When Doug Clinton moved his family to Nashville, Tenn., in 2018, he had big dreams that had nothing to do with country music. As the new CEO at Lifeway Credit Union, he dreamed of elevating the institution to new heights.
His dreams were dashed though in 2019 when the credit union’s primary sponsor group, Lifeway Christian Resources, the publishing arm of the Southern Baptist Convention, closed its stores nationally. The company pared its workforce from 4,200 to about 650.
“We suddenly had a membership issue,” Clinton says. “Lifeway agreed we should expand our field of membership to survive.”
That meant implementing a top-to-bottom rebranding, installing a cutting-edge digital platform, reaching out to new groups, and managing the rigors of the COVID-19 pandemic. In October 2022, the operation was reborn as Koin Credit Union, a Christian-based institution that serves a wider audience.
If all of that change wasn’t enough, the credit union also opened a new headquarters in Brentwood, Tenn. It provides space for future growth at the $47 million asset credit union.
The rebranding to Koin—based on the Greek word “koinonia,” which means Christian fellowship—has proven successful. Koin won awards for both the rebrand and its new logo.
Clinton, a 28-year credit union veteran who rose through the ranks from his start as a teller, urged an uncertain board of directors to bring in outside expertise for the rebranding.
“We needed to let professionals guide our repositioning,” he says. “I felt we were going to get in our own way if we tried to rename this credit union. Today, we have a solid design and feel that’s comparable to much larger credit unions.”
Clinton says Koin experienced its first net growth in membership in May. The credit union is adding churches and select nonprofits to its membership.
While the rebranding was being formulated, Clinton also helped guide the transition to a new digital experience for members.
“We’ve been able to implement things that were unaffordable even five years ago, like video banking and appointment scheduling,” he says. “We needed a robust core processing system that provides the high-touch, high-tech experience members want and need.”
The transitions were many, but Clinton says the credit union buoyed employees by “stepping back and celebrating the small victories as we went.”
Through all of the change, Koin remained focused on its mission. “Our purpose is to help members with their finances so that they can go out and serve Christ in a better capacity.”