The Secret Sauce That Turns Members into Net Promoters

On Jack Antonini’s watch at USAA Federal Savings Bank (USAA), customers seemingly fell in love with the products and services. USAA grew from $45 million in assets to $10 billion, had a 98.8% customer satisfaction rating, consistently strong JD Power rankings, and won praise as the “Best Bank in America” by Money Magazine.

Antonini shared the secret sauce with attendees to the Executive Summit in Sunriver, Oregon this week. The Executive Summit was presented by the Northwest Credit Union Association (NWCUA) and the Northwest Council of the Credit Union Executives Society (CUES).

“Ask customers what they want, what’s important, and what they aren’t getting today,” Antonini said. He stressed that consumers want fast, easy, convenient, personal service from their financial services providers, and urged credit unions to craft their technology to provide those attributes.

Based on the USAA story, Antonini shared many suggestions for credit unions, including:

  • Strengthen relationships with members. Once a member is using three or four of your products, you won’t likely lose them.
  • Practice the “golden rule” with members and staff.
  • Share your credit union’s culture with staff, and do so immediately—within days—when new staff is hired.
  • Life events drive member decisions. Be you members’ trusted advisor.

Antonini said USAA sent a magazine to customers that was informational only. There were no sales pitches in the copy, and that built trust.

“Thinking about things from a member perspective will create extreme loyalty,” Antonini said.

As loyalty builds, staff can focus on cross-selling helpful products to members, increasing retention, profitability and satisfaction while decreasing the costs per account, credit losses and operating costs.

Antonini said the key result areas USAA concentrated on were:

  • Service for everyone
  • Financial strength
  • Increasing product value
  • Infrastructure improvements

Culturally, the staff buy in was critical. The safety net USAA offered to staff was a promise. “If you do what’s best for the members, you will never lose your job.”


Questions? Contact Lynn Heider: 503.350.2225,

Posted in Events, NWCUA.