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SCHENECTADY, N.Y. – It’s really true – and not really surprising – that Tom Wiedl has the title of “vice president of sales and WOW” at the $396 million Sunmark Federal Credit Union. The WOW, of course, stands for the way Sunmark employees are trained-and judged-on how well they dazzle members with the basic CU service mission. “Sure, our sales culture is organized with a goal of getting good results, but we try to do it by emphasizing the fun part of the job,” explains Wiedl, a former Montgomery Ward’s store manager in Albany who joined Sunmark in 1996 and who is now getting national recognition for high sales production on loans and other products. Indeed, Callahan & Associates rated Sunmark No. 2 in the nation in its peer group for its five-year share and loan growth, plus No. 8 in five year capital and 10th in member growth for the period ending December 2004. With Wiedl in industry demand from those wanting to glean his secrets, CU executives are now coming to Schenectady to get a firsthand look with a vanload of Vermont CEOs dropping in last week. The visit was organized by the Vermont Credit Union League which on its Web site urged CEOs “to spend a day with a top performing, sales focused credit union that everyone is talking about” and to learn about such topics as “loan stealing, integrity selling and sales reward packages.” Bryan Kent, vice president of the League and coordinator of the Sunmark tour, said he found it refreshing that CUs “can work together and those like Sunmark are willing to share what they know.” In fact, Wiedl-though modest about his Sunmark service-expresses pride that he has helped train others across the U.S. and that when his job allows, he does discuss the Sunmark success in various engagements including as a breakout speaker at CUNA Mutual’s Discovery conference last month in Florida. “I don’t think you could say I’m doing that much different than any sales-powered retail organization does all the time,” says Wiedl noting that “fun and games with that retail flair” are uppermost in guiding the staff to high performance. In addition to “graduation” exercises for employees completing what he calls “life changing” sales training programs, Wiedl makes sure the high performing staff is constantly recognized with monetary rewards as well as management honors. There are daily raffles and contests with “oversized dice, spinning wheels and large playing cards” with employees winning everything from weekend getaways to gift certificates and during a summer checking promotion going on now they can win backyard swimming pools, beach towels and lawn chairs. There is a daily “WOW” publication and a “WOW bus” with employee photos posted next to top management on six-foot high signs to illustrate staff getting “on board” the sales culture drive. E-mails are sent out to all employees in the CU noting “WOW” award winners who also are given toy WOW school buses that go on employee desks. “One of the things I’ve tried to do ever since I took this job is to get our sales staff to work with existing members to quiz them on banks where they have their loans now and then try to `steal’ them,” said Wiedl. The process involves convincing a member they can save $100 a month on a loan payment by switching to Sunmark. “Struggling to be aggressive” in this kind of environment, he said, does require an incentive package perhaps larger than other CUs might be willing to pay, he said. Sunmark, he noted, does work off a $5 per thousand of auto loans and $1.50 average on home equity and mortgages. “A number of credit unions who have attended meetings where I’ve spoken tell me they pay $1.00 per thousand or put in caps, but we don’t agree with that idea-we feel we need to reward our employees as much as we can,” said Wiedl who works with a corps of 75 employees out of 180 in Sunmark. Wiedl said he keeps his call center-with three full timers – focused on making calls to existing members rather than cold calls. “In daytime calls we simply discuss the opportunities to save them money,” he said, adding “we have no canned talks.” Bruce M. Beaudette, president/CEO of Sunmark, said he hoped to join in the welcoming committee for the visiting Vermont CUs last week and he singled out Wiedl for his “passion and energy” in pursuing the sales culture and helping “rewrite our mission statement” to include the WOW feature. Beaudette said Wiedl was originally hired as head of membership services with a mission of developing a sales culture, something that he has done exceedingly well. “That guy is up at 3 a.m. thinking of ideas,” said Beaudette adding that he has long been willing within limits to let Wiedl make appearances at trade groups “since it is so important that we credit unions cooperate and work together.” Among his other skills, Wiedl is also a guitar player and song writer creating “core values” and anti-bank ballads as well as serenading for employees on their birthdays. “Whenever I can, I come in to the branch and play for employees and make up little birthday songs about them,” said Wiedl. “It gets a few laughs.” [email protected]

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