Have Forward-thinking Business Plans

Q&A with a Community CU of the Year Award-winner.

February 7, 2013

In October, CUNA presented the 2012 Community Credit Union of the Year Award to four credit unions for their exemplary displays of movement principles and positive influence in the field of service.

Among the four was Dakotaland Federal Credit Union, Huron, S.D., which received a honorable mention in the less than $250 million in assets category.

 Dakotaland's President/CEO Dan Cumbee participated in a Q&A with Credit Union Magazine about what it takes to be a great community credit union.

CU Mag: To be successful, a community CU must...

Cumbee: Provide value to its members and the communities they serve. That value may be in the form of better rates, lower fees, more convenient services, or just that second chance when a member really needs it.

CU Mag: What about your CU are you most proud?

Cumbee: At Dakotaland Federal Credit Union we are most proud of our unprecedented growth and the adoption rate of so many of our services by our membership. For example, our credit union captured 47% of the real estate lending in the county in which our main office is located.

CU Mag: What's the biggest challenge the CU has had to overcome in the last few years?

Cumbee: There is no doubt with this tremendous growth comes the challenge of keeping up with the evolution through more advanced systems and increased efficiencies to best manage the overall operation of the credit union.

CU Mag: What's been the most effective way for you to reach out and understand your community audience?

 Cumbee: Listen and Observe. It’s amazing what your members and community can tell you if you just take the time to listen. It’s important as management we never forget the basic needs and level of understanding our members expect from us. If a plant layoff or a cut in hours is what our member is worried about today, then the credit union needs to be prepared to help minimize that worry anyway they can.

CU Mag: What's the best advice you can give other community CUs?

Cumbee: Develop a “forward thinking” business plan. One that is realistic, has sustainability, and is based on the fundamentals of doing good business. The next step is to properly prepare your staff, take a deep breath, and go after your objective with purpose.

The winners of the Community Credit Union Award best advance the ideals of the credit union movement, provide products that meet the needs of diverse communities, and are active in their communities.

The other winners included First Community Credit Union, Jamestown, N.D., Gulf Coast Community Federal Credit Union, Gulfport, Miss., and 1st MidAmerica Credit Union, Bethalto, Ill. (honorable mention).

The 2013 awards and the Community Credit Union & Growth Conference, Oct. 8-11 in Uncasville, Conn.