FINANCIAL PRODUCTS are basically the same, notes Lora Davison. That’s why, when looking to differentiate her credit union, she developed a loan rewards program that’s a win-win for members and the credit union.
Davison, the chief financial officer at $71 million asset Natco Credit Union in Richmond, Ind., wanted to inspire members who made loan payments on time—over a period of three years—to return to the credit union when they needed to borrow again. Qualifying members received reward certificates they could redeem for a discounted rate on their next loans.
“They always say to encourage the behavior you want repeated,” Davison says. “I wanted a way to help our members raise credit scores and encourage loyalty to the credit union. The credit union benefits through lower delinquency and attracting future loans.”
While attending Purdue University, Davison took a challenging strategic management class that helped her develop a big-picture outlook and changed the way she thought about business and the financial industry.
“We learned how to run businesses through simulations and competed against Yale, Harvard, and other schools around the world,” she remembers. “There were so many decisions to make and it taught us to focus on our strategy and stick with it or change it if it’s not working.”
Her team hit the return on assets (ROA) world leader board four weeks running. The class made her think about what a business could do to differentiate itself and stand out through innovative products rather than pricing. Now she thrives on developing strategic plans that help her credit union maximize its ROA.
Davison embraces the opportunity to learn and share new information with her peers and put it to use at her credit union.
A 2003 graduate of CUNA Management School, Davison is also a certified financial counselor.
While at Northern Indiana Federal Credit Union, she was a team member in the Indiana Credit Union League’s Ignite Program, where credit union staff from around the state work together to create products and services that fulfill member needs.
“We championed an idea to have credit union-backed certificates as an investment for 529 college funding plans,” explains Davison. “It involved a lot of people outside the credit union world and I learned so much. The best thing was learning how to take an idea from a concept, through development, and turn it into a product that’s still in operation.”