Training Helps Create ‘Extreme Lending’ Success

Any conversation with a member can be a lending opportunity.

December 21, 2012

Any conversation with a member can be a lending opportunity. By understanding members’ relationships with your credit union and listening carefully, you often can recommend loan products to help them meet their financial objectives.

Two years ago, UW Credit Union, Madison, Wis., launched a comprehensive training program to help staff engage in those conversations and recognize and act on opportunities.

 “We wanted to take our lending efforts to the next level—to an extreme level—and do things a new way,” explains Rob Van Nevel, vice president of member services at the $1.5 billion asset credit union. “As part of that, we wanted to move members’ loans from other financial institutions to UW Credit Union.”

  Van Nevel led a cross-functional team that identified training needs and developed training materials for tellers, financial specialists/lenders, and managers. Tellers learned to look comprehensively at members’ relationships with the credit union.

Financial specialists/lenders learned a new process to retrieve credit reports and review them with members. Managers spent a month on the front lines working as lenders so they could be more effective coaches.

When processing a member transaction, tellers learned to:

Financial specialists/lenders learned to:

As part of the process, one team of financial specialists focuses on outbound calls. The specialists pursue leads from credit bureau reports and other sources, looking to capture loans from other lenders. Another team focuses on inbound calls and online inquiries.

Staff members report their success in terms of member savings. “If they bring over an auto loan, for example, they note the difference in rate between the original lender and UW Credit Union.

That’s the member’s savings,” Van Nevel says. “We’ve developed a lot of enthusiasm for helping members save money and improve their financial well-being.

“We realized our previous approach to lending had been transactional,” notes Van Nevel. “We wanted to develop consultative, lasting member relationships for a lifetime.”

This article first appeared in Front Line newsletter.