Calling All The Very Best

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The most admired "Best Practices" typically aren't borne that way. They begin as ideas, are implemented, and then evolve as lessons are learned, new ideas added, and revisions made.

Case in point is The Credit Union Journal's Best Practices issue. This year will mark the third year The Journal has recognized credit unions for best practices across a spectrum of disciplines. But this year, too, based on reader feedback and suggestions, we are altering the Best Practice format to allow not just more credit unions to participate, but to be more inclusive of the numerous Best Practices credit unions have grown organically that may not fit into rigid, predetermined categories.

With this issue The Credit Union Journal invites entries into our Best Practices issue, which will be published Nov. 7. Nominations may be submitted by credit unions on behalf of themselves, a CUSO or even another credit union. For all readers, the Best Practice nominations are a means of recognizing those unsung heroes who have developed an idea and brought it to fruition. Nominations can also be submitted by the numerous suppliers to the credit union community that have clients they believe exemplify the best in implementing a particular product or service, whether it be at the retail level or in the backoffice.

In no particular order, The Credit Union Journal is soliciting your Best Practices in IT Security, IP Telephony (VoIP), member segmentation or member relationship management, lending, deposit or savings programs, business development, branch strategies, facilities, technology implementation, HR/Training, investments, operations/backoffice, governance, corporate credit unions, ALM, business services/member business lending, and, of course, the "other" category for that unique idea your credit union has put in place.

Finally, readers stressed that The Journal's Best Practices recognition program should be sure to include what we're calling our Duct Tape Category, those cheap ideas done on a shoestring that have nonetheless delivered solid results.

The criteria are as follows:

1. Best practice must have been deployed since May 1, 2004.

2. Credit union (or vendor) selects (or even creates) a category and nominates itself/client CU. The entry should include: 500 words or less on why it believes it has created a best practice within its operation. The nomination essay should include as many tangible measures as practical (including ROI where available) documenting the best practice; the background on environment prior to the implementation of the best practice; and factors driving adoption of the best practice, and any new products/solutions deployed to achieve the best practice.

3. A credit union may enter more than one category.

4. Two asset categories will be used: $50 million and less, and $50.1 million and larger.

5. The deadline for entries will be Friday, Aug. 26.

6. Nominations can be e-mailed to Editor Frank J. Diekmann at fdiekmann@cujournal.com, or to Associate Editor Lisa Freeman at lfreeman cujournal.com.

The Credit Union Journal's editorial staff will then evaluate the nominations, select the credit unions that exemplify the Best Practice, and then profile those winners in the Nov. 7 issue.

The Credit Union Journal has deliberately made the entry process as simple and easy as possible. So take a few minutes, and make a best practice out of entering The Credit Union Journal's Best Practice program. This is your opportunity to recognize not just your credit union, but some of the people within the organization who have improved the operation to the benefit of members.

Any questions can be e-mailed to the addresses above or call 888-832-2929.

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