Is your credit union organized for today’s consumer? All too often credit unions are “stuck” in an organization chart that reflects the business of the past not the company of the future. But what needs to change?
The Past had some or all of the following strategic leaders Chief Executive Officer, Chief Financial Officer, Chief Information Officer/Chief Technology Officer, Chief Operations Officer, Chief Marketing Officer, Chief Lending Officer, and Chief Administration Officer. Except for the CEO, each of these executives had the responsibility to lead and direct the actions based on each silo.
But, let’s look at how silos and roles have evolved.
The Operations Officer’s work has evolved from managing processes and policies to seeking ways to use technology to streamline the member experience in the branches, to eliminate a lot of the robotic work involved in moving member’s money in and out of the credit union and between accounts.
The Technology Officer’s responsibilities have moved beyond managing the network and telecom infrastructure and installing/integrating new software and network security to anticipating the technology needs of all of the other silos in the credit union.
The Lending Officer’s work is now about not only driving loan balance acquisition and retention and credit risk but to also select and manage online loan origination systems and to streamline lending processes for a more streamlined members experience.
The Admin Officer is not just focused on benefits, employee retention and acquisition, training, compliance, and facilities management; they also are selecting and managing online training, performance management, payroll, and attendance systems.
The Marketing Officer not only focuses on the four P’s and the distribution channels but also systems to measure adoption and utilization, email marketing systems, website systems, and diagnostics, and content, outbound, inbound marketing, and member journey systems.
The Finance Officer is not just focused on interest rate risk, the balance sheet, income statement, budgeting, NIM, Provision Expense, ROA, Capital, and sustainability but also how expense allocation and budgets are being affected by the system demands from all of the other silos.
Today, all of these roles and responsibilities have merged. It is a common assumption that each executive is the subject matter expert but what is often overlooked is the reality that executives must have a total view of the organization, not just their silo. The silo lead has the final say, but each executive has a responsibility to understand the entire business and provide insights into how every initiative or change impacts the company and their silo. To foster this collaborative environment, the CEO must reorganize based on strategic goals.
How is this done?
Identify the key strategic drivers of the organization. As an example, if member engagement is a critical strategic driver, the credit union needs a Chief Engagement Officer or a Chief Relationship Officer. This executive will have strategic leadership over everything that touches the member. Their leadership responsibilities will cross over into other traditional silos. They will direct all software integrations that are member facing. They will oversee all processes that touch the member. They will have ownership of branches, the call center, and online applications. They will not be doing the actual software integrations, but they will oversee the projects and collaborate with the Vice Presidents, managers, and supervisors that are responsible for actually doing the work. Yes, they will have under their direct reporting lines, VP from branches, operations, call center, and IT.
Typically this role will not be headcount addition. It will require an existing executive to become a life-long learner to take on their broadened responsibilities. It will require this executive to learn how to direct work outside of their core competency and to learn to collaborate, performance manage, and trust the VPs reporting to them.
So, if your credit union’s strategic goals include member growth, loan balance growth, member engagement, asset growth, and improved ROA, the executive team will be made up of a Chief Marketing Officer directing member growth, Chief Lending Officer leading loan balance growth, Chief Relationship Officer addressing member interactions, and a Chief Financial Officer directing how all of these roles will drive asset growth and improved ROA.
This kind of strategic alignment will require a cultural realignment of the executive team. In some cases, the executives will have to learn how to land off some traditional control, and in other cases, they will have to learn how to lead across conventional silos. Also, all executives will need to understand that leadership in your credit union requires each executive to learn, grow, adapt, and stretch every day.