SAN ANTONIO, Texas – Security Service Federal Credit Union President and CEO David E. Reynolds is a man with a plan. And regardless of whether it’s a plan for reducing credit union net operating expenses or for restoring a rare automobile, Reynolds is relentless in pursuing his final goal. The 52-year-old Pryor Creek, Oklahoma-native grew up with credit union ties. His father was a long-time president of the Phillips 66 Credit Union in Bartlesville, Oklahoma and his uncle was president of Dowell FCU in Tulsa. Reynolds graduated with a Bachelor of Arts degree in Public Administration from Oklahoma State University in 1972 and began work toward a Master of Business Administration degree at the University of Oklahoma. During graduate school, his father advised him that the National Credit Union Administration was looking for examiners. David jumped at the opportunity and became an NCUA field examiner working out of Kansas City and Houston. “This was one of the best experiences I’ve ever had,” said Reynolds. “I was in literally hundreds of credit unions of all sizes over that period. Some operations were on kitchen tables, some in granaries. Every manager had a different management style, and I picked up a little something from each of them.” Reynolds worked for NCUA a total of nine years, also holding positions as Review Analyst and Section Chief for Consumer Affairs and Special Actions at NCUA’s Region V headquarters in Austin. In 1983, Reynolds went to work for Pentagon FCU. As Southwest Regional Marketing Representative and Branch Manager, he was charged with opening the credit union’s first office in San Antonio. Reynolds joined Security Service FCU in 1986 and was quickly promoted to Executive Vice President, a position he held for 11 years. In May 1997, he succeeded Steve Harms as SSFCU’s President and CEO. Under Reynolds’ leadership, the credit union has grown to serve 440,000 members, boasts assets of more than $2 billion, has achieved record capital growth and is ranked as the eleventh largest credit union in the United States. A major accomplishment under Reynolds’ direction has been the reduction of the credit union’s net operating expenses from 1.72 to 1.48% of total assets. In 1999, SSFCU was selected as NAFCU’s Federal Credit Union of the Year. Planning is a key component of Reynolds’ management philosophy. “I strongly believe in planning. Of all the things we do, looking to the future helps us most,” Reynolds said. “We start planning April 1 for the next year, and by mid-summer, those plans are finalized. Because we are large enough that areas are specialized, it’s important that we have input from every board and senior staff member. It’s a very collegial process. Everyone takes responsibility.” “For example, the decision to establish a global call center was agreed upon by every officer. If you don’t have a good phone system, your members won’t get good service,” Reynolds said. SSFCU was awarded the Professional Teleservice Management Association’s 2001 Call Center of the Year, competing against such organizations as American Airlines. Planning paid off for SSFCU in the credit union’s move to new 130,000-square foot corporate headquarters. The project was on time and under budget, according to Reynolds. “Our management reps did a great job in setting strict controls. Approximately 375 people moved over three weekends. The data center picked up at 8 a.m. one day and was back online at 8 p.m. It all went smoothly.” Employee development is perhaps the second most recognizable component of Reynolds’ management style. He frees employees to do the job they were hired to do, without micro-managing. “I like to see my employees do more and be challenged. I like them to broaden their experience and see success,” Reynolds said. “For example, my vice president of MIS was in charge of the whole moving project, not just the data center. Some people call it cross-training; I call it growth. We don’t want our employees to get compartmentalized.” Since becoming SSFCU’s CEO, Reynolds has focused on improving operational efficiency. He combined drive through and lobby tellers and spearheaded the integration of technology into service centers. Innovative services include: “Web chat,” a mechanism that allows members to dialog with online credit union member service representatives; untended safe deposit boxes, which utilize palm scans to give members access to their secured belongings without employee assistance; and 24/7 mall service centers. Reynolds doesn’t rule out any future services. “If our members want it, we’ll go there. We wouldn’t put anything off the table. For example, we made IRNet wire transfer services available by phone through the call center. Members don’t have to come in and fill out anything. One of the first members to use the service transferred $4,000 at a cost of $22. That’s value for our members. “Something that may not have the best return on assets but is a good investment in our opinion is investing in the education of our members,” Reynolds continued. “We now have two local in-school service centers to educate youth early on finances. We also have about 60 employees who take time off work weekly to mentor students in schools.” But Reynolds points out that members are not solely interested in a credit union’s service portfolio. “I believe people do business with us not because we provide a particular service, but because they have ownership and participation. Even corporations like to do business in places where they have a voice. Credit unions have a pretty good focus on what is convenient for members and not just on what’s convenient for the credit union. For-profit institutions don’t necessarily do it that way.” “I’ve seen credit unions working together better since the passage of HR 1151. In our Alamo Chapter of Credit Unions we compete for the same members in many cases, but we come together in the community and in the legislative arena. That’s not to say that the CEOs of other credit unions have my picture up in their offices. . . unless it may be to throw darts at,” he laughed. Reynolds and his wife, Helen, have three sons – 14, 15 and 22. In addition to spending time with his family, Reynolds is an avid motorsports enthusiast. “I like racecars and motorcycles. I like competition. My friends grew out of this phase, but I never did,” said Reynolds, who also enjoys restoring vehicles. A Corvette, a Ferrari, and a 1958 Sprite are included among his possessions, but his most prized vehicle is a 1958 English Lister-Jaguar, one of perhaps only 18 ever made. Rescued from a farm field where it sat abandoned for years, Reynolds parked the wreck at his parents’ house for several more years before he initiated a full restoration. “My wife says the worse a car looks, the more I want it. My family has been known to take pictures of old junkers and say, “Hey, here’s a car you’ll like.” Reynolds races the Lister-Jag as often as possible. He says racing takes lots of planning in advance because when you’re in the middle of a race you have to make quick decisions. While very competitive, Reynolds says he doesn’t have to win as long as he sees continuous improvement in his performance. “I have a philosophy that I use in business as well as in racing: Today is better than yesterday and tomorrow is better than today.” – JFWrite@aol.com
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