From left to right, Susan Makris of Patelco CU, Kevin Sherrell of Altura CU and Deena Otto of Wescom CU discuss culture strategies.

Hollywood, Calif. – How can a credit union create a culture where successes are always shared when many job descriptions involve sales? Reward behaviors, not outcomes, and say goodbye to commission-based bonus programs that can lead to a competitive environment.

That was one key takeaway from Susan Makris, SVP and chief administration officer for the $6.5 billion Patelco Credit Union in Pleasanton, Calif., who spoke at the California and Nevada Credit Union Leagues’ REACH conference last Thursday with two other credit union administration executives. Makris explained that at Patelco, sales team members and branch employees are not rewarded for their performance, but rather for things like how well they demonstrate teamwork, leadership competencies and excellent member service, because employees are “all in this together.”

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Natasha Chilingerian

Natasha Chilingerian has worked in the credit union space for over a decade. She joined CU Times as managing editor in 2015 and was promoted to executive editor in 2019. Before that, she served as a communications specialist for Xceed Financial Credit Union (now Kinecta Federal Credit Union) in Los Angeles from 2013-2015, and as a CU Times freelancer from 2011-2013. She has been a professional writer and editor for more than 17 years, specializing in news and lifestyle journalism as well as marketing copywriting for companies in the finance and technology space.

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