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Bringing Partnership to Life

How State National’s Client Advisory Council Creates a Virtuous Circle

 

At State National, client experience is the foundation of everything we do. We don’t see our client relationships as static; each one is dynamic and evolving as a living, breathing entity. And it’s vital that we prioritize and nurture our client partnerships as we do with the other foundational pillars of our company. One of the most effective ways we do this is to collaborate with our clients. We talk to our clients, we ask them what they want, and we include them when crafting our business strategies.

 

We have always considered actively getting feedback from our clients as an integral and critical part of our strategic planning. It’s why we conduct our Annual Survey of Service Quality as well as other surveys measuring other aspects of our service delivery. Our #1 goal is to help our business partners succeed, so finding out what they want and need, and how we can better provide it to them, is always top of mind.

Taking the Quest for Feedback to the Next Level

In 2018, we went a step further and created the State National Client Advisory Council (CAC) to convene a group of some of our top clients to discuss issues that are critically important to them and to us. It’s a forum to share information, gain consensus on key topics, and collaborate with peers and partners to creatively pursue problem-solving strategies and growth opportunities for their institutions

CAC Mission

As I said in my last CAC blog, our intention in establishing the State National CAC was, and still is, to listen carefully to the voices and concerns of our clients, foster an atmosphere where collaborative insights can emerge, and allow our strategy and product development to be guided by those who will actually be using it every day.

CAC collage 5

 

Specifically Designed to Add Value — For All

Yes, the CAC is of great benefit to State National, because it gives us opportunities to deepen relationships with some of our closest partners, and align our organization more precisely with our clients’ perspectives. We get to hear both what’s working well as well as challenges they’re facing, not only in our area of expertise, but in all areas of their institution. As we’ve been known to say a time or two, we’re successful when our clients are successful — so anything we can contribute to help them grow and succeed ultimately contributes to our own success as a company.

But it’s definitely not all about us! Our council was created with a true desire to provide members with tangible, real-world benefits that not only make it more than worth their time but also add tremendous value they don’t get from any other partner. But don’t take it from us — here’s what some of our current CAC members have to say:

Mike Shockley
“By having open conversations about what’s going on in the marketplace with other credit unions who are going through the same things, I’m able to learn how others are attacking certain problems and I’ve absolutely taken some things back to my credit union and implemented them.”
~ Mike Shockley, VP of Lending, True Sky Credit Union, Oklahoma City, OK

John Cotner

“It’s great to talk about emerging technologies or other ideas we can bring back to our specific credit unions and share with our leadership team — ideas we might otherwise not have been exposed to. The volume of information at a very high level that someone can obtain by joining the CAC is wonderful."
~ John Cotner, VP Lending, Horizon Credit Union, Boise, ID

James Bolin

“When it comes to topics like innovation and technology and AI, I think I've learned more from the CAC than I have by going to conferences and things like that, because you can really have more intimate conversations with your peers at the council, and State National does a great job of bringing in great presenters that really position the topics well, so it's easily understood as we're reviewing certain new innovations.”
~ James Bolin, SVP & CMEO, Silver State Schools Credit Union, Las Vegas, NV

Steve McIntire

“One of the benefits of being on the CAC is not only meeting some of the participants from different parts of the country and having discussions, but I have also been able to take away two specific strategic business initiatives that directly impact the credit union that came about through my participation on the CAC, including one that is a multi-year strategic initiative.”
~ Steve McIntire, SVP, Enterprise Risk & General Counsel, SELCO Community Credit Union, Eugene, OR

Karen Hoeppner

State National is a great partner. I'm glad they asked me to join the CAC because it gives me an opportunity to keep that partnership active and very vibrant. And I enjoy the fact that I get to see what State National is doing and what’s on their horizon and how it’s going to benefit not only my credit union, but the credit union industry. So it’s been really awesome.”
~ Karen Hoeppner, Chief Lending Officer, My Credit Union, Minneapolis, MN

A Real-World Example of CAC Value

The council’s 3rd quarter 2021 meeting provides an illustration of the tangible benefits of this ongoing collaborative sharing of ideas and insights. The council met in August in Irvine, California, headquarters of Filene Research Institute. Filene is an integral thought leadership partner for State National, and that partnership further extends directly to our CAC members.

filene-logo

The business portion of the event was held at Filene’s innovative West Coast outpost. Dr. Bill Maurer, professor at UC Irvine, Director at the Institute for Money, Technology, and Financial Inclusion, and research fellow at Filene’s Center of Excellence in Emerging Technology, conducted a working session called “The Pandemic as Practice for a Less-Predictable Future.”

Group discussion led to shared best practices on how credit unions can automate communication regarding the notice cycle, which improves their member perception of CPI. Participants also explored other risk mitigation strategies credit union peers are using and how they are approaching risk mitigation overall in light of the uncertainty and turbulence caused by the pandemic and other economic shifts.

Relevant, Actionable Insights

Following Dr. Maurer’s presentation and discussion, CAC members and SNC directors formed working groups to discuss business challenges related to highly relevant credit union hot topics, including data governance, AI implementation, and digital automation, including mobile.

After a lively conversation and sharing of experiences, each working group was tasked with conducting further collaborative research into their group’s subject area. With their curiosity sparked, CAC members made plans to dive in together to produce real-world insights they can share with other decision-makers in their credit union. The groups will also present their findings at the Q4 CAC meeting in November.

Personal Connections

When the day’s work was over, members joined State National representatives for an enjoyable and relaxing evening outing. After the mental stimulation provided by the day’s deep dive into important credit union topics, it was nice to move to a casual setting on the water and interact on a more personal level, while enjoying excellent conversation and lots of laughter.

Then, the next day, it was time to head back to their credit union homes, bringing knowledge, insights, advice, and inspiration with them as they work on their findings and look for openings within their institutions to leverage what they’ve learned.

Discover More

Are you a curious credit union professional, always looking to grow and give back to your organization? Do you enjoy bouncing ideas off like-minded people in your industry and get a little thrill when you see these synergies expand what’s possible for you and for them? Are you a believer in true connection with those you work with and mutually beneficial partnerships with your service providers? Contact Heather Clyde, State National’s Client Advisory Council Program Manager, at HClyde@StateNational.com to explore the possibility of council membership.

SN CAC 2020 logo

“The CAC has exceeded my expectations. On a fun note, the group is great. My colleagues on the CAC and the staff at State National are all very enjoyable and very professional. State National does a wonderful job of putting the events together. They’re well thought out, well organized. I think it’s a great two-way relationship, the CAC. I think we’re benefiting State National, and they are certainly benefiting us.” ~ John Cotner, Horizon CU

 

“State National has always considered our clients as more than just clients — we truly do see each and every one of these connections as an authentic partnership. Our goal for client relationships is always more than transactional; we’re always going for a win-win situation and strive to evolve all of these partnerships to serve the long-term strategic business goals for both parties. Our CAC is growing to be a vital component of State National’s overall corporate strategy, and it’s very gratifying to see that it is already helping to serve the long-term strategic interests of our CAC members and their credit unions.” ~ Heather Clyde, Client Advisory Council Program Manager

CAC Q4 2021

 

Heather Clyde
Heather Clyde
As Content Marketing Manager at State National, Heather Clyde is an experienced digital marketer heading up SNC's marketing content team. From inbound and outbound communication, media management and SEO, to complete content strategy, Heather and her team are the ones making it happen. Heather is also the Program Manager of State National's Client Advisory Council.

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Amazing Things Happen When Female Executives Get Together

State National's Retreat Where Female Finance Executives Go to Network and Learn A 2021 report from CUNA indicated that 51% of CEOs at credit unions and 33% of credit union board members are female. Many organizations speak at length about the value of empowering and providing opportunities to women — yet this recognition must be met with action. For example, Kim Sponem, CEO of Summit Credit Union, took action by starting The Red Shoes initiative. Filene Research Institute actively creates research reports about women in credit union leadership. These are just two of many examples across the credit union industry. Missions like these are an important part of transforming the narrative of women and finance. State National Companies also recognizes the unique leadership traits and skillsets that female leaders bring to the financial services industry. To celebrate those traits and provide women leaders from across the country the opportunity to build relationships with their peers, we created our own initiative — an annual event called the Female Executive Networking (FEN) Retreat.   Why a Retreat Specifically for Female Executives? The goal of this annual retreat is multifold: Provide valuable, meaningful, and actionable education, information, and resources to senior credit unions and financial institutions executives that they can use to move their organizations forward. Create a forum for financial institution leaders from across the country to share best practices regarding leadership, retention, business growth, and operational excellence. Provide a rich and rewarding experience that organically allows connections and relationships to grow. Empower and inspire attendees to return to their financial institutions re-energized, with new ideas for accelerating the growth of their organizations. With these goals in mind, we launched our first FEN retreat in early 2020. And, oh, how critical it was for the female leaders who participated in this first event to achieve these goals — because at the time we didn’t realize were heading home to nearly two years of quarantine and isolation! A Most Welcome Return In 2021, after waiting 18 months from our launch date, we were more than eager to resume some sense of normalcy and held our second FEN Retreat. That year’s event featured Terri Trespicio, speaker, coach, and best-selling author of Unfollow Your Passion, as our keynote speaker and workshop leader. This year, our 2022 keynote workshop, titled How Macroeconomic Conditions Will Affect Your Financial Institution, Your Customers, and Your Household, was led by Marlena Lee, Ph.D., Global Head of Investment Solutions at Dimensional Fund Advisors, and Mary Ellen Krueger, Director, Wealth Management and Partner at Aspiriant. Not only are these FEN retreats educational, inspirational, and just plain fun, we at State National are also proud of being a part of the movement to empower even more women to lead in moving the credit union mission forward. After all, studies show that more female executives in a C-suite role can improve both customer orientation and financial performance. That’s a win-win-win — for credit unions, for their members, and for women in financial leadership. If you are interested in learning more about State National’s Female Executive Networking retreat, please contact your State National Client Executive or Regional Vice President.   Comments from FEN attendees:

With Custom QR Codes, It’s Now Even Easier for Your Borrowers to Upload Their Insurance!

State National brings back QR codes — now new and improved!   When was the last time you scanned a Quick Response (QR) code? Was it on a restaurant menu, on a real-estate sign, or maybe to access a form? The reliable QR code has now become a part of our daily life. In our mobile-first technology era, QR codes are back, giving consumers instant access anywhere to the targeted information you want to provide them. There is no need to keep pamphlets in stock or worry about your customers going to the wrong website when scrolling past noisy ads on search engines. While State National has offered our clients the ability to have QR codes on their borrower notices before, there was not a real demand for them until the recent increase in use sparked by the pandemic. With increased consumer receptiveness to these abstract squares and State National’s dedication to constant improvement, we are harnessing the power of QR codes again — adding on improved customizations that make it even easier for borrowers to submit their insurance when they take out a new loan or have a lapse in coverage. "We appreciate having a good vendor partner that understands your needs sometimes before you even know you have a need. State National is always looking for ways to make things better for your staff as well as your leadership.” – JAX Federal Credit Union QR Codes for Borrower Notices Borrowers can scan their personalized QR code on their mailed paper notice and be directed straight to their personal account on MyLoanInsurance.com. On this borrower-friendly site they can view their insurance status and easily provide updated proof of insurance. Since the QR code on each borrower’s notice is specific to them, no reference ID or PIN is needed, and the webpage will automatically populate with their name and vehicle type. A helpful short video applicable to their particular situation will instruct them on exactly what they need to provide to resolve their specific impairment. And finally, the site will also show them how to easily upload and submit their information. Our borrower-specific QR codes personalize the website borrowers are directed to, including details such as informing them if the lien holder is missing or if their deductible is too high.   QR Codes for Lenders Lender custom QR codes are another way we provide total access and empower your borrowers to easily update their insurance with us before they even enter our notice cycle. These institution-specific lender QR codes can be used anywhere you choose, including your website, lender agreement, and loan closing documents. Borrowers who scan your custom lender code are directed to a MyLoanInsurance.com page branded with your financial institution’s name and logo. From here, borrowers can upload insurance even if they do not know their access PIN.   Pro Tip: Add Your Lender QR Code to Your Lender Agreement to Prompt New Borrowers to Submit Their Insurance We encourage you to add your custom QR code in your new loan packet and actively point it out to borrowers when they take out a vehicle or home loan. Let your borrowers know they can scan that QR code to quickly and easily provide their insurance details. The visual effect of having the QR code on the agreement packet reminds the borrower to take action, and as soon as the website pops up, it tells them exactly what they need to do to update their insurance. MyLoanInsurance.com is accessible 24/7, so borrowers with missing information or a lapse in coverage can update their insurance at any time, at their convenience.   Scan Here for an Example of a Lender QR Code Leading by Always Improving Since 1973, State National has been dedicated to a culture of continuous improvement. We are proud to be the technology leader in our industry, and are consistently evolving to make portfolio protection easier, faster, and more user-friendly for your borrowers and your staff. We are glad to provide our lenders with these customized QR codes as the latest feature to make the process even more seamless and convenient. Borrower QR codes are already actively employed on all mailed notifications. To find out more about getting your own customized lender QR code, contact your Client Executive today!

Tackling Inflation and the Auto Industry Part 2: Maintaining Your Competitive Edge

Inflation is squeezing businesses and consumers alike. Perhaps the easiest industry in which to spot the consequences of financial stress is the automotive industry. How can you maintain a competitive advantage while also protecting your portfolio in this market? Read on to find out.   Spotlight Soundbite: Maintaining Your Competitive Edge During Auto Industry Inflation   Consumers Are Facing Post-Pandemic Financial Stress The government’s stimulus checks have long run out, as have the grace periods many financial institutions implemented at the beginning of the pandemic. Many individuals have returned to work and are again bearing the costs of gas, transportation, childcare, and other employment-related expenses. With many Americans increasingly financially strapped, what does this mean for lenders? Unfortunately, prices are soaring and may continue to rise. We know that those directly impacted by inflation (which is all lower- to middle-class Americans) alter their consumption, investment choices, and spending habits as their purchasing power decreases. Something has to give as many consumers struggle to make ends meet. Unfortunately, many may choose to scale back on or even cancel their auto insurance as a result. In addition, consumer debt-to-income ratio is expected to increase. As borrowers take out large auto loans, particularly on used cars, they will be stuck with these loans even if the value of the item purchased decreases long-term — potentially putting borrowers upside down on their loans, with a vehicle worth considerably less than what they still owe in the future.   Revenue Lost in Charge-offs What does this mean for financial institutions? Unfortunately, this financial stress being felt by consumers also increases risk in a lender’s loan portfolio. As financial institutions are providing loans for vehicles with a hyper-inflated value, it’s likely they will see an increase in bad debt as those loans start to default to historic norms and possibly higher. Without proper risk mitigation measures in place, if the collateral sustains damage or loss when a borrower is uninsured or underinsured, the financial institution making the loan can also find itself “upside down,” so to speak, with the claims amount received insufficient to cover its exposure. Not all is lost, however — financial institutions with a high-quality portfolio protection insurance program will experience relief from a significant amount of this bad debt. Not only will this critical protection keep your borrowers covered, it will also safeguard your balance sheet.   Insurance Tracking Also Helps Lenders Manage Risk In addition to the protection provided by the insurance coverage, lenders can also use the detailed borrower insurance tracking in the program to assess and mitigate risk. High-quality, real-time tracking allows lenders to leverage knowledge of a borrower’s lack of coverage as an indicator of when a loan may be at a higher risk of default. This early warning sign provides an opportunity to initiate preventive steps to work with those borrowers to avoid collections, as well as take proactive measures to step up early collections efforts.   How a Program with State National Tackle Inflationary Hardships We can help as you are undergoing a double squeeze from tighter net interest margins. In addition to decreasing your charge-offs, here are a few of the relevant ways our program supports you no matter the storm. Our partners have full transparency and access to immediate real-time data with InsurTrak, the industry’s only system built from scratch specifically for CPI. It’s your single sign-on source of truth for insurance tracking, claims, and reporting, resulting in maximum ease, speed, and transparency. With your loan portfolio data at your fingertips, accessible instantly all in one place, it's easy and quick to identify trends and potentially at-risk borrowers. Our internal infrastructure is supported by our parent company Markel, a $33 billion Fortune 500 company, which has been proudly rated “A” (Excellent) by AM Best for many decades and is regarded as an industry leader. Our combined tenure, strength, and expertise translate to unmatched peace of mind and security for our partners. Our Claims Advisory Recovery Services (CARS) boosts your bottom line by mitigating your auto portfolio losses, reducing your internal expenses, and giving you more time to spend servicing your borrowers. With CARS, we manage repossessed collateral and remarketing profitability at auctions for you while also maximizing settlements from outside insurance claims and recovering suspected skips. All of this combined with State National’s culture of continuous improvement for the past half century, unwavering commitment to investment in technology, and unsurpassed service delivery ensures we can best serve our partners in both good times and challenging times, and we can help your business weather any economic storm.   Practical Solutions for Mitigating Portfolio Risks State National's Client Advisory Council (CAC) recently discussed some practical steps their credit unions are taking for creating alternative revenue methods. Even in the face of rising inflation and decreased lending demand, there are still many ways credit unions can grow while serving their members well.     For more information on how our solutions can help your credit union, contact us! To read the first article in this SNC Spotlight series, Tackling Inflation and the Auto Industry, visit: Protecting Your Credit Union from Car Market Volatility