Goal: 'Right People In Right Seats In Right Tasks'

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HOUSTON-The bottom line on enhancing the bottom line, said Steve Swanston, is that there's no short answer. The topic could be a book-and a long one at that.

Swanston, executive vice president of business development at John M. Floyd and Associates, noted that his firm is focusing right now on making sure clients are "dotting the i's and crossing the t's on all of their internal efficiencies-both from a technology standpoint, a vendor standpoint and a personnel standpoint. Making sure they have the right people in the right seats doing the right tasks is phase one."

Additionally, he said, credit unions should be sure they're making the best use of their technological and vendor resources-chiefly that they're not overpaying for and underutilizing different services. "We see that almost 100% of the time," he said. "People are buying more than they need to or buying a suite of products and only utilizing 50% to 60% of what they're actually paying for."

Beyond that, he noted that it's important for FIs to have a non-interest income strategy, though "that's not something you can go cradle-to-grave in six months." Still, he stressed that vendors-including his firm and a number of others-are available to help CUs find that income, whether it be through overdraft services, pre-paid card services or another option.

"But the quickest way for these guys right now is operational efficiency," he stressed. "If we can streamline that, rework vendor agreements, make sure we're not paying for old and antiquated services that are no longer needed and get the personnel efficiencies streamlined, then credit unions are going to see immediate returns."

Swanston noted that streamlining staff doesn't have to mean eliminating positions. "Obviously that's the easy way to do it; if you cut a staff member you're going to save some money, but that doesn't mean you're going to be more efficient." He added "if you can re-assign the appropriate people and their functionality in some of those proactive growth areas, you're going to see an immediate return."

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