The CEO of Martin Federal Credit Union discusses his strategy for growth in a down economy: invest in the future.
Martin Federal Credit Union has responded to the current economic situation in several ways. We have cut expenses in operations and staff, increased our marketing in loans, cut dividends to slow deposit growth, added electronic services and moved forward to complete a new service center.
The economic crisis hit when we were in the middle of a data processing conversion. Commitments were made, contracts were signed, staff was in place, so there was no turning back. The process put an extraordinary strain on everything from our bottom line to our board’s resolve. But, in the end it was the right thing to do…invest in our future.
Commitment to a Physical Presence
Our second biggest commitment was to complete the new branch, even though the expense put even more pressure on our bottom line. Our thinking was that we will come out of this recession and Martin needs to be in a position to serve our existing and new members without playing catch-up. The new branch makes a statement to our strength and commitment to expand our brand in Orange County. It will formally open in early November.
Enhanced Electronic Services
Our second big enhancement during this period was to implement a series of electronic services that includes mobile banking and personal and small business checking analytical tools. These services have allowed us to grow into the Gen X and Gen Y demographics by investing in technology proven to attract and retain this group. We have had remarkable success with little advertising early on and with our July newsletter featuring these services, we have seen spikes in the number of members signing up for the products and increased transaction volume.
Community Outreach & Targeted Marketing
Although the marketing budget was not increased, we have redirected where the marketing dollars are spent. Martin is experiencing a significant drop in loan volume, especially new and used cars. We have committed to continue community outreach programs and marketing, but have reduced generic brand marketing in favor of focusing on creating loan demand in our historically strong areas.
These are the actions Martin has taken to get us through this uncertain period. Has it all paid off? Talk to me in a year. But, we feel it all had to be done in insure that Martin is a player in the Central Florida market when the dust settles.
Bob Beskovoyne is the president/CEO of Martin Federal Credit Union since 1992, a credit union with $120M in assets that has added several technological advances and e-services. Martin has received a community charter and has service centers throughout Orange County.
Bob is a Pennsylvania native and a Penn State graduate who started his credit union career in 1976 at HUD Federal Credit Union in Washington, D.C. Before becoming president/CEO of Martin FCU he worked for two other credit unions, including five years as president of Central Florida HealthCare FCU in Orlando. He has also worked for two credit unions associations; the Pennsylvania and the Florida Credit Union Leagues.
Bob served on the board of the Florida Credit Union League and was its chairman from 1999 to 2001.