Home » So Long, Silos; Hello, Sales And Service Culture
Unite For Good
So Long, Silos; Hello, Sales And Service Culture
Fox Communities CU’s intensive training breaks down service barriers.
January 1, 2015
Don Vanevenhoven, vice president of lending for Fox Communities CU, teaches member service representatives the intricacies of lending in an ambitious staff training program spearheaded by Vanevenhoven and vice president of member service Nancy Krahn.
After taking a thorough inventory of internal barriers to developing a sales and service culture, Fox Communities Credit Union centered on a primary concern: its 15 lending specialists’ limited availability to members.
The solution, senior management concluded, was to cross-train two-thirds of their 60 member service representatives (MSRs). Only one catch: None had any previous lending experience, and institutionally, those departments had existed in separate silos.
The $1 billion asset credit union in Appleton, Wis., tabbed Vice President of Member Service Nancy Krahn and Vice President of Lending Don Vanevenhoven to spearhead an instructional program that started with the basics, but quickly progressed into complicated processes and regulations.
The resulting Consumer Lending Training Series—which features 33 hours of classroom training, along with six weeks of job shadowing and follow-up—earned Fox Communities the “WOW” Award for best overall training curriculum or event at CUNA’s Experience Learning Live! last fall.
The program reflects Fox Communities’ commitment to one of the three pillars of CUNA’s Unite for Good campaign: “fostering service excellence” by transforming the credit union’s operations to improve member service.
Fox Communities fulfilled its mission: Make sure no member leaves a branch or hangs up the phone without having his or her loan servicing needs met.
In the first three months after implementation, the credit union generated 237 consumer loan applications, resulting in almost $600,000 in new loans disbursed—putting Fox Communities on pace to disburse $2.4 million by year’s end.
“Being in a branch without a loan officer, this training has enabled me to meet members’ loan needs without sending them to another location,” says Lisa Reider, a teller supervisor.
According to MSR Ashely Beffa, “The knowledge of our loan products and processes has allowed me to be more confident in providing our members guidance for their financial needs.”
The first three training sessions covered the six C’s of lending—credit, capacity, capital, character, compliance, and collateral. In the next two sessions, participants completed a consumer loan application wiThthe core system and learned how to explain the closing and disbursement options.
The last session included a game of Jeopardy! featuring subject matter from the course, wiThcontestants competing for lip balm and back scratchers.
Kristin Steede and Sara Hebert, training professionals at Fox Communities, spiced up the program by using gamification, roaming flip chart activities, expert presenters, and realistic character profiles.
A subsequent on-the-job observation component ensured skill transfer, and a workbook serves as a valuable reference tool.
Fox Communities credits CUNA’s Creating Member Loyalty program for sparking conversation about how to improve its sales training effectiveness.
What began as a mission to change an internal process produced an invaluable byproduct—a change in internal culture.
“The amount of content we needed to cover was daunting at times,” Steede says. “But the passion we poured into creating the content proved to be contagious.”
To realize CUNA’s shared strategic vision of Americans choosing credit unions as their best financial partner, credit unions should develop strategies and take actions to:
Remove barriers by actively participating in credit union grassroots activities and the political process.
Create awareness by expanding your outreach and image in the community.
Foster service excellence by offering a complete set of forward-looking and constantly improving financial services to members of all backgrounds and life stages.