EUGENE, Ore. (4/30/10)--Oregon Community CU, based in Eugene, saw an 18% increase in loan results, year over year, for first quarter 2010. It booked more than $53 million in loans, compared with $44 million in first quarter 2009. "We decided early on that we were dedicated to helping the community weather the economic turbulence we feel today," said Mandy Jones, CEO. "Our members are getting a leg up on their financial lives, and we are proud to help them achieve their financial dreams, even when the economy is trying to convince them otherwise." Jones challenged her senior managers to build a comprehensive strategy--from the ground up--aimed at generating earnings, improving net worth and increasing loan volume. It includes:
* Setting aggressive--even "big, hairy, audacious"--goals for staff; * Providing comprehensive sales and product/service training so staff are knowledgeable and confident; * Measuring progress constantly and providing immediate feedback; and * Providing incentives, motivation and financially rewarding staff; * Constantly monitoring the market and pricing competitively; and * Making the strategy fun and celebrating success.
To accomplish this they developed an in-house training program to equip staff with the skills to become a member-centric sales force. "In 2010, we wanted to see what would happen if we implemented our own training program, designed by the employees for the employees," said Cheryl Collins, development manager at the credit union. A cross-functional team, called 360 Degree Training: Excelling in a Sales Culture, taught staff that the difference between good service and exceptional service is sales, but it doesn't have to feel
like sales. "Our goal with sales training is to develop staff into trusted financial advisors." It set a goal to double loan growth in 2010. Each branch, the member contact center, and lending staff had specific goals. "At first, some staff wondered what we were thinking when we told them our goals," said Jerry Liudahl, vice president for retail operations and lending. "But now, the engagement and excitement throughout the organization is absolutely palpable."