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Maximize Non-Interest Income Through Member Relationships

Jul 3, 2013 by Lewis Wood

CUNA Mutual Group Discovery Speaker Tells ACUC Audience How to Build a Transparent Sales Culture 

From CUNA Mutual Group Public Relations

For more information:  
Jess Noelck 608.665.7861
Rick Uhlmann 608.665.8940

NEW YORK – To grow non-interest income in today’s economy, credit unions need to focus on the areas they can control; in particular, building deeper relationships with current and new members, attendees were told at an America’s Credit Union Conference (ACUC) Discovery breakout session Tuesday.

Bob Larson, financial support consultant for CUNA Mutual Group, engaged ACUC session attendees in a conversation about applying best practice strategies to grow non-interest income in a constantly changing environment.

“You will do better in today’s economy by focusing on what you can control, not on what you can’t control,” said Larson. “Start with understanding your current credit union membership as well as those who’ve just joined your credit union.”

“During the past 18 months, credit unions have added a great number of new members,” Larson said. “Credit unions need to make sure they tap into new members by cross-selling additional services: loans, debit cards, credit cards, bill pay, etc. The more services, the deeper the relationship,” Larson added.

In order to deepen member relationships, credit unions must make sure they have a strong, transparent sales culture focused on building lasting member relationships. The four key components for a successful sales culture are:

  • Champion – have top-down management commitment and communication;
  • Train – prepare staff to meet member needs with confidence;
  • Coach – provide staff with consistent recognition and positive reinforcement to align management and staff behaviors to support credit union goals; and
  • Track – inspect what you expect to obtain quantifiable data for coaching, training, and making improvements.

Larson explained that a credit union’s sales culture should start and end with the member.

“Let the member control the process because, as Roy F. Bergengren so eloquently stated, ‘the most important service of the credit union is the education of its members in the management and control of their money,’ which is exactly what ultimately drives your credit union’s sales culture,” said Larson.

Current market conditions have greatly impacted credit unions’ earnings. Now, more than ever, credit unions must explore every aspect of their income statement to leverage additional income and to keep their revenue stream flowing. Larson added that members’ and credit unions’ interests have never been so well aligned before, so credit unions should take advantage of this by aligning their sales cultures to meet members’ needs.

Larson ended the session by recommending that with the future threat of rising interest rates, credit unions should take time to develop a strategy to move some of the certificate dollars from the credit union’s balance sheet to the credit union’s wealth management program to help improve the loan-to-share ratio, which will generate additional non-interest income in the form of gross dealer concessions for the credit union.

“The time to act is now,” Larson said. “Focus on your members, and the rest will come.”

To learn more, follow @CUNAMutualGroup on Twitter, circle +CUNA Mutual Group on Google+, or visit

CUNA Mutual Group insurance, retirement and investment products provide financial security and protection to credit unions and their members worldwide. With more than 75 years of true market commitment, CUNA Mutual Group’s vision is unwavering: To be a trusted business partner who delivers service excellence through customer-focused products and market-driven insight. More information on the company is available on the company’s website at

CUNA Mutual Group is the marketing name for CUNA Mutual Holding Company, a mutual insurance holding company, its subsidiaries and affiliates. Life, accident, health and annuity insurance products are issued by CMFG Life Insurance Company. Property and casualty insurance products are issued by CUMIS Insurance Society, Inc. Each insurer is solely responsible for the financial obligations under the policies and contracts it issues. Corporate headquarters are located in Madison, Wis.


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