September 8, 2011
Brett Wooden, a dynamic credit union sales leader who figured out how to take his credit union to potential members rather than waiting for them to come to the branches, has won top honors from the Oregon and Washington credit union Foundations. He will receive the Young Credit Union Professional of the Year Award at the Summit Awards dinner on Sept. 22.
Wooden, a business development manager for Unitus Community Credit Union, has developed a reputation for using technology to attract new members. He made national trade news when he started using his iPad—a Fathers’ Day gift from his family—to make “field visits” to the offices of busy professionals who wanted to open accounts but did not have time to do so in person. Unitus approved of that innovative level of member services and has since launched pilot programs in several departments and branches. The credit union was averaging just over 40 new business accounts per month prior to the iPad revolution but now averages more than 100. The technology helps members join, update accounts and use other services conveniently. Wooden’s idea is being replicated in credit unions across the nation, and as a result, he has been invited to speak at several industry conferences.
Brett Wooden set a national trend using tablet technology to take Unitus Community Credit Union’s services into the field. The technology made it convenient for members and potential members to open accounts and access other services with the assistance of a Unitus professional. Use of the technology inside Unitus branches expedites member visits.
Wooden has set and met aggressive membership, business services and loan goals with his team at Unitus, according to credit union management.
“Brett truly wants to see the credit union industry not only survive, but thrive,” said Laurie Kresl, VP of Planning and Business Development for Unitus—and Wooden’s boss. “He has told me many times that credit unions are the right choice for anyone, and he can’t understand why anyone would choose anything else.”
Wooden’s knack for using technology to serve members while promoting the credit union movement stood out to Summit Awards judges.
“We graded all applicants on their contributions to the development of their credit unions, to the promotion of the credit union movement, to their commitment to professional development and continuing education as well as to their civic and community involvement,” said Summit Awards committee member Shirley Cate. “Brett Wooden excels in all 4 areas. You can see his passion for the credit union movement in all he has done since becoming a member of Unitus Credit Union’s Team. I think he is a great model for future young credit union professionals—all of the applicants are.”
“It’s very humbling,” Wooden said as he reviewed the comments weighed by the judges. “I am just flattered. I feel like I still have not accomplished all that I want to accomplish.” Wooden wants to think out of the box by looking 10 years or more down the road to see how technology will evolve to encourage savings and financial responsibility.
“We need more folks like Brett Wooden to ensure the credit union movement remains strong and vital well into the future,” said Michael Lawson, who interviewed Wooden for his CUbroadcast program.
Off the clock at Unitus, Wooden lives the “people helping people” philosophy, serving holiday dinners at a homeless shelter with his wife and daughter, coaching children’s baseball teams and volunteering weekly to read to children attending a low-income school.
In addition to Wooden, three other industry leaders will receive Summit Awards. The Foundations will present the Credit Union Professional of the Year, the Distinguished Credit Union Volunteer and the Mark of Excellence awards during the Summit Awards program.
The event will be co- hosted by the Washington and Oregon Credit Union Foundations at the Hotel Murano in Tacoma, WA, on September 22, 2011, as part of the Northwest Credit Union Association Convention.
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