Trash talking has always been big part of physical competition, but a good-natured smack talk match recently brought tremendous loan growth to two credit unions.
The contest between the $83 million, 7,000-member South Bay Credit Union of Redondo Beach, Calif., and the $35 million, 7,800-member United Advantage Northwest FCU of Portland, Ore., ended with a win and a trophy for South Bay
The CU Smack Down rivalry was the creation of South Bay CEO Jennifer Oliver. She suggested the competition at the CU*NorthWest Annual Leadership Conference where credit union leaders who use CU*BASE for their core processing solution come to learn about new solutions and collaborate on new ideas.
South Bay had done a similar competition internally dividing the staff and pitting the teams against each other.
After a tight battle with multiple lead changes and good-natured smack talk, South Bay Credit Union accepted the trophy and congratulated United Advantage Northwest FCU on a good fight.
“The smack talk had us laughing together, something we haven’t been able to do since the recession,” said Evie Rasmussen, CEO of the Oregon credit union. “Seeing the numbers and income increase was a huge bonus. Going into September UA was ahead and we relished in our success only to fall behind since we were starting to exceed our liquidity threshold – darn it! But know the regulator was coming in late September we couldn’t afford to push things dramatically. So we fell behind with a grin on our faces.”
CU*NorthWest, a credit union-owned CUSO located in Liberty Lake, Wash., acted as referee and posted the weekly total in net consumer loan growth and the smack talk between the two to its website, www.cunorthwest.com. Final numbers: South Bay, 247 loans for $1,266,239, and United Advantage, 141 loans for $896,032. The competition began July 1 and ended Sept. 30.
Throughout the match, United Advantage developed a new green loan product, staged hot-call nights with a scratch lottery ticket for each loan, and incented staff and members with prizes including a chartered deep sea fishing adventure.
A local graphic designer helped them with a campaign including social media, posters, T-shirts and mailers.
In Southern California the South Bay staff was bringing some laser focus to the competition. In the previous quarter, the credit union had divided their staff in a loan competition that yielded almost $3 million in loans.
“This time the whole staff rallied together to beat United Advantage,” said Oliver. “The smack talk was the most fun of all. We used all the tools the system has to offer and worked it.”