Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: credit union branch (page 1 of 2)

Who’s Your Imagineer?

This post is a continuation of a previous discussion: R&D…Not Just for Tech Firms. If you are on a time-crunch, this one can be read on its own too, though I would strongly suggest you return to learn about how Research & Development can create more than the next phone or car.

As a lifelong Disney-geek, an easy way to send me into a “Mufasa!” frenzy is by leaning in and whispering the word, Imagineer. “Imagineer, Imagineer, Imagineer!”

Imagineers (ooh, do it again!) are the people behind creating Disney magic. From ensuring animation matches reality to creating a slice of the African Serengeti outside of Orlando, they bring ideas to life. Why did Bambi move just how a deer would? Imagineers studied small deer in zoos and the wild to gather all the intricacies of their behavior. How did they know Aladdin’s magic carpet would hold both his and Jasmine’s weight? Imagineers tracked down the oldest surviving magic carpets, then rode them with varying weights (turns out, a well-maintained magic carpet can fly with up to 500 pounds).

These are the people who dream it, then build it. The Epcot globe (Spaceship Earth) was an idea in the mind long before construction teams ever broke ground. In fact, it was said that it could not be done, that the supports wouldn’t hold it up. A giant geodesic sphere rolling through World Showcase was not the image Disney wanted the public to have. But there it is, time-traveling ride inside it and all. On behalf of many EPCOT (in the original all-caps) geeks, thank you Imagineers.

Disney is a place where magic and reality intersect for visitors of all ages. That’s no accident. Thousands, perhaps millions, of hours of brainstorming went into creating every attraction, process, and procedure to make the difference between a great experience and a magical one.

Look inside your own credit union. Do you have any Imagineers on your staff? Maybe they’re dormant because no one has asked for their input. Or they don’t feel it would be valued, since it’s not their department. Within the Imagineering department at Disney, every cast member is an Imagineer, from the master engineer to the front desk secretary. Talk about empowerment.

So, who’s your Imagineer?

R&D…Not Just for Tech Firms

When you hear R&D (Research and Development), what comes to mind? Lab coats? Wind tunnels? Endless lines of code?

Ask an engineer with one of many technology firms, and they’ll often give those responses. Good thing, too, since we all want our planes tested before flight, chemicals evaluated before addition to everyday products, and computers that don’t crash.

What if I asked your credit union loan manager? What’s R&D to them? If you’re like most institutions, it’s an acronym they don’t have time to review. The here and now creates value. A loan application just arrived; time to get them approved! Other leads on member vehicle purchases were collected; each member will be contacted for refinancing. Someone else just e-mailed for information on a HELOC. Now there’s an acronym that makes money!

It may not surprise you to learn Apple devoted $1.6 billion to research and development this past quarter. Not year, quarter. With a bank account like theirs, money does grow on trees, so while the rest of us might view a billion dollar investment as a few branches above our reach, that doesn’t mean a smaller scale program cannot hold value. Let’s look at it from a percentage, instead. Apple devoted approximately 4% of sales to their research and development initiatives.

How could you use 4% of your quarterly financials to improve your credit union, the member experience, and come up with new ways to do business? Remember, your competition is not other credit unions and banks; it’s the next new idea that is conceived and implemented so as to make what you do seem outdated and inefficient in comparison. Think about online loan applications or mobile check deposit. Did your team think of those before they were introduced en masse? Once they did become popular, how long until you were able to incorporate them into your own system? In terms of member revenue, how much do you feel was lost by taking more time?

And we’re not even talking about the next big idea. What is it? Ask your research and development team!

Like Strapping on a Jet Engine

Today, I upgraded my computer’s drive to an SSD, or Solid State Drive. It’s exactly the same as the traditional spinning hard drive, except there’s nothing spinning. Ok, so it’s nothing like it. But you know all about them, even if it’s a new term. Put your ear to your phone (yes, you can do that for calls, too!); hear anything? Of course not, because phones don’t use a spinning drive. However, they do use SSDs to hold all your photos, apps, and documents. And doesn’t your phone load individual apps very quickly? Say, “thank you SSDs!”

I’ve been reluctant to make the same upgrade on my computer. This laptop is from 2010, so not the newest technology, but top-of-the-line at the time. Lately, loading programs and other items has gotten on my nerves, especially since my iPad tends to load its version of those same apps much faster. #FirstWorldProblems, perhaps, but I was tired of waiting a minute for my photo suite to load. So, I caved and purchased an SSD. Once received, I cloned (geek-speak for “copied”) my existing hard drive on to it. Then, I made sure the computer ran off it as expected. Once confirmed, I took apart my computer and swapped out the drives (Fix a shelf? I’m lost. Take apart and reassemble tiny components of a computer? I’m good.).

Now the moment of truth…did I short something out? Was a plug partially disconnected? Did I leave part of my lunch inside the casing? With a sigh of relief, I learned the answer to all those questions was “no”.

So how was it? Did I notice a difference? Like strapping a jet engine on everyone’s favorite racing tortoise. Booting up previously took about 2-5 minutes, depending on what was loaded. Now? About 20 seconds. My photo software that hung for about a minute before showing me a lifetime’s worth of pictures? 5 seconds. Movie-making program which claimed 90 seconds from my life every time I clicked it? 7 seconds.

To say it’s an improvement would be a gross understatement.

The issue with all this newfound speed? I began to think. Yes, that is a reason for concern.

How can we apply SSD performance boosts to our business, or to our credit union clients? Since I’m told strapping jet engines on the CEOs is an overstep of our partnerships, thoughts turned to processes and procedures. An SSD is so fast because it has no moving parts…no section waits for another to finish. Well, I’m sure it’s not the case at your institution, but we have found a few which have many, many moving parts. One task can hold up all the others. And your drive, ahem, I mean, your credit union, grinds to a halt. The squeaky wheel may get the grease, but wouldn’t it be better to run with no wheels at all?

I’m thinking hoverboards.

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