Shaping the future of Business Development


Credit Unions in the Northwest are collaborative institutions that look to one another to help find solutions to issues the industry faces. JRF Consulting focuses on helping credit unions plan for growth and member engagement, and recently, JRF worked with Filene Research Institute during an event sponsored by First Tech Federal Credit Union. Comprised of 25 business development leaders, the purpose of this think tank event was to discuss affordable strategies for business growth.

Lauren Culp from Filene Research Institute facilitated a 100-percent-attendee-driven event, sponsored by First Tech Federal Credit Union and a handful of other companies. The transformative results of the Business Development Innovation Summit will permeate the industry via peer-to-peer interactions and shared best practices.

“No matter our asset size, many of us are facing similar challenges and can learn from and inspire each other,” said Chylon Pappas, VP Marketing with First Tech FCU.

The highlight reel is a long one but here are a few nuggets to keep in mind as you tackle the rest of 2018 and beyond.

Community credit unions should kiss and make up with their old SEGs.

SEGs, or if you prefer to call them companies within your communities, are an effective marketing channel. Maybe you no longer want the list of 175 SEGs, or maybe there are other businesses that now make more sense, but it’s a channel that shouldn’t be retired. Determine how many to target, tier them, and then create expectations for outreach. We know from experience that growth comes when we create buzz, a sense of community, and get a referral engine humming at full speed.

Metrics matter.

Using a CRM for business development purposes has become a necessity. Too many credit unions are still using spreadsheets to track BD relationships, activities, and results from those activities. There are so many affordable solutions available now to help us work smarter.

Find ways to keep the conversation going.

My Twitter, Facebook, LinkedIn, and Instagram feeds are full of photos of credit union events. Most are table days: A table is set up, a tablecloth with a credit union name is draped, and free swag is spread on top, along with many brochures. We happily engage and hope that the people who drop by take action. Since hope is not a strategy, we need to find ways to stay in control of that conversation. Tablets and engaging needs-assessment-survey questions is the answer. It’s how they enter a drawing, keeping it fun. Questions like “My financial life would rock if…” could include answers such as, “I could pay the lowest rate possible on my car loan and save money,” or “I could afford my dream kitchen,” or “I could retire on a beach.” The follow-up process afterward is magical because our individual outreach is about things members care about. That translates to business.

Our continued success requires that credit union business development leaders keep up the pace and continue to develop new ways of engaging, tracking, and the critical step that sometimes gets forgotten: a solid and repeatable follow-up process.

Reach out and connect if you would like to learn more, participate in the 2019 Business Development Innovation Summit, or send an invitation my way for a special think tank with your leadership team. Together, we’ll move your business development forward.

Questions about our Strategic Link partnership with JRF Consulting?  Contact NWCUA’s Strategic Partnerships Manager, Corina Ruiz, at

Posted in GoWest Solutions.