What A CU Must Know To Grow Share Of Wallet

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If a credit union wants to gain an increasing share of the member's wallet, they must truly understand the drivers and behaviors that determine asset movement, according to one person.

John O'Malley, president of Harland Financial Solutions, told the 1,535 attendees at its Financial Solutions' Connections 2005 conference here, that organic growth is important to financial institutions as they are "chasing the assets."

"Banks and credit unions have done a great job of capturing customers and members," he said. "But how does a financial institution make people feel comfortable? How does one financial institution grow assets faster than another? Financial institutions must align and leverage their brand and distribution channels to their strengths."

Deposits at financial institutions have grown a mere 1% in the past 14 years: "So there's a lot out there," O'Malley declared.

Tim Tuff, chairman and CEO of the John H. Harland Company, parent to HFS, told the audience Harland serves two-thirds of all financial institutions. This includes approximately 1,250 credit union clients.

HFS said during the conference it soon will release an electronic signing technology designed to eliminate the need to scan the most commonly used loan documents after closing. The "Pro Sign" system uses a signature pad to capture digitized signatures and insert them into documents during the loan signing process. Harland said signers at multiple locations can access the documents, reducing the need for power of attorney use. Each signer must consent to signing documents electronically, and access is given only to authorized users.

The most visceral portion of the conference's opening session was the keynote by former NASA astronaut Jim Lovell, whose experience in bringing a crippled spacecraft home against overwhelming odds was featured in the 1995 movie "Apollo 13."

Lovell asked the audience, "What does Apollo 13's flight 35 years ago have to do with software development today, especially relating to financial institutions? Thirteen's flight was a classic case of crisis management," he responded. "It needed leadership; not only at the top, but throughout the organization. We had a dedicated group of people."

Lovell told the harrowing story of the ill-fated mission-which was supposed to land on the moon but nearly cost the three astronauts their lives when an oxygen tank exploded.

The moral of Apollo 13, which Lovell said applies to financial institutions today: "There are three kinds of people. Those who make things happen, those who watch things happen, and those who wonder what happened."

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