Jim Minge

Start your data analytics journey: 3 steps

Win after win changes credit union’s decision-making culture.

October 4, 2018

Texas Trust Credit Union in Arlington began a data analytics journey with two big goals.

First, the $1.2 billion asset credit union sought to develop a single source of data truth where employees could get answers without having to comb through multiple systems or reports.

Second, Texas Trust aimed to develop a more data-driven culture and move away from making gut decisions.

“A lot of us around here felt like we were driving down a highway at 70 miles an hour with a blindfold on and only looking in the rear view mirror," says Texas Trust CEO Jim Minge. "We were trying to create a way to move away from that.”

The credit union got to work. It partnered with a credit union service organization (OnApproach) and added internal support.

“We devoted one full-time person to it and told them to listen, listen, and listen some more. And then start with finding some little wins in the organization so that we could build momentum,” Minge says.

Now, a few years into the process, the credit union is racking up wins, including:

  • Providing branch-level staff with up-to-date data dashboards to review progress on various measures, including incentives.
  • Simplifying reports so employees don't have to search for the relevant “needle in the haystack” information.
  • Standardizing member information so the credit union has a more accurate accounting of its membership.

Next up, the credit union plans to leverage its data analytics prowess to end the cycle of promoting “the next best product,” reduce member attrition, and improve member engagement.

“We're excited to see what that next step is and continue to make little wins,” Minge says. “Too many people think about this as a huge initiative and where you'll go straight from zero to artificial intelligence. Our approach has been to use the data we have to help us solve our everyday problems, and then we'll learn as we go and get better after that."

Minge, a presenter at the 2018 CUNA CEO Council Conference, offers three tips on how to start your analytics journey:

1. Empower employees with information

“In the past, we had a lot of reports that you had to be careful of how you asked the question because you might get two different answers. That's not a great way to run an organization,” Minge says.

When you have a single source of information that can produce consistent answers across all departments, areas, and branches, you can build momentum.

“People feel like, ‘Okay, if I ask a question and I get a report, I can actually use that and rely on that data to make a good decision,’” Minge says. “Empowering employees to get that data and get a reliable decision has helped us.”

2. Choose the right partner

Be careful who you pick and make sure it’s a good fit.

“We’ve had two or three false starts where we had partners that didn’t work out,” Minge says.

3. Devote sufficient resources for the work

“If you're going to do it right, you've got to devote enough resources because it's not an easy process," he  says. "If you're going to go through the process of listening and trying to solve issues for your employees, you've got to have somebody that can dedicate the time to do that.”

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