Using Shared Employees To Expand Services Is Extolled

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Employees of three prominent credit unions told attendees of CUNA Mutual Group's Discovery Conference on Friday how their "Shared Employee" programs have taken member relationships to another level, not to mention the professional development of their credit union staff.

Representatives of Navy Federal Financial Group, Arizona State Savings & Credit Union and First Commonwealth FCU related their shared-employee experiences at CUNA Mutual's eighth annual Discovery Conference during a panel-discussion titled "Expand Through Shared Employees." Panelists included: Tom Yee and Wayne Williamson, Navy Federal; Brian Johnson and Alan Blaine of Arizona State Savings & Credit Union; JoAnn Broderick, First Commonwealth FCU; and John Moreno, Arizona State MEMBERS Financial Services (MEMFS) representative.

A shared employee acts as an employee of a credit union and CUNA Brokerage Services, Inc. (CBSI), CUNA Mutual's licensed securities broker/dealer. The shared employee performs traditional member services on behalf of the credit union. And, as a registered representative of CBSI with a Series 6 license, the shared employee handles less complex securities sales activities for CBSI. The shared employee is also insurance licensed through CUNA Mutual Life Insurance Co.

How Program Is Structured

CUNA Mutual launched its shared employee program in 2001 through its MEMBERS Financial Services system, Joe Salomone, session facilitator told the Discovery attendees. Currently, there are 116 licensed, shared employees at 43 credit unions nationwide. Salomone, an assistant VP of MEMBERS Financial Services for CUNA Mutual, said on average, in their first year those shared employees generate $10,000 in monthly sales for their CUs.

"This (shared employee) program is part of Navy Federal's vision," said Yee, VP-investment services. "We need to provide an entire range of products and services in order to be a primary financial institution to our members."

Arizona State Savings & Credit Union's Johnson agreed, and added, "The program is about staff development. It provides a new learning experience for employees and helps members at the same time. This (shared employee) program is a great tie-in to what employees currently do, and it helps move business to the MEMFS rep."

Williamson and Blaine, both shared employees, agreed the program created career incentives. "My relationships with members have definitely improved," Blaine told the meeting. "There are many, many, many cross-selling opportunities. Members end up feeling good about this, and you get to see the results. I'm developing as an associate, and my commitment to the credit union has increased."

Though it has only one shared employee, First Commonwealth, is considering expanding its program because of opportunities created that weren't previously being recognized. "It's exceeded our expectations," Broderick said. "We want to be a full-service provider of financial services. All the opportunities weren't being recognized, but they are now."

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