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CU System
South Bay CU Wins CU Smack Down Competition
LIBERTY LAKE, Wash. (10/15/13)--Competition among friends is always a little more fun--and fierce--with a little trash talking. Two West Coast credit unions exchanged some good-natured ribbing before sharing virtual hugs and high fives upon the completion of a recent loan competition.
 
South Bay CU, Redondo Beach, Calif., accepted the trophy and congratulated United Advantage Northwest FCU, Portland, Ore., for a successful contest that brought loan growth to both credit unions.
 
South Bay CU pulled ahead in the three-month consumer loan competition in the last weeks as United Advantage was forced to slow down while addressing liquidity concerns, said a press release
 
The CU Smack Down competition was the brainchild of South Bay CU CEO Jennifer Oliver, who suggested the contest at the CU*NorthWest Annual Leadership Conference where credit union leaders who use CU*BASE for their core processing solution learn about new solutions and collaborate. South Bay had conducted a similar competition internally, dividing the staff and pitting the teams against each other.
 
Evie Rasmussen, CEO United Advantage Northwest FCU, accepted the challenge. CU*NorthWest served as referee and posted the weekly total in net consumer loan growth--and the smack talk between the two credit unions--to its website. Employees from both credit unions sent each other barbs, cartoons and friendly taunts.
 
The final numbers were: South Bay 247 loans for $1,266,239 and United Advantage, 141 loans for $896,032. The competition began July 1 and ended Sept. 30.
 
"The smack talk had us laughing together, something we haven't been able to do since the recession," said Rasmussen. "Seeing the numbers and income increase was a huge bonus. Going into September, UA was ahead and we relished in our success only to fall behind since we were starting to exceed our liquidity threshold. Darn it! But knowing the regulator was coming in late September, we couldn't afford to push things dramatically. So we fell behind with a grin on our faces."
 
In the previous quarter, the South Bay staff divided in a loan competition that yielded almost $3 million in loans. This time the staff united to win the competition.  An early barb sent by Rasmussen became their rallying cry.  "The smack talk was the most fun of all," Oliver said.
 
The two credit unions developed a family-like relationship during the competition, Oliver said.  "We know each other now, and we laugh together," she explained. "You can just feel the credit union spirit."


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