Award winners

CUNA OpSS Council Honors Gallegos as Top Professional

Council also recognizes eight Excellence Awards winners at membership lunch.

September 29, 2015

Above: The CUNA Operations, Sales & Service (OpSS) Council honored Excellence in Operations Award winners during its annual conference in Orlando. From left: CUNA OpSS Council executive committee members David Tate and William Thomas; Judy Kinney, LGE Community CU; Tracey Newbury, Pioneer Federal CU; Luke Campbell, Southwest Financial Federal CU; Lori Gallegos, First CU; Candy Keene, University of Michigan CU; April Goldsmith and Mitch Myre, Mill City CU; Rod Snyder, Red Canoe CU; Erynne Hallock, Numerica CU; Terri Baker and Marla Casley, Oregon Community CU; and CUNA OpSS Council incoming vice chair Steve Stryker.

Lori Gallegos, who engineered a sales and service initiative at First Credit Union in Chandler, Ariz., received the CUNA Operations, Sales & Service Council Professional of the Year Award at the CUNA Tech/OpSS Council Conference in Orlando, Fla.

The initiative featured structured training that starts during new employee orientation, with check-ins at 30 days and again two to four months into employment, building toward a member service certification.

Gallegos, First Union’s executive vice president/chief operating officer, also implemented a certified lender program that enables lending staff to develop skills that help members improve their financial status.

“It was a really tough choice between all the stellar nominees, but in the end, Gallegos’ history, attitude and accomplishments clearly shone the brightest,” said Dave Tate, awards chair and CUNA OpSS Council executive committee member.

The CUNA OpSS Council also recognized several other credit unions and individuals with its Excellence Awards, including:

• Pioneer Federal Credit Union in Mountain Home, Idaho, in the Branch Design category (assets $150-$500 million) for its “Moving the Branch Experience Forward” entry. Pioneer re-imagined what a branch could be when designing its new Broadway branch. Now, members can enjoy a high-tech feel that embraces the community.

• Numerica Credit Union in Spokane Valley, Wash., won in the Branch Design category (assets over $500 million) for its “Breaking Down Barriers: Numerica Credit Union Branch Redesign” entry.

Numerica responded to technology’s impact in reducing branch traffic by making technology the centerpiece of its branch design. The credit union freed employees from traditional roles, bringing them out from behind the counter and training them as universal staff. Now, a single contact can address member needs.

• Oregon Community Credit Union in Springfield, Ore., won in the Contact Center/E-Support Operations category (assets over $500 million) for its “OCCU: Member Contact Center Excellence” entry.

OCCU drives success in its member contact center through technology, sales, and a positive work environment. Oregon Community has driven down its abandonment rate while achieving 102% of its MCC credit card goal.

• LGE Community Credit Union in Marietta, Ga., won in the Miscellaneous category (assets over $500 million) for its “A Smarter Way to Bank” entry. LGE Community has improved efficiency and enhanced the member experience through a multichannel approach.

The credit union upgraded its online and mobile channels to free branch staff to focus on new accounts, loans, and member service issues. LGE Community also developed new branch models, including a remote teller facility as well as an ATM branch. This approach has led to 19% loan growth and 5% member growth from 2013 to 2014.

• Southwest Financial Federal Credit Union in Dallas, Texas, won in the Sales and Service Management category (assets under $150 Million) for its “How We Have Grown Loans 50% Over the Past Three Years” entry. Southwest achieved these spectacular results by restructuring sales—now defined as “member opportunity”—and restructuring service, now defined as “member loyalty.”

In addition, Southwest Federal retooled its frontline positions and salaries to focus more on incentives and had their frontline re-apply for the new jobs. They also implemented an internal on-boarding program to engage new membership and their loan growth continues to track in the double digits.

• Mill City Credit Union in Minnetonka, Minn., won in the Sales and Service Management category (assets $150-$500 million) for its “IMPRESS!ive Sales and Service Program” entry. Mill City developed a Member Advocacy Pathways (MAP) program to educate staff on starting conversations around major life events.

Mill City also updated its employee onboarding plan to include credit union history, culture, in-depth product education, and guided service representative training. This new approach has driven a $15 million increase direct loans by frontline staff over three years.

• Red Canoe Credit Union in Longview, Wash., won in the Sales and Service Management category (assets over $500 million) for its “Game of Phones/Monopoly: Red Canoe Financial Group Edition” entry. Red Canoe developed a learning campaign to strengthen outbound calling skills and proactively produce sales results.

The credit union also focused on creating staff awareness about its financial representatives, and offering unique referral opportunities for members. These training and sales campaigns lead to $946,000 in new loans and a 120% increase in referrals to their financial advisors.

• University of Michigan Credit Union in Ann Arbor, Mich., won “Best of Show” for its Sales & Service Management “Engagement in Sales—OperationHoustonDiscover” entry. The credit union used data analytics and focused staff on its Visa credit card to produce a significant increase in credit card sales.

To simplify the process, University of Michigan Credit Union developed one tool for automatic Visa approvals and a second tool to determine what a member would save if he or she moved credit card balances to the credit union. Through these methods, the credit union increased credit card balances by $13 million in one year.