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Goal: Boost bottom line but not members’ debt levels

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Credit union: Advantage One Credit Union
Assets: $142 million
Location: Brownstown, Mich.
Category: Sales & Service
Nominated by: cuStrategies

With a two-pronged approach, Advantage One Credit Union has helped members manage their financial well-being and gain access to low-interest loans, all while growing the credit union’s bottom line.

“We are not in the business of adding more debt to people who come to us,” said Advantage One CEO Chris Corkery. “We are looking for ways to lower their monthly payments on loans they have with other financial institutions and help them reduce their debt.”

To help achieve this overarching goal, the $142 million, Brownstown, Mich.-based credit union partnered with the Montgomery, Ala.-based cuStrategies.

“Advantage One Credit Union has done an outstanding job of creating a strong sales and service culture by effectively executing and implementing all the moving parts of our programs and strategies in a holistic and timely manner,” said cuStrategies CEO Celeste Cook. “One of the major factors that contributed to their success was accountability.”

As a result of the new lending program, the credit union experienced 26 percent loan growth in 2015 and over 20 percent loan growth in 2016 with its ROA increasing during that timeframe, noted Corkery.

“We have partnered with members and people in our communities to help them achieve financial freedom by helping them increase their credit scores and lower their monthly payments on loans with other financial institutions,” he said. “Our program has saved our members hundreds of thousands of dollars in interest and we’re proud to have over 2,000 success stories.”

Among those success stories was one member whose credit score spiked from 482 to 702 in just four months. Due to the increased credit score, Corkery said the member was able to buy a “newer, more reliable vehicle” with a lower payment.

“Our staff are so engaged and are being rewarded for helping our members,” said Corkery. “We could not be more pleased with the experiences we are creating for our members and the results we are seeing in our growth.”

To keep up with demand and reach more potential members, Advantage One CU recently created a business development position and implemented cuStrategies’ “Business Development” program. “The return on investment showed us that we made the right decision partnering with cuStrategies to help us achieve our vision,” said Corkery.

Those efforts have earned Advantage One a 2017 Best Practices Award from Credit Union Journal.

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