MADISON, Wis. - CUNA's recent reorganization of its fee-based operations was in part designed to get its sales and marketing strategy out of the `80s and into today. "What was lacking in terms of our sales and marketing is we had an organization that had been designed to operate in a marketplace that existed 10 to 15 years ago," said CUNA EVP and COO Pete Crear. "We were designed to operate in a marketplace with 20,000 credit unions, now there's 10,000." "We sought to address a broad array of strategic issues that impact financial performance, member satisfaction, league relationships and operational effectiveness. And we're confident the end-result will be improved efficiency on our part and high value-added products and services that will help credit unions achieve superior business performance," said CUNA President/CEO Dan Mica. While CUNA's reorganization of its fee-based operations might just look like some executive musical chairs to outsiders, it says it's really designed to eliminate duplication; improve efficiency; and better serve CUs with consulting-like services. (See sidebar to see what the new department's responsibilities are.) One of the big keys, said Crear, is the sales and marketing professionals are now within the fee-based units. That gives the sales and marketing staffers the ability to know exactly what products to push and to who. "Once we better coordinate that office it's good for us and good for credit unions. No credit union should get 20 or 30 promotional pieces from us," said Crear. Instead things will be more targeted he said. This will eliminate duplication, which costs money. Crear said in the past there were product managers for each product line. If one person's role was to market Googolplex, its children's publication, and another's a specific conference, a credit union may get two separate mailings at the same time from CUNA. "Multiply that another 10 or 15 times and there's a lot of duplication there," said Crear Crear said there will also be more "how to" under the new set-up. CUNA will work with individual CUs as sort of a consultant in conjunction with that CU's league to help them make informed decisions. Instead of just pure research, which CUNA has in droves, Crear said the newly formed Research & Advisory Services will be more of a living, breathing resource for CUs. He said today's CU marketplace is much more segmented than in the past, and CUs need different things. "This market now has a number of different levels. Twenty years ago it was homogenized. Look at this market now and you can see various levels of sophistication," said Crear. He said the bottom line is to get the right information in the hands of CUs who need it before they make big decisions such as charter conversions; mergers; new products, etc. "We continue to look at the decline of credit unions. There ought to be a way for a credit union who wants to take a prescription to take the prescription and get better. There ought to be some treatment and some remedy." CUNA is also trying to cut down on the number of fee-based products in hopes of eliminating duplication. "In some cases we simply merged products together with existing ones," said Crear. For example it eliminated Credit Union Executive, which was both an online and print pub, and it sort of morphed into what is now Credit Union Executive Center, an online resource for credit union execs. As for all of the personnel moves, Crear said they all have significance, but one of the most significant is the move involving Dean Archer. Archer is moving from VP of Meetings & Events to VP of Executive Development, including the CUNA Councils. Archer is legendary for his work on CUNA's conferences, but he will now head executive development in CUNA's Center for Professional Development, which will include the well-known CUNA Councils. "Some of that he already has, like the (CEO) Roundtable. He will now head the councils. I think it's a good move on our part to have a VP level person carry their agendas," said Crear. Crear said CUNA doesn't expect to make money hand over fist because of the reorganization. "What we're more concerned about is to get to break even," he said. He said it will be subsidized for about a year from CUNA, but by the second year it will break even, and could then start to make money. The reorganization was in part a result of the work done by an independent consultant who analyzed the operations. Crear said the consultant started working in August, about three days a week, up until December. The first draft of his report came out in January. CUNA is now having Caroll Beach look at the business offerings of CUNA Strategic Services, Inc., which has undergone a lot of changes in recent years. -email@example.com
CUNA's sweeping reorganization of its fee-based operations puts many in new roles with goals of efficiency
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