Earlier this month I was in Athens, Georgia teaching Marketing/Business Development and Innovation to the students of Southeast Regional CU Management School (SRCUS). After my last class I needed to get to the Atlanta Airport to catch the last flight out – which is always dicey and to make matters worse – a huge thunderstorm was rolling in. At lunch I mentioned that I was a bit nervous because Atlanta traffic can be unpredictable in the best of times. That’s when I heard about Waze.
We’re excited to feature the 2017 NACUSO CU Collaboration & Innovation Award winner 7 Insurance. We sat down with Jerry Tweeten to hear how he came to work in credit unions and how two credit unions, less than a mile apart decided to not see each other as competitors but collaborators for the benefit of their members.
PART ONE: Life Story and Experience
What’s your current position and can you give me a brief overview of what it is you do in your work? I am the President, and we are a full lines independent insurance agency. We are a collaboration of Y12 FCU and ORNL FCU and I oversee nine CSR/Agents. I manage both credit union’s corporate insurance programs and their other insurance programs, GAP, Service Contracts, Debt Cancellation, Accidental Death & Dismemberment (AD&D), and collateral protection insurance (CPI) programs.
What would you say most motivates you to do what you do? What are you most excited or passionate about?
What motivates and excites me most of all, along with our team, is saving our members money. The savings are real, not perceived. We have saved our members well over $500,000. Our most successful stories involved three of our members that saved over $3,000 annually on their insurance and provided better coverage. How can this not excite you?
I want to hear the story of how you came to work with credit unions. What attracted you to work for 7 Insurance?
In 1986 I started at Alaska USA FCU as a temp employee, working in their insurance department. I worked within the insurance department during my tenure there and established their insurance CUSO as their Manager of Insurance Services.
My father was a CMSGT at Elmendorf AFB and opened an account for my brother, sister and myself. AK USA FCU was always part of my life since we moved to Alaska in 1977, so for me it was a place that was always there for us. I had a friend who knew the human resources person at AK USA FCU and she told me there were open positions. I was there the next day and started working the following week. AK USA FCU believed in me and offered me every opportunity to succeed. I can’t thank them enough for what they did for me and my family. I’ve been working in and around credit union’s since 1986 and won’t work in any other industry.
In September of last year we featured an $8 million dollar credit union serving 900 florists out of a house in Roswell, New Mexico. The title of the piece was “Merger Should be The Last Resort – Collaboration is Key.” This month we sat down with Kenn Bell, President/CEO of The Florist Federal Credit Union to hear his story of how the CUSO model is so vital to his success.
We are excited to debut the Partner Connection Sessions at the 2016 NACUSO Network Conference for stories like Kenn’s. these sessions are the 6th cooperative principle in action: Cooperation among cooperatives. Our goal is to bring like-minded people together in the spirit of collaboration and innovation to help credit unions to not only survive, but to thrive. We hope you’ll join us. Now here’s Kenn’s amazing story.
PART ONE: Life Story and Experiences
Where did you grow up and what was it like living there? Where did you go to school?
I was born in Pendleton, Oregon but grew up in both Washington and Oregon. My father changed jobs a lot, so it’s hard to nominate a specific “best” town, but I consider Portland my home town. I graduated from Grant High School and eventually from Portland State University. I have returned there many times, and of course, 2 of my four grandkids live there.