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Council white paper examines chief lending officer's role
MADISON, Wis. (8/27/14)--The influence of credit union chief lending officers (CLO) extends beyond lending responsibilities into leadership and business strategy roles, according to a new white paper from the CUNA Lending Council.
 
The CLO helps establish goals in conjunction with the senior leadership team, and those goals are accomplished through the efforts of employees across the organizational chart, according to the white paper, "The Chief Lending Officer: An Examination of the Role and How to Get There." CLOs should be able to get employees excited about their vision, while at the same time, communicate key policy and product details.
 
The paper identifies six reasons why a credit union employee would strive to reach the CLO position.
  • Influence. "If your goal is to be a CLO, make sure you're doing it because of the job itself and not the compensation," said Aaron Bresko, CLO at GTE Financial CU, Tampa, Fla., with $1.6 billion in assets. "I like to protect and develop staff. I'm an advocate for the employees and members, and I really enjoy that. At this level, I have the biggest ability to be able to impact those two things."
  • Salary and benefits. Influence aside, CLOs can can expect a six-figure salary and great benefits. "Salary and benefits are obviously very good," Bresko said. "At this level, the salary is just a given, but what you really need to look at are the retirement plans--the senior executive retirement plans, that have the five-year, seven-year, 10-year buyouts."
  • Challenge. CLOs spend their days working on hard problems without obvious solutions. Leadership decisions are rarely binary. The choices they make have cascading and unanticipated consequences. "I could take a lesser job, have less stress," Bresko said, adding, "I like the challenges. I also like being able to influence all parts of the organization."
  • Professional development. "Something about a role, if it is provocative enough to someone, is going to be developmental," said Bill Lothridge, vice president of human resources at Alliant CU, Chicago, with $8.2 billion in assets. "What the organization needs to be comfortable with is will the foundational expectations and deliverables associated with this role be solidly attended to while talent in the role launches at the developmental stage?"
  • Co-workers. People are the difference between a job you love and a job that's "just a paycheck." Bresko advises, "Make sure you're going to be able to work with the CEO, the board, and that team. You spend a lot of time with them and that can make or break it. Know that you'll be able to make a difference and work well with them."
  • Leadership. "Someone who aspires to be the CLO needs to consider if they would elect to be a leader as a living," Lothridge said. "Most of what they either need to come with or cultivate has, in many respects, and over the long term, little to do with lending."
To download the white paper, use the link.
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