Negotiating is a part of handling objections because there is give-and-take that occurs after the objection is raised,” explains Jennie Sobecki, senior partner at Focused Results in Fishers, Indiana. “Let’s take a price objection as an example. You may be able to concede on things that have a one-time impact on the bank like closing costs or appraisal fees, but you stay firm on the rate that brings income to the bank over the years.”
When negotiating with clients, Sobecki suggests that you consider the following:
1. Can you walk away? Is there an alternative? Remember—it’s okay to say “no.”
“When meeting with your client, you must create the idea that there is no other financial institution out there that offers what you do,” Sobecki says. “You create the impression that your product or service is unique, and the other person has no place else to go. If your product isn’t unique, there is still you. How can/will you make what you offer unique by offering you?”
2. Negotiate when you have an agreement in principle to do business, not before.
Ask a trial closing question, such as “If we agree on the details, will you go ahead and buy?” Starting earlier will weaken your position, and put pressure on you to make more concessions or give more “extras.”
3. Shoot for the best outcome.
Your buyer is going to aim low and usually won’t go first. “Your opening will set the limit on the best possible outcome, and if the position moves, it is only going to go down. You also set the minimum outcome for the other person,” Sobecki says. “The temptation for both parties is to split the difference, so keep your best outcome in mind.” Tip: Ask yourself, “What do you typically offer to obtain the deal?”
4. Let the other side shoot first, if possible.
The buyer is trying the same thing. You can always be pleasantly surprised by what the other party has to offer. If the buyer offers something you think is impractical, say “no,” and make the person go again.
5. Get the buyer’s complete shopping list before you negotiate.
Isolate the objection or shopping list items. Buyers like to bring up the extras or concessions one at a time for as long as they can, trying to get you tired from saying “no.” Figure out what the buyer really needs and that he or she values. What are you seeing as the extras that your clients and prospects want?
Tip: Negotiations in banking are about closing times, deal length, payment penalties, out clauses, renewal dates, support after the close (on-boarding), payment dates, payment terms, and so forth. “You don’t have to negotiate pricing all the time,” emphasizes Sobecki. “Explore offering a loan term sheet that allows the buyer to ‘customize’ the loan, leaving the rate the same, of course.”
The ability to customize is a valuable negotiating edge. Another value-added edge is providing information that allows the client or prospect to benchmark their business’ performance against peers. Other key points:
More than 50 million Hispanics live in the U.S., and their average age is 27. About half are unbanked or underbanked. From 2000 to 2010, the U.S. Hispanic population grew 43%, and trends suggest one of three U.S. residents will be Hispanic by 2050.
“Hispanics are clearly credit unions’ largest growth opportunity,” says Miriam De Dios, CEO of Coopera, a CUNA strategic partner that helps credit unions connect with this audience.
Although credit unions have worked to remove barriers that prevent or discourage Hispanics from becoming members, lingering misconceptions might hamper your front-line staff’s ability to serve these members.
Coopera offers information in these areas to increase understanding and improve service:
• Immigration status. A 2012 poll by the National Hispanic Media Coalition indicates nearly one-third of Americans believe half of Hispanics are in the U.S. illegally. In reality, 76% of Hispanics living in the U.S. are U.S. citizens. And by 2020, second-generation Hispanics will outnumber their parents.
• Proper identification. The Customer Identification Program, outlined in Section 326 of the USA Patriot Act, specifically allows your credit union to use several forms of identification to serve these members.
These include a passport, matricula consular (the most popular form of Mexican personal identification issued to immigrants living in the U.S.), cedula (a national identity document used by many Central and South American countries), and an Individual Taxpayer Identification Number (ITIN).
Proper identification and verification of the matricula consular and other foreign identification cards are important training points. But ultimately, the process is no different than learning to recognize and verify driver’s licenses from other states.
• Products and services. Credit unions often believe Hispanics use only check cashing and money transfer services, Coopera says. But at credit unions working with Coopera, Hispanic members’ level of service usage and loan penetration are competitive with overall member averages.
• Document translation. Conducting business and having documents available in Spanish will put some members at ease and serve as an important way to connect with your members. But you don’t have to translate all of your documents at once; instead, translate them at your own pace.
• Service to family members. If you just focus on
second-generation Hispanics, you’re missing the boat on a first
generation that’s in the workforce and is more
likely to be unbanked or underserved. And you’re missing a chance to connect with parents whose children more likely will become members.
“The younger second generation is still learning its financial behaviors from the first generation, and still needs a connection to the culture,” De Dios says.
This is a question I’m commonly asked by credit unions. I’ve had credit unions to contact me about the questionable clothing they’ve seen some of their employees wear in pictures on their personal social media sites, or about the disruptive behavior of an employee when they were hanging out with friends outside of work. Yes, we don’t like to see the faces of our credit unions in “compromising” or “peculiar” situations. But, can employers do anything to monitor or discipline employees’ off-duty conduct if that conduct might reflect negatively on the credit union?
Generally, if an employee's off-duty conduct conflicts with the credit union's best interests, the credit union should expect the employee to comply with the credit union's policies while off duty. For example, an employee is expected to abide by an employer's sexual harassment policy during off hours since sexual harassment of co-workers or clients outside of work could negatively impact the employer's business.
However, it’s important to point out that many states have privacy laws that prohibit an employer from monitoring or disciplining employees for lawful off-duty conduct. Several states, including, California, Colorado, Illinois, Minnesota, Montana, Nevada, and North Dakota, have laws that prohibit employers from taking adverse action against employees for engaging in lawful off-duty activities or using lawful products while off duty. Some states bar employers from discriminating against employees for certain off-duty activities, such as smoking or political activity.
But what happens if an employee is arrested or convicted of a crime while off-duty? Does that mean the credit union can fire them immediately? It is important for credit unions to understand and comply with federal and state laws governing the use of criminal records. All employers should be familiar with the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission's (EEOC) guidance on arrests and convictions, which generally provides that an employer's policies or practices regarding the use of criminal records must be job related and consistent with business necessity.
Many states prohibit employers from taking adverse actions against employees because of arrests or arrest records. In addition, the EEOC cautions that taking an adverse employment action against an employee because of an arrest record may result in a violation of anti-discrimination laws. Therefore, employers should be fully aware of their obligations under these laws before making an employment decision based on an employee's arrest or arrest record. Employers should engage in an individualized assessment to determine whether the conduct surrounding an arrest negatively impacts the employer's business or the employee's job performance.
Some states protect employees who have been convicted of a crime unless the conviction relates to the individual's job duties. The EEOC provides that an employer may not automatically take an adverse employment action against an employee because of a criminal conviction. Rather, the EEOC recommends that employers conduct an individualized assessment before taking an adverse action against an employee on the basis of a criminal record.
So basically, what does all this mean? It means that prior to taking action against an employee for off-duty conduct, maybe it would be wise to consult with HR or legal counsel first to ensure that your credit union is in compliance.
Kimberly Jones is an HR consultant for Credit Union Resources (www.curesources.coop), a wholly owned subsidiary of Cornerstone Credit Union League that provides business solutions to the credit union community.
Here’s a summary of the most recent NCUA board meeting, courtesy of CUNA’s Regulatory Advocacy Department.
NCUA BOARD MEETING TODAY
February 20, 2014
Today, the National Credit Union Administration (NCUA) Board had a brief meeting. The Board proposed a rule on the voluntary liquidations of federal credit unions, and was briefed on the state of the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund.
Proposed Rule – Voluntary Liquidations of Federal Credit Unions
The NCUA Board proposed a rule on the voluntary liquidations of federal credit unions (FCUs). Chairman Matz noted at today’s meeting that the proposed changes to the voluntary liquidations rule are intended to modernize the rule and factor in credit union growth since 1993, which was when the rule was last updated.
The proposed rule would permit liquidating FCUs to publish required creditor notices in electronic media or newspapers of general circulation. In addition, the proposed rule would increase the asset size threshold for requiring multiple creditor notices, by exempting FCUs with less than $1 million in assets from the publication requirement, and exempting FCUs with less than $50 million in assets from the multiple publication requirement.
Further, the proposed rule would specify that preliminary partial distributions to members must not exceed insured account balances; specify when liquidating FCUs must determine member share balances for distribution purposes; and permit liquidating FCUs to distribute member share payouts either by wire or other electronic means, or by mail or personal delivery.
NCUA is accepting public comments for 60 days after the proposed rule is published in the Federal Register. CUNA will be providing a Regulatory Call to Action shortly.
Quarterly National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund Report
NCUA staff reported that the National Credit Union Share Insurance Fund’s (NCUSIF) equity ratio was at 1.30% as of December 31, 2013. The NCUSIF’s reserves stand at approximately $220.7 million. There were 17 credit union failures in 2013, compared with 22 failures in 2012.
NCUA reported there are currently 307 CAMEL 4 and 5 credit unions, which represent 1.40% of insured shares, or approximately $12.1 billion. NCUA staff also noted that there are 1,480 CAMEL 3 credit unions, which represent 11.19% of insured shares, or $96.9 billion. Combined, insured shares in CAMEL 3, 4, and 5 credit unions represent approximately 12.6% of total insured shares.
Mary Dunn, CUNA Deputy General Counsel
If done well, your hiring process can build your credit union's reputation. Done poorly, however, and you'll turn off the top talent you're trying to attract plus waste a golden opportunity to showcase your credit union's value, according to Forbes.
Consider these results from a recent survey by The Talent Board. It found:
• 61% of job applicants who had a positive interview experience would actively encourage colleagues to apply to the organization;
• 27% of those who had a negative experience would actively discourage colleagues from applying;
• Almost 40% of the positives would buy more of the goods or services the business sells, even if they weren't hired;
• 30% of the negatives would buy less;
• 50% say they share a positive experience; and
• 32% say they broadcast their negative experiences via social media or other avenues.
That's why savvy organizations use the hiring process as a powerful outreach tool, Forbes says. Improve your process with these five tips:
1. Put yourself in the job seeker's shoes. Design your hiring process the way you'd like to be treated as an applicant.
2. Communicate. Be transparent and open. Explain every step and what the applicant should expect. Be respectful of applicant's interest in the job.
3. Involve your current employees. Expose the job seeker to your culture to see if the two mesh. Jobs don't exist in a vacuum. Let applicants meet their potential future teammates.
4. Personalize. Don't eliminate a potential star employee because of rigid or bureaucratic reasons. Top talent can often be idiosyncratic. Be open.
5. Get feedback. Ask for input from those you hire, and even those you don't, for ways in which you can improve your process. It should evolve over time or it will get stale.
For additional insights on credit union turnover and staffing, review the 2013-2014 CUNA Turnover and Staffing Survey Report.
(Via CUNA E-Scan)