By: Felipe Rivas
2 min read January 2020 — Credit unions are growing at a fast pace across the country and in some cases rivaling banks, with their focus on long-term relationships with their members. North Carolina’s Truliant Federal Credit Union Commercial Market Executive Judy Wishnek says the credit union is well-capitalized and plans to continue to broaden its technology offerings to help it expand in the vibrant Charlotte commercial lending market.
What is the state of business for banks and credit unions in the middle of the Charlotte boom?
Charlotte’s banking and credit unions have all had a great deal of growth, with a lot of people moving to the city. In the banking sector, many new names have entered the market, and credit unions specifically have had impressive growth. All credit unions combined now have about 115 million members nationwide. Truliant, specifically, has over 250,000 members. A recent article in the Wall Street Journal said that credit unions are now going toe to toe with other financial institutions, adding that credit unions’ asset growth is outpacing that of banks, and our industry is very well-capitalized. In Charlotte, Truliant has added nine locations in the last five years, to a total of 12 in the city. In the last year, we also added a commercial lending office.
What are the benefits of joining a credit union instead of putting yourself in the hands of a bank?
Credit unions are about deeper financial relationships. It is a very personalized type of service with high emphasis on guidance and helping members make the right decisions. We are not focused on the bottom line, because we are a not for profit. It is not a short-term strategy but a long-term strategy of working with our members to help improve their lives and their decision-making. In commercial lending, we have the opportunity to start telling our story and letting people know that we are a great source of financing for commercial real estate.
People are looking for lots of options and the ability to make decisions. It is nice that in Charlotte they can work with a credit union that is focused on really understanding their needs and helping them. We are investing in locations close to them, but we are also investing in technology so they have the option of having their financial needs met online or in person.
How is technology, such as the eClosings system for mortgages and credit, helping your clients and shaping your business?
Offering these efficient loan closings saves people time and money, and it can be done anywhere. There is less chance for error in their filings, and it is more secure, allowing the records to be recorded instantly. It also reduces paperwork, legal fees, mailing and courier costs. We are just excited to be a leader in that space. I think that this is going to be something that is going to spread throughout the country, and North Carolina and Truliant were innovators in getting this to work first.
Additionally, we have added a chief digital officer, a digital marketing director, a vice president of digital innovation and a vice president of IT infrastructure. Hiring these specialists has enhanced optimization and automation to ensure we stay on top.
What are Truliant’s expansion plans in the region? What is your relationship with the local business community?
We continue to look for additional locations, and I think we will continue to find areas to add brick and mortar offices in the Charlotte area. But I think we will continue to add people digitally, because it is very easy to grow our online services.
All the folks in the commercial lending office have been here for a very long time and are very involved with the business community. We sit on a number of boards, and we are involved with different organizations. It really is about relationships, and that helps Charlotte work.
To learn more about our interviewee, visit: https://www.truliantfcu.org/