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TUKWILA, Wash. — Hank Church is in exclusive company. Not many credit union people can say their title is “manager of knowledge management.”

But, then again, not many credit unions put as much focus on technical innovation and internal collaboration as fast-growing BECU, now a $7.2 billion institution serving more than 470,000 members with more than 150 branches and ATM locations and about 900 employees. Church is in charge of a three-person department he says was formed in mid-2006 “initially as the keeper of the knowledge base. We then became the enhancers of the knowledge base and now we are working towards becoming an integral part of our organization’s overall strategic planning.” With an IT shop long known for its do-it-yourself attitude, BECU had been using a knowledge base created internally several years ago to provide forms and other product information to front-line staff across its burgeoning branch network.

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