Kim Rooney
Kim Rooney, right, and Paul Robert offer steps credit unions can take to create a “wow” lending experience.

7 ways to create a 'wow' lending experience

'We have to be good across all channels to meet consumers’ expectations.'

November 5, 2019

Increased competition and changing member expectations require credit unions to provide a top-tier member experience, according to Kim Rooney, CEO of UnitedOne Credit Union in Manitowoc, Wis., and Paul Robert, CEO of FI Strategies LLC.

Rooney and Robert presented seven steps credit unions can take to create a “wow” lending experience during a breakout session at the 2019 CUNA Lending Council Conference:

1. Focus on the search process. Don’t wait for members to find you.

“You need to stand out when the member decides to get financing,” Robert says. “You have to differentiate.”

UnitedOne stands out by living its mission of serving the mainstream community, Rooney says. “We make sure we’re where they are.”

It also shops its competitors, calls members to generate business and determine their satisfaction, and offers an auto loan recapture program.

2. Ensure consistency in the application process. While members apply for loans in different ways, their experience should be consistent across delivery channels.

Also, ask high-impact questions about members’ financial situation. “We often find we can help people,” Rooney says. “Listen to see what else members might need.”

3. Provide fast decisions. While this puts a greater burden on underwriters, consumers expect fast loan decisions, Robert says.

“We do a lot of loans our competitors won’t,” Rooney says. “Loan officers look for a  gateway to approve loans, not deny them.”

UnitedOne has a “second look” queue where underwriters review denied loans.

4. Offer flexible closing options. Know your members and make it easy for them.

5. Follow up. Make sure members are satisfied, and look for more loan opportunities during the process.

UnitedOne uses member onboarding to thank them, ensure their satisfaction—and extend additional offers. When it denies loans, “we work with the members and teach them so they can get the loan next time,” Rooney says.

6. Be efficient. Examine processes to determine how to make them faster and better. Find and eliminate pain points.

7. Gather feedback from members. Don’t assume you know what members are thinking, or that they’re satisfied.

“Keep a finger on the pulse of your member experience,” Robert says. “A once a year member survey doesn’t cut it.

“We can’t be good in just one delivery channel,” he adds. “We have to be good across all channels to meet consumers’ expectations.”

Click here for more conference coverage from CUNA News, and get live updates on Twitter via @CUNA_News, @CUMagazine@CUNACouncils, and by using the #LendingCouncil hashtag. Learn more about the CUNA Lending Council, a member-led professional society for credit union executives, at