Raising the Bar on Partnerships

Posted by Greg Michlig Tuesday, April 29, 2014 9:16:00 AM

As I was reviewing the most recent PSG Newsletter, I reflected on the many conversations I’ve had with both credit union leaders and executives of the various business entities we work with here in New Jersey since my arrival nearly one year ago. These types of conversations aren’t new to me. Of the 19 years I’ve spent in the credit union movement, 100% of them have involved interaction with or employment as a supplier to credit unions. I have sat across the desk from credit union CEOs and executives hundreds of times, discussing value proposition, service level expectations, corporate philosophy, and impact on the bottom line. Those discussions have been extremely valuable in shaping my perception of the business environment in and around the movement.

As chairman of Professional Services Group (PSG) of New Jersey, I have taken time to understand and evaluate the structure of our business partner relationships, the delivery of our partners’ messages and, in some cases, the products we directly administer through the organization. There are many positives, yet evolution is essential in the fast-paced environment in which we operate.

Internally, we are working on process improvements to be certain you understand the “whys” related to which business partners have been selected. Of course some of those reasons are (or should be) fairly obvious, such as being the nation’s largest credit union-owned, surcharge-free ATM network; having a long history of success with credit unions and being recognized as Barron’s #1 Financial Advisor in New Jersey; being founded by credit union pioneers and partnering in the success of the movement on all fronts for over 75 years; partnering directly with PSG and the New Jersey Credit Union League to launch innovative new lending channels; or providing access to national and international brands that offer discounted services directly to credit union members.

Other reasons may not be so obvious, and that is where I see room for improvement. As we move forward, it is my intent to have PSG provide more information on the strengths of our business partners, allowing you to get a jump-start on your due diligence in what has become an ongoing vendor evaluation process.

We will also be asking for more involvement from you. Whether through technology or in-person conversations, we have increased and will continue to provide channels to further increase the opportunity for you to provide feedback on new business lines, as well as existing and prospective business partners. While we fully intend to continue to bring new ideas forward, your voice in vetting those and providing additional ideas is essential. That is how, as an aggregator, PSG can best serve your credit unions and members.

Expect more on this topic in the second half of the year, as we work on raising the bar on our efforts in this area. I understand how important strong, trusted business partnerships are to your operations and place our responsibility to serve the affiliated credit unions of this state as a resource in this regard very high.

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