Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union Recognized at FinXTech Awards

When talking to Erica Erdozain, Vice President of Commercial Lending for the more than 44,000 member Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union about business development, a bicycle wheel comes to mind.

In the middle is the hub, holding together dozens of spokes, all working in concert. To Erdozain, small business is that hub and credit unions are a key spoke, or partner, in helping to move the local economy forward.

That partnership is also one reason why she was in New York City recently, representing Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union and partner D+H Financial Technologies at the FinXTech “Best of FinXTech” Awards. Their work implementing two D+H products—LaserPro and CreditQuest—was a finalist at the awards ceremony, which recognizes “successful partnerships between banks and their financial technology counterparts.”

But the true measure of success for Erdozain is working with her members.

“This helped us expand our capacity to help small businesses,” Erdozain said. “And it’s so rewarding to help these businesses and watch them grow. It’s a great partnership.”

After starting with Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union from the commercial banking world in 2014, Erdozain noted their accounts were “saddled” by manual commercial lending processes, with staff keying information manually. She worked with D+H to implement the two new systems to simplify and streamline commercial lending processes with an end-to-end underwriting solution along with electronic document signing options.

“Credit unions do a far better job of leveraging technology than commercial banks,” she said. “With a commercial bank, I would estimate my underwriting time was at about two or three weeks. Now, I can get an application turned around in one or two days. It’s exciting to be able to process an application and get funds into a member’s hands that much faster.”

This allowed Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union’s business development department reach $800,000 in profitability to close 2015, and project more than $2 million this year. The success was validated by the trip to New York City, where Erica joined fellow finalists in ringing the closing bell at Nasdaq and saw the D+H and Seattle Metropolitan Credit Union logos splashed across Times Square. Even with the recognition, the conversation centered around expanded capacity to serve members.

“It allowed us to be very nimble in serving our members. From a single drywall contractor who added a car to his fleet to someone who bought an 18-unit apartment complex, these are people who simply weren’t getting what they needed from the commercial banking world. They needed working capital and we were able to help,” she said.

Erdozain’s story is a great example of a credit union marrying new technologies to support time-tested principles of supporting members, and is something she feels is a global perspective on the credit union movement.

“Small businesses are the lifeblood of America, but they need access to capital to grow and add jobs,” she said, adding that, “our recent national recovery has been driven largely because small businesses can get access to working capital through credit unions.” Erdozain also noted the recent MBL legislative and regulatory initiatives that would open up additional lending support for member businesses.

“It’s so rewarding to me to get to help these businesses and watch them grow, she said. “It’s a great partnership.”

Questions about this story? Contact Eric Horvath: 503.350.2222, ehorvath@nwcua.org.

Posted in Awards, NWCUA.