Banking on Digital Growth
Banking on Digital Growth

Episode · 1 year ago

48) #DigitalGrowthJourneys: Building a Bigger, Better, and Brighter Future w/ Mina Worthington


Are you stuck in the cave of complacency? It may feel safe and secure. But it's a deadly place to hide especially given the exponential factors we're dealing with in this new, post-COVID world. No matter what happens in the world, you have to keep making progress along your digital growth journey.

In this episode of Banking on Digital Growth, I talk with Mina Worthington, President/CEO at Solarity Credit Union, about building a bigger, better, and brighter future in banking.

Mina and I discuss:

  • How vision sets the tone for any financial brand on a digital journey
  • Mastering the lead conversion ecosystem
  • The way to get results without spending a fortune on digital marketing strategies

You can find this interview, and many more, by subscribing to Banking on Digital Growth on Apple Podcasts, on Spotify, or here.

...when disruption happens, great change.Innovation happens more even quickly. You're listening to banking on digitalgrowth with James Robert Ley Ah, podcast that empowers financial brandmarketing, sales and leadership teams to maximize their digital growthpotential by generating 10 times more loans and deposits. Today's episode ispart of the digital growth Journeys Siri's, where James Robert uncovers andExplorers some of the industry's biggest digital marketing and salesstories of success. Let's get into the show Greetings in Hello, I Am JamesRobert Ley and welcome to another episode of the Banking on digitalgrowth podcast. Today's episode is part of the digital growth journey. Siri'sand I'm excited to welcome Meena Worthington to the show. Mina is thepresident and CEO of Celerity Credit Union. Hello, Meena. Hello. It is goodto have you here today. As always, I like to start these conversations offon a positive note. What is exciting for you right now, whether it bepersonally or professionally to something that has you feeling good,you know, there's several things to be honest with you, and you would think insort of the state of the world. Right now, there's not a lot to be excitedabout, but I actually see a lot of opportunity in the disruption. So Ithink the thing that I'm most excited about is that when disruption happens,great change, innovation happens more even quickly. So I'm really excitedabout that. E. I get that perspective when disruption happens. It's anaccelerant for change. It's so easy to get stuck in the cave of complacencybecause it's safe. It's secure. But complacency can be deadly, particularlywith the exponential factors that we're dealing with in this kind of new postCovad world. And that's one of the things that you know watching you andyour team from afar. Over the years, you've continued to make progress alongyour digital growth journey. As you noted when we were just doing the preinterview, it is a journey, and it's something that takes time. But there'ssomething that has given you at least a sense of focus, a sense of purposeyourself, the credit union, and that's your vision. Can you unpack that?Because I think this sets the tone for any financial brand on a digitaljourney. Yeah, so the vision is everyone has a place of their own tocall home. And while Celerity does do a lot of home loan lending, home hererefers more to a feeling and emotion. We've all been spending a lot of timeat home lately, given this unprecedented environment that we're in.And one of the positive things that I've heard over and over again frompeople is that they have been forced to sort of spend more time at home to takeit down a notch. Thio enjoy their home environment to make improvements ontheir home. They've had the time and the energy to do that and that, youknow, actually, being at home with our family and working on the house andmaking that even more comfortable for ourselves is not such a bad thing afterall. So you know life is busy and messy and unpredictable, and and we wannamake at celebrity conducting financial transactions as seamless as possiblefor for our members so that they can spend more time doing the things thatthey love with the people that they love in their homes. I'm right therewith you, spending time at home, spending time with the family, my wife,four kids. She's talking about putting a pulling this summer. So because she'slike if we're gonna be here, we might as well enjoy it and do some of thethings that were like, I don't know, Are we going to stay or we're gonnamove because it's just one of them. So I got a lot of connection with that,and I think you you hit on something. It's about the emotion I find that is,uh, it's sometimes a new area of conflict when talking with otherfinancial brand leaders because, like they don't necessarily want to leaninto that emotive feeling when it comes toe money and finances number one as afollow up. Why do you feel that is from...

...your sense of the world because you'realready doing it? Number two. What could be done? Or what could yourecommend to those who might be a limit little timid about leaning into emotionof money? Well, I think that we've been tellingourselves for a long time that that our products and services are commoditiesand that we've been differentiating for a long time now on price, and I thinkthat the world has changed and consumers expectations has changed. Youknow, it's not a These are the products and services we offer at the pricesthat we offer, and now you choose between mind and the one down thestreet. Now it's about where can I do business that my values resonate withthe values of the organization? Where can I do business where I feel like Ihave value? Or that I'm I'm valued and I get value in return? And And that'snot about price, right? And so, um, I think the consumer mindset has changeda lot and that we used to say, Oh, we need to have, you know, competitivepricing and good service Service isn't isn't the key anymore. Experience isnow the key. And you know, that started changing with Starbucks a number ofyears ago, right? I mean, they made a $6 cup of coffee into an experience,and lo and behold, you know, look what they've done and I love what you'rethinking is with that, because academically, we define experience hereas well defined systems and processes that have been defined applied, and thesecret is to optimize those systems and processes over a period of time becauseone of two things is gonna happen. Ah, positive emotion or a negative emotion.And so Starbucks is a really good example of taking the commodity butbuilding a brand around experience, which in reality as a bunch of systemsand processes I think Disney is another great example of that that has taken atime. But they continued to make it better year after year after year. Andwe see that now with co vid the ability to really focus on a digital firstexperience. You know, one of the things that that you shared with me is achallenge or a roadblock that inspired you to take action. What was thatchallenge for you that you had to eliminate when it came to mastering thelead conversion ecosystem? Yeah, we have, uh, mastering the leadconversion ecosystem is is quite the journey. After all, we we've learnedthat to be able to produce quality home loan leads our quality home loans,rather from the leads that we generated took the entire ecosystem and thatdoing business digitally against some of the biggest digital players, likerocket mortgage and better mortgage, takes a very sort of niche approach,right and so originated home loans digitally with any scale, starts withthe seamless experience. That is a simple search that ends with a memberwho is completely satisfied, closed alone and is willing to refer theirfriends and family s Oh, it's very much still a work in process for us. We haveyet to overcome it entirely, and we certainly have not mastered it. We dothink it is definitely a literate process, but you know, it's an exampleone of the major projects will work on that has been a pivot with Cove. It isthis closing eso now all across the country. We've got legislation passedthat's allowing us to actually do the notary, you know, the E vault andactually go through the entire mortgage loan closing process. Elektronik Lee.And so we're really jumping on that opportunity to make those experienceshappened from members, and they're they're loving it. There were doing ahybrid approach right now because we're not fully implemented, but they're evenloving our hybrid approach, their loving, the signing, the documentselectronically. They're loving the fact that the loan officer gets on the phonewith them ahead of time and explains it to them that when they come into thefacility to sign the documents that still Rick wire a wet signature, youknow that we're very being very cautious and careful about their thecleanliness and their safety. But it's really been a great catalyst for areally complicated transaction, a mortgage loan. Just imagine the othertypes of transactions that we do in financial services that this could be acatalyst for, you know, having them...

...happen electronically. History. Andthis is a proving ground. This is almost like considered a pilot programwhere covert was a forcing function toe. I think a lot of financial brands likeYeah, that could be on the road map. But it's like no, like like we wereable to, for example, go remote, bring in some of these new technologies,these new systems and now you're right. What happens when we pilot it on justthis one product line and they can extend that type of thinking, transferthat knowledge over into the other product lines, and that's atransformative experience both for the credit union, but also for the peoplethat you're serving because it's helping make their lives. Even thatmuch better than they were before. You talk to hear a bit of Ah, we'll call ita learning lesson. When it comes to your digital growth journey and it'saround, you can spend a lot of money with very little result. I think thisis one that I'd love to hear what you say, because I see this all the time atfinancial brands specifically on the marketing side. I'd love to get intoyour head with this for a moment. Oh, yeah. You know, when this was firstwhen digital marketing was first introduced to me by our marketing team,Um, you know, for no. Well, gosh, I'm gonna say 78 years ago now it was justthis new thing, and then we're gonna do this and we're gonna do this, you know,Google searches and you know where that it was S E O. And S E M. I think wasprobably extent of what the acronyms were at that point. And I said, Well,what? You know why for what's what's gonna be the result, right? And, youknow, during the headlights. So, you know, we kind of ventured into thisattempting to create this this ecosystem in this funnel, Andi ended upspending a lot of money with very little result. The level of Brokennesswas really allow me to use the word Brokenness was really revealed to mewhen we implemented our CRM sells force. And once we got the visibility intothis, the ecosystem that sells force provided I found that the major gap wasactually at the top of the funnel where we seem to be able to attract leads.But we were not unable to attract the right leads and therefore they didn'tlead to convert loan conversions. And so the amount of money you can spend ingeneral please, could be massive. And unless some decent portion of themcould convert too closely and you're totally wasting your money. So yeah, Imean, if I had to do it over again, honestly, what I would do is I would Iwould hire internally somebody with a proven track record, which probablydidn't exist much seven or eight years ago, but does now that z other thing is,if you're just now getting into this and getting serious about it, there arepeople out there who know what they're doing and and hire them. Hire thosepeople. They at least need Thio Have somebody internally. He knows how toemanage the external vendors that you also using the process. I agree 100%. Ican tell you the dozens of times that we have gone in and have diagnosed offinancial brands, digital marketing efforts and they're working with athird party, and there's nothing wrong with that. But if you don't have thatcore competency internally to at least oversight, you're in a big risk for,you know, getting sold. Hey, well, we get you this much audience reach, andwe got you this many clicks and we Okay, great. Well, how many conversions andout of that how how many conversions did we pull through and actually fundand why did we not fund them? So I think on the flip side of the equation,though, if you have that and you you touched on this, it wasn't all failurebecause you were able to realize where the Brokenness waas and then takeaction to fix. How can you transform that conversation? Because I've seenother the flip side of the equation like, Oh, we've dabbled in digital thisstuff. We've done these ads, but it just didn't work. And you know what?We're not going to do it and again, and they look at it as a negativeexperience and not a learning experience. How do you transform thatconversation for another leader? You know, I'm just going to say that thefuture business is a digital business and that you're gonna have to pay sometuition to figure out how to run that digital business. And that's the costof doing business. Is the tuition you pay to figure that stuff out andrunning back to the old way is not going to move your organization intothe future the way it needs to be moved.

Technology has transformed our world,and digital has changed the way consumers shop for and buy financialservices forever. Now, consumers make purchase decisions long before theywalk into a branch if they walk into a branch at all. But your financial brandstill wants to grow loans and deposits. We get it. Digital growth can feelconfusing, frustrating and overwhelming for any financial brand marketing andsales leader. But it doesn't have thio because James Robert wrote the bookthat guides you every step of the way along your digital growth journey.Visit www dot digital growth dot com to get a preview of his best selling book,Banking on Digital Growth, or order a copy right Now for you and your teamfrom Amazon. Inside you'll find a strategic marketing manifesto that waswritten to transform financial brands, and it is packed full of practical andproven insights you can start using today to confidently generate 10 timesmore loans and deposits. Now back to the show. Don't go back into the Caveof Complacency. Have the courage to continue to venture out, knowing thatthey're gonna be some lessons you learn. And I love that. It's just the tuitionthat we have to pay to gain the capability and competency and theconfidence even s so that we can continue forward with courage. You knowso much is changing. It's happening faster and faster. You talked about theacronym of the Alphabet soup of S, E. O and ECM and PPC, and now it just It'slike every we got marketing automation and CRM. It's just every every month.It seems like there's something new that we could do. But you shared that.There's a trait for yourself and others on your team that have been almost anexponential factor. It's just one word. It's focus. Talk to me about how do youtone down all of the digital noise and all of the digital distraction to helpyou gain clarity to focus on just a few things. But be the best at those fewthings, right? Um, you know, first, I think you have Thio create sort of thatcompelling vision around that one thing that the why that engages your teamemotionally and gets them behind the effort. So there are a lot of thingsgoing on, and there are a lot of things that we could be working on at anygiven time. We have had to make some hard choices, and I have had toe helpour board make some hard choices about how the Reese out finite resource isget spent, right, And one of the first things we had to do was to create thethe technological infrastructure to support the interfaces that we wantedfor the digital journeys and engagements. We had to create thetechnological support for how salesforce, right? We're able tointegrate sales worth with Scimitar, which is a very common creating newcore, and not a lot of other people have been able to do that. And so wejust put the focus on making sure theme underlying foundation of technology wasthere and all about that is all of that was done because of the compellingvision that we will falsely execute on these experiences for our members and adigital environ you mentioned. And you you almost brought it back to thebeginning of the conversation around vision or what we call here purpose.Purpose is at the heart of the digital growth blueprint, the model that weteach and advise around. Is it possible for a financial brand to make progresson their digital growth journey if they do not have that well defined vision,as you call it, or purposes we call it that's bought in throughout the entireorganization? Is that even? Can you skip that step? I'm just curious fromyour perspective, not from my perspective, because if you do, in fact,skip that on a digital journey, if you do, in fact skip the the vision and thepurpose creation and getting everybody sort of engaged emotionally on that.Then what you will end up doing is you will end up just sort of being whateverybody else is, which is a financial...

...institution that has a mobile bankingand online banking. And we can open accounts online and we can apply forcar loan online. And so what, You're what you're ultimately do it is yourMaintaining yourself is a financial institution that has has solutionsthrough technology. What I really think the future businesses is like a set offuture digital business, and that we need to more so think of ourselves as atechnology company that offers financial services versus the other wayaround. Because again the future of businesses is digital. I don't reallycare necessarily what it is we've. We've kind of convinced ourselves, Oh,well, commercial banking will ever get there because it's about relationship.I think it's a relationship. Is is it's still about relationship. I'm not. I'mnot discounting the relationship at all. It's just about how you have therelationship, what format you engage to have the relationship. What doescommunity mean when all of your members open their accounts online and do allof their transactions. With you, online community becomes something differentand still relationship. It's still community is just different. It's twosides of the equation of what we what I write about the book and I talked abouta lot, and it sounds like you're already thinking through its digitalexperience. Plus human experience and technology is nothing more than thetool, the catalyst to channel the medium into which we use to bring twopeople together for good, whether that be on the mortgage side, the consumerside community. Yet community has been redefined. It's not necessarily aphysical place with borders that almost might be more of like, ideological of,like do. And you mentioned this, like, do people believe in what we believe?And if so, that makes conducting business quote unquote just that muchmore simple on both sides of the equation. I wanna talk here, um, and itreally falls right in line with with where you've been on your journey,tying it back to vision, tying it back to purpose. But culture, the internal,the human side of the business, what has been your greatest win, our focusthere because you mentioned you must hire people who are technologycompetent and focused on technology. Is that easier said than done? You know, Idon't think that's hard. I think what's hard Thio do is really assess theirtheir depth of what they're telling you their depth of belief and what they'retelling you when they're interviewing with you. But I think it starts withwho you hire. Cultural always starts with who you hire right s. So if youhire people who are who understand that future businesses is a technologybusiness and you can prove that out to the interview process and then they'regonna buy into all of the of this huge cultural shifts that it takes to godigital. I've said for some time, and I don't I don't think it's my quote. AndI can remember who's quoted is but, you know, culture, each strategy forbreakfast, right? So you could have this fantastic digital strategy if youculturally cannot adapt to that digital strategy. If you go in and create adigital strategy for a client and they're not all bought in and they'regonna give up a soon as they see that they're not making money right away.You're gonna have a really hard time. So time and time again. Sure, sure. Andthe longer I live, the more it becomes visible. Becomes visible to me thatthis is this indeed culture. It's tragic for breakfast. So the shift, youknow, of a credit union becoming a technology company that offersfinancial services is, no doubt a huge cultural shift, this industry. And so Ithink, the first foundational pieces. Your people must believe that thefuture business is a digital business, and then you must communicate,communicate, communicate, communicate as the changes were made to adapt tothat new business. And once again, there's that cave of complacency comingback up in the conversation because I think my mind goes toe the fears andthe anxieties of those who are traditionally on the front line of this,the the M. S. R is the loan officers who are used to conducting that face toface business. People come into the branch, but that might not be the case.It doesn't mean that their role is obsolete. I think it actually has morevisibility because we can do it more efficiently conducted digital you'reseeing that post covert. Everyone's once again being forced to go into theremote, but it has to all come down to the alignment Digital first. I lovethat where a technology company that just happens to offer financialservices mean this has been such a...

...really, really good conversation. Iappreciate you sharing just a little bit about where you've been on yourjourney. I wanna look ahead into the future. Two years, you're in a reallygood place. But let's look back. What is one thing that has toe happen foryou to feel good about the continued progress that you make along yourdigital growth journey over the next 12, 18, 24 months? Well, we need to grow outside of ourcurrent markets. Eso so success to me. First foremost looks like, you know,we're succeeding in expanding into markets where our brand was previouslyunknown. That business is being conducted through those digitalchannels. I don't know yet where physical plays into that. I kind ofthink of physical as the new marketing expense. You know that potentiallythere needs to be some sort of physical location so that people feelcomfortable that if something goes wrong, there's there's there's a placeI could go on bringing neck because we're still talking about people'smoney and I do equate oftentimes financial services, the health care andthat everything is good and dandy until I have health care problem. Same thingwith financial services. Everything is fine until my money is missing and nowI'm not fine. So they need a sense of safety and security and potentiallyphysical places in and provides that I'm not quite sure where I stand onthat. But we need to be able to resonate with people online, and weneed to be able to have our brand resonate with them and to be able to dobusiness with us that way first and foremost and then provide the safetyand security of the physical location, which I think Long Depot is a goodexample. Somebody who's done that right. So, yeah, I think that that's gonna bethe one thing that that shows me that we can actually do this digital thingsuccessfully is that we're able to grow and expand without the classic hub andspoke branching model that financial services has has favorite for someonehere Yeah, I'm not completely down and out. I'm not as bullish is like, say,the Brett Kings of the world are you know, he wrote the book branch today,Gone Tomorrow. I'm Maybe it's a 500 square foot micro footprint that isalmost like a, uh, the quick er type of a perspective. It's just enough to goin, and you brought up uninterested point, the correlation between aperson's financial well being or finances and health care. Is there anopportunity to maybe down the road, start toe, consolidate the data that wehave and maybe branch in tow? I don't know some type of a hybrid betweenfinancial health and well being and physical health, and I don't know whatthat looks like, but it's something that's always in the back of my mind,my reading, my research, my writing, because to me it's we know theconnection between a person's financial well being and their physical wellbeing. We know the connection between a person's financial well being and theirmental well being. Is there an opportunity for that in the future offinancial services? Maybe not next year. Maybe it's five years. I don't know I'mjust future thinking once again with this next to to you know, I don't know. What I do know is thatunfortunately, a lot of times people aren't as concerned about their health.And until they, they're feeling the loss of their health, right, they'regoing to keep it in the hot Cheetos and drinking the beers until somethinghappens and they can't do that anymore, you know? And I feel like they're thesame way with financial service to sometimes that, you know, everything'sfine until there's a there's a financial trouble, right? So I don'tknow if, um, I don't know what connection there could be. One of thethings that I thought about, though in terms of the future for us would besome sort of a vaulting of information like think safe deposit box, right? Weusedto used to walk in the door, and you put all of your you put your healthrecords and your will and your this and your that. And then I feel like theremight be a way for financial institutions to use, um, the trust thatwe have and the technology that we have to maybe create sort of a center faultof information which could include your health records as an example, esothat's been where my mind is gone with. I would make a parallel in terms ofrecord keeping, an identity keeping and that sort of thing between health careand financial services. But in terms of helping people, you know, there's gottabe the willingness, you know, there and you know yes, I don't know. I don'tknow. The desire to change has to be...

...greater than the person's desire toremain the same and whatever that might be, whether it be financially, whetherit be physical well being so you know, you're you're you're 100% correct. It'sjust one of those things that e stay up at night. I think about the future andwhat the because that's kind of where I live is in the future and try to, like,transfer knowledge back into the present so that people just don't getstuck in this moment and we can keep moving forward and elevate this entireindustry together on guide people. Beyond the stress that I think a lot ofpeople feel towards that bigger, better, brighter, future e mean it's been areally, really positive conversation. I thank you for that. If someone wants tocontinue this, this discussion, this dialogue with you, what's the best waythat they could just connect and say hello? Oh, I forgot to have anybodysent me an email in Mornington at celerity see you dot org's That's S O la r i t Y c u dot org. That's probably one of the best ways to just reach outinitially. And, yeah, I think, like, have a conversation. Meena, thank youso much. And thanks again for joining me on another episode of Banking onDigital Growth. All right, thank you, James Robert. Until next time be Well,do good and wash your hands. Thank you for listening to another episode ofbanking on Digital Growth with James Robert Ley. Like what you hear. Tell afriend about the podcast and leave us a review on Apple podcasts, GooglePodcast or Spotify and subscribe while you're there to get even. MawrPractical and proven insights. Visit www dot digital growth dot com to graba preview of James Roberts bestselling book Banking on Digital Growth or ordera copy right now for you and your team from Amazon. Inside, you'll find astrategic marketing and sales blueprint framed around 12 key areas of focusthat empower you to confidently generate 10 times more loans anddeposits until next time, be well and do good.

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