. Meanwhile, at the other branches, there’s been no real decline in volume, which is a victory as well as a challenge.

How do you envision your physical footprint evolving in the future?

DC: Digitally and physically, we’re starting to create spaces that prompt interaction and engagement. Mobile and online transactions are all our members need most of the time, but branches build relationships with our members and anchor our brand in the communities we serve.

We’ve created a five-year plan that focuses on reducing the footprint of existing branches to between 2,500 to 3,000 square feet. We’re using our new headquarters branch as a blueprint. There, we worked with a design firm called Level 5 to mesh our desired concepts of colorful, trendy, and traditional. We also removed glass and other barriers between the staff and members.

Andy, what are Mazuma’s historical strengths and weaknesses on the branding side? How are you moving forward?

Andy Dickhut: We have good brand anchoring in some of our localized submarkets, but for an organization that has been around since the 1940s, awareness outside these pockets is less than stellar. Now that we’ve re-branded as just Mazuma instead of Mazuma Credit Union one of my department’s roles is to create and maintain consistency across our touch points. Our brand attributes are to be quirky, fun, aspiring, dynamic we want to make sure everybody in Kansas City knows who we are and what we stand for.

How are you going to achieve that?

AD: We’re using a heal thy mix of social media, traditional advertising, and community involvement, both as an organization and as individual Mazumans. That’s how our employees refer to themselves and their co-workers.

Mazuma Mike is a local actor who has made a face for himself appearing on the credit union’s TV ads, which have also gone viral online.
The Mazuma Mezzanine opened this year in Sporting Park, home of the professional soccer team Sporting KC. In addition, Mazuma’s Sporting Blue credit card offers cardholders points toward team tickets and other swag.

For example, we created a new Bank Happy tag line and mission statement; we debuted an ad-libbing spokesperson named Mazuma Mike for local TV ads; we opened the Mazuma Mezzanine in our major league soccer stadium through a five-year deal and now offer a credit card linked to the team; and we’re holding evening gatherings where we invite nearby residents and businesses to learn about Mazuma and the credit union movement.

Have you seen any results yet?

AD: We only moved to Overland Park this spring, but we’ve already seen a 7% lift in awareness in this market. We’re also using data analytics to determine where members fall on the profitability scale, and we’re working to boost our products per household average from the current three to as many as six or seven.

Where do Mazuma’s branding and retail efforts merge or support each other?

DC: For Mazuma, success isn’t just about projecting the right image. We also listen to the community and mix the best of the new with what’s been important all along. A good example of that is the lobby branch in our new headquarters. Despite being cutting edge in all respects, you won’t find interactive teller machines in this location. We don’t want to give up the face-to-face interaction with members who choose to come in and see us.

Meanwhile, I want us to be conscientious about the technologies we’re throwing into the branches that are quickly going to become antiquated and no longer relevant. That’s why we’re replacing the traditional teller line with universal agents working at podiums instead.

Read more about Mazuma’s social media prowess in the article Even Branches Can Be Bloggers and hear firsthand from the credit union in a webinar of the same name, both available only on

A Brand To Believe In

This team of Mazumans used some of their paid 40 Hours for Good to work with the Harvesters food pantry network.

A meaningful portion of Mazuma’s brand outreach strategy involves community philanthropy.

We’ve got a pretty significant corporate social responsibility movement underway, says Mark Thompson, Mazuma’s assistant vice president of business and community development. It’s a big part of our way to fulfill our vision of making Kansas City a better place.

The credit union focuses on three pillars arts, education, and community development and contributes to them primarily through its Mazuma Foundation and 40 Hours For Good program.

The Mazuma Foundation receives 5% of the credit union’s net income from the previous year to combine with individual and corporate donations and then shares that among organizations that have applied for grants. Applicants have included arts councils and community theaters, the Boy Scouts, and even downtown development districts.

Mazuma’s 40 Hours For Good program allows employees to volunteer up to 40 hours of work time with an approved organization each year. There are 36 approved organizations to date and all must support at least one of the three pillars. According to Thompson, Mazumans logged nearly 2,000 hours the equivalent of a full-time employee working roughly one entire year through this program in 2014.

August 1, 2015

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