When we get a new NACUSO member we always do a little research on them to see how we might be able to help promote them, connect them or welcome them in some unique way. When I looked at the HomeCU website I got a little misty-eyed after I clicked on the HomeCU Team page. The heading said “Meet the people who matter in our company.” And rather than having the hierarchy of the org. chart, all employees were listed in alphabetical order, including the CEO. We reached out to Phil to see if he would share his story. Enjoy, and welcome to the NACUSO family HomeCU Team!
CUSO FORMED TO HELP CUs THRIVE OFFERS NEW SERVICES
Trellance, the newly-reemerged CUSO, plans to showcase its brand, product and service offerings at CUNA’s GAC 2018. True to its commitment to providing innovative yet simple solutions to help credit unions adapt and thrive, Trellance plans to offer data-driven consultative, operational and educational services to Credit Unions.
Last month a CU Times article featured the rebrand of CU Mortgage Services to The Servion Group. Their story is the kind we cherish and love to celebrate. Beginning with 3 credit unions working together to help their members. That’s cooperation among cooperatives at its best. Here’s the rest of the story. Enjoy!
PART ONE: Life Story and Experiences
What’s your current position and can you give me a brief overview of what it is you do in your work?
I’m the President and CEO of The Servion Group. Honestly, though, I always tell my employees that I’d drop all titles if I could. I’m a basketball coach outside of the office; I look at myself as a coach when I am at the office.
We focus on relationships rather than on transactions at Servion. In line with that, we’ve developed a language that supports our culture. We talk about “hitting the bullseye,” which is our way of visualizing of the different ways we want to add value for our partners.
We also talk about service in layers of the bullseye. Availability, accuracy, and partnership are the outer rings. You need to be able to hit them if you want to hit the bullseye. We hit our bullseye when we have earned our partners’ trust through availability and accuracy, and thereby become their advisor on the road to success.
As the coach of the Servion team, my day to day is about leading us to hit the bullseye for every credit union we serve.
What would you say most motivates you to do what you do? What are you most excited or passionate about?
I’m fortunate, when you asked me what I do day to day, you might as well have asked what I am passionate about. When I get done leading our staff townhalls or with an ideation meeting, I could run laps around the building.
One thing in particular that energizes me is innovation. The Servion Group came from an idea first drawn-up on the back of a napkin. That origin story is very much in line with my leadership style. If someone on our staff has an idea for a great solution – one that can profitably deliver the benefits of scale to our partners – I get excited about empowering them to go make it a reality. In fact, many of our services today came from staff pitching ways we could solve a pain point for our partners. Recent examples are our correspondent and wholesale mortgage channels, or our mortgage quality control service.
In my thirty years of forming credit union collaborations, I have come to see common lessons, especially in multiply owned CUSOs providing one or more back office operational services. I examine twelve of those lessons in these types of CUSOs. Read more on A Dozen Lessons Learned in Credit Union Collaborations By Guy Messick…
Never burn a bridge with former girlfriends. It can jump start a career. I stayed friendly with my high school girlfriend Maryanne who married John Unangst the President of Franklin Mint Federal Credit Union. John formed one of the first CUSOs in 1988. The CUSO provided mortgage services and data processing services to multiple credit unions. As a result of meeting John through Maryanne, I formed John’s CUSO. John became a director on the newly formed NACUSO Board and asked me to go with him to San Diego on his dime to a NACUSO Conference and play golf. My bags were packed before he finished his invitation.
In San Diego, I did a presentation to a four table conference. John suggested to the NACUSO Board that I be their General Counsel. My most attractive feature was that I was free. So began my representation of NACUSO. I thought I could handle this gig as CUSOs are essentially small businesses and I had a lot of experience representing small businesses, including being the attorney for the local Chamber of Commerce. I grew up in a small business. My parents owned two restaurants. Eventually, my practice evolved into the near exclusive representation of credit unions and CUSOs.
The part of our practice that gets my juices flowing is helping credit unions create and expand CUSOs and other collaborative relationships. How can we structure a relationship between organizations and people that will reward all participants on a personal and professional level? Collaboration is not easy. It is not altruistic. It is finding people with the right values and incentives to work together to achieve a common goal. It is a challenge but when it works, it can provide amazing results.