Risk culture pays dividends

Certificate promotion blows past its goal.

August 21, 2019

Kipp Riesland saw much of the world growing up. His father, a U.S. Embassy physician, moved the family through six countries as his work evolved.

As retail portfolio manager at $6.9 billion asset Patelco Credit Union in Pleasanton, Calif., Riesland says his background prepared him well to develop products and services that serve a diverse membership.

Sometimes, however, that means doing what seems to fly in the face of accepted practice.

During the third quarter of 2018, for instance, Patelco ran a certificate promotion that just wasn’t getting the response Riesland’s team had hoped for.

“We sat down and brainstormed ideas and realized we needed to rethink our approach to the deposit landscape, particularly in the rising-rate environment,” he says. “We realized that a CD with rising rates but no penalty might be the best value for our members, but it didn’t exist yet.”

The team did some market research and within a few weeks decided to launch a flexible, rising-rate certificate. The problem? It was almost December.

Promotions like this simply aren’t done late in the fourth quarter, Riesland says. But Patelco took a risk and the results proved them right.

The credit union had to shut down the promotion before the end of January when it blew by its goal of $300 million in deposits ahead of schedule.

Riesland also was instrumental in developing the Plus Checking Account for Patelco’s members. He researched options, features, and member value for more than a year before the launch.

“I would argue Plus Checking is the most feature-rich product on the market today,” he says.

The value comes from the strength of each feature, including identity theft protection that includes dark-web monitoring and a roundup savings component with a 10% match.

All of this work on behalf of members is possible because Patelco’s culture enables it.

“I’ve worked with organizations before that just pay lip service to their mission and values,” Riesland says. “We have regular meetings in which our CEO talks with us, and we review how we’re living those values.”

Whether he’s working to create new products that change lives for the better, or enjoying a meal with others to strengthen connections and community, Riesland lives Patelco’s values every day, bringing value that matters to members.

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