THINK­ING pays off for TruChoice FCU


Credit Union Journal - - Special Report - BY NATHAN DICAMILLO

SOUTH PORT­LAND, MAINE-BASED TruChoice Fed­eral Credit Union im­ple­mented a cen­tral­ized ap­proach to en­sur­ing process im­prove­ment and in­ter­nal ef­fi­ciency with its THINK pro­gram. Car­ried out by the CU’S staff, known as TruCrew, THINK is an acro­nym for for:

• Take it to the Next Level: We want to go the ex­tra mile to make things work bet­ter.

• Hours & Money: Does it make “cents?”

• In­quiry + Ideas= In­no­va­tion: We are the driv­ers of our suc­cess, not pas­sen­gers!

• Not Your Grandma’s Pro­cesses: We want to suc­ceed to­mor­row, not just to­day.

• Keep An Open Mind: We em­brace change as a ve­hi­cle to­ward progress. With no bud­get, the TruCrew ac­cepted ideas from all ar­eas of the or­ga­ni­za­tion.

“We’ve seen team­mates from dif­fer­ent de­part­ments work to­gether to iden­tify a hur­dle, brain­storm so­lu­tions and put in place a change that has im­me­di­ate and last­ing pos­i­tive im­pact on both em­ploy­ees and mem­bers,” Ken Acker, TruChoice FCU CEO, said in a state­ment. “THINK has en­abled us to take our brand prom­ise of Bank Sim­ply to an­other level. I’m amazed ev­ery day by what our team brings to the table in their ded­i­ca­tion and com­mit­ment to TruChoice and our mem­bers.”

The ideas that have been im­ple­mented have in­cluded get­ting rid of loan forms that were no longer needed, up­dat­ing and ex­pand­ing its lend­ing auto de­ci­sion­ing pa­ram­e­ters, purg­ing in­ac­tive ac­counts, re­mov­ing ex­tra em­ployee to­kens and li­censes from some soft­ware pro­grams and re-de­ploy­ing un­der-uti­lized ATMS.

“The team re­ally fo­cused on look­ing at their jobs with new eyes – not do­ing things a cer­tain way just be­cause it was how we’d al­ways done it – and re­view­ing con­tract terms to en­sure that what we pay for and what we need are the same things,” Acker said.

With more than 200 ideas submitted, THINK has re­sulted in an­nual sav­ings of $116,845, ap­prox­i­mately 70 per­cent of which is in re­cur­ring ex­penses and 755 hours of work saved per year.

Em­ploy­ees sub­mit their ideas via email and mem­bers of each depart­ment reg­u­larly re­view what’s on the list. “It be­comes more than just cul­ture,” Lisa Row­ley, TruChoice FCU in­for­ma­tion tech­nol­ogy man­ager, said. “Peo­ple are ask­ing ‘Why are things this way?’”

The con­cept also ap­plies across de­part­ments. Em­ploy­ees from one depart­ment can make sug­ges­tions for an­other depart­ment. “Lisa might see some­thing I do on the sales team,” said Jes­sica Hol­land, as­sis­tant vice pres­i­dent of retail at TruChoice Fed­eral Credit Union. “You get so into it that you don’t rec­og­nize that there is an eas­ier way.”

Row­ley said she be­lieves the pro­gram can eas­ily help iden­tify in­ef­fi­cien­cies in any CU.

“We want em­ploy­ees to just be cu­ri­ous and to ex­plore,” said Row­ley, “If you have some­thing that seems like your grandma’s process, ques­tion why … It’s a re­ally easy way to iden­tify in­ef­fi­cien­cies.”

The Truchoice THINK team

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