Move Made To Better Serve Wealthier Members

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SAN JOSE, Calif.-Technology Credit Union is reporting that a move it made to combine three divisions aimed at serving upper-income members has successful in growing and better serving the $325 million it now has in managed assets.

Brandon Thompson, SVP-Managing Director of Wealth Management Division for the $1.4-billion credit union, said the combination of private banking, personal banking and investment services-has also boosted the credit union's own bottom line.

"What it really does is strengthen and deepen our relationships with our clients," he said. "Everything we do is enhanced. The visibility is higher and members are more aware of what we do. We turned a profit last year and expect it to bring in more revenue as more members use it."

Thompson was brought on board at Tech CU in April 2010, just a few months after Barbara Kamm took over as CEO. Kamm asked him to review the credit union's private banking and investment services sectors and determine how they could be enhanced.

"We put together the three departments under one umbrella at our central facility," he recalled. "We have two personal bankers that are out in the field and the private bankers are all in one place. It is a better experience for the members because there is a one-stop atmosphere."

Added Lisa Fettner, Tech CU's VP of marketing, "If a member comes in and wants to talk to a personal banker and an investment adviser, they can," she said. "It gives us better access and improved ability to serve our members. We are finding many of our members have a pretty deep relationship with Technology Credit Union, so this makes it easier to give them everything they possibly need."

Tech CU said in 2003 it became one of the first credit unions in the country to offer investment services, personal banking and private banking to its members. Since then, the combined divisions have grown to $325 million in managed assets, servicing more than 4,000 members.

150 Years of Knowledge

Although it was not officially announced until November, Thompson noted the first steps of the consolidation began in April 2010, shortly after he started. He said members "love walking into the building," because it is "unlike anything else at a credit union or regional bank in the area."

"In the Wealth Management Division we have more than 150 years of knowledge. When members walk in there is a dedicated person serving them. This is very high-touch, and it is a lot warmer touch than going online."

Added Fettner: "There is a commitment to offer the full gamut of services other credit unions don't have, including investments."

In promoting the Wealth Management Division to its members, Tech CU has taken a low-key approach so far, but did make a big splash by hosting an open house in conjunction with an event that promoted Tesla electric cars. Thompson said it gained "a lot" of new business accounts as a result.

"It is not the quantity so much as it is the quality of people that are walking in the door," he said. "Business banking is about working with the many entrepreneurs in the Silicon Valley."

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