Name: TruChoice Federal Credit Union
Assets: $119.3 million
Location: South Portland, Maine
Category: Process Improvement
Nominated by: TruChoice Federal Credit Union

South Portland, Maine-based TruChoice Federal Credit Union implemented a centralized approach to ensuring process improvement and internal efficiency with its THINK program. Carried out by the CU’s staff, known as TruCrew, THINK is an acronym for for:

· Take it to the Next Level: We want to go the extra mile to make things work better.
· Hours & Money: Does it make “cents?”
· Inquiry + Ideas= Innovation: We are the drivers of our success, not passengers!
· Not Your Grandma’s Processes: We want to succeed tomorrow, not just today.
· Keep An Open Mind: We embrace change as a vehicle toward progress.

With no budget, the TruCrew accepted ideas from all areas of the organization.

The TruCHOICE FCU THINK Team.
The TruCHOICE FCU THINK Team.

“We’ve seen teammates from different departments work together to identify a hurdle, brainstorm solutions and put in place a change that has immediate and lasting positive impact on both employees and members,” Ken Acker, TruChoice FCU CEO, said in a statement. “THINK has enabled us to take our brand promise of Bank Simply to another level. I’m amazed everyday by what our team brings to the table in their dedication and commitment to TruChoice and our members.”

The ideas that have been implemented have included getting rid of loan forms that were no longer needed, updating and expanding its lending auto decisioning parameters, purging inactive accounts, removing extra employee tokens and licenses from some software programs and re-deploying under-utilized ATMs.

“The team really focused on looking at their jobs with new eyes – not doing things a certain way just because it was how we’d always done it – and reviewing contract terms to ensure that what we pay for and what we need are the same things,” Acker said.

With more than 200 ideas submitted, THINK has resulted in annual savings of $116,845, approximately 70 percent of which is in recurring expenses and 755 hours of work saved per year.

“We want employees to just be curious and to explore,” said Lisa Rowley, TruChoice FCU information technology manager. “If you have something that seems like your grandma’s process, question why … It’s a really easy way to identify inefficiencies.”

Those efforts earned TruChoice FCU a 2017 Best Practices Award from Credit Union Journal.

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