Finding lending success in 2021 will require credit unions to not only pay attention to processes and finances, but also on what members need.
Tom Becker, chief lending officer at $1.6 billion asset Hanscom Federal Credit Union at Hanscom Air Force Base in Massachusetts and member of the CUNA Lending Council Executive Committee, says credit unions must meet members’ individual lending needs, sustain a diverse portfolio, and preserve pricing flexibility to succeed in 2021.
As the coronavirus (COVID-19) pandemic continues, Becker says lending departments strive to maintain open communication with members—some who may be financially strapped due to the pandemic—through various channels, including the branch, call center, and collections staff.
With predictions of rising delinquencies in 2021, Becker says managing asset quality will require collections and loan staff to remain aware of members’ financial situations and potential roadblocks that could prevent them from repaying their loans.
“It’s important to have our collection staff and loan officers continue to be ‘the first on the scene’ and ask the important questions as to what the member’s situation is and how we can assist,” Becker says. “Hopefully this way we can continue to earn members’ trust and have Hanscom Federal be the first choice for their lending needs. It really is a ‘one member at a time’ attitude.”
To meet members’ lending needs, Becker says credit unions must improve the functionality of remote workers so they can provide members with an experience like they would receive in a branch. This also includes creating additional efficiencies in lending processes by increasing the number of transactions that are paperless or use e-signatures.