Meritrust Credit Union's Corey Winter (left) and Neil Dickson (middle) participate in a panel alongside SECU of Maryland's Steve Hazen at CUNA Business Lending Certification School last month.

Business lenders find their path

Program track ‘depends on how you envision yourself’ and your organization.

August 3, 2022

Midway through the 2022 CUNA Business Lending Certification School, students got to pick the brains of business lending veterans.

The open forum allowed new students to ask questions about the program, business lending, and credit union operations.

They also got advice on choosing their business lending path. When deciding between credit analysis and credit administration, for example, panelists advised students to think about their careers and how they can help their credit unions. Then, choose a path that matches those goals.

“It ultimately depends on your next step, or maybe even the step beyond that,” says Corey Winter, business operations manager at $1.6 billion asset Meritrust Credit Union in Wichita, Kan. “It depends on how you envision yourself and what your organization is asking from you.”

“Everyone on my team has a development plan,” says Steve Hazen, director of credit administration at $4.6 billion asset SECU of Maryland in Linthicum, Md. “We work together to determine goals for the year. It could be webinars, a college class, or something like this school. What makes you more valuable to your organization?”

DFTC President/CEO Joe Hyatt, who moderated the session, echoes a similar sentiment. He advises students

to reflect on what they learned and to share their knowledge with colleagues.

When Neil Dickson, Meritrust’s director of business banking, started working in credit unions, he often heard, “I didn’t realize credit unions did business lending.”

So, the Meritrust business lending team strategized, increased its presence in the community, and made connections.  Dickson suggests credit union professionals continue learning, reflecting, networking, and collaborating.

“We’ve really seen the benefit,” Dickson says. “We’ve done a good job of meeting other credit unions through the Business Lending School group and the CUNA Business Lending Roundtable group. We’ll throw questions out there all the time. ‘What do we think about this? Let’s see what other credit unions are doing.’ We’ve been a collaborative team.”