South Bay Credit Union wins CU Smack Down competition

LIBERTY LAKE, WA (October 7, 2013) — After a fierce battle with multiple lead changes and smack talk galore, South Bay Credit Union has accepted the trophy and congratulated United Advantage Northwest FCU for a successful competition.

South Bay, of Redondo Beach, CA, pulled ahead in the 3-month consumer loan competition in the last weeks as United Advantage was forced to slow down while addressing liquidity concerns brought on by the tremendous growth in loans.

The CU Smack Down competition was the brainchild of South Bay CEO Jennifer Oliver who suggested the competition at the CU*NorthWest Annual Leadership Conference where credit union leaders who use CU*BASE® for their core processing solution come to learn about new solutions and collaborate for new ideas.  South Bay had done a similar competition internally dividing the staff and pitting the teams against each other.

Evie Rasmussen, CEO of the 7500-member and a mostly Sponsor Employer group based membership in Portland Oregon, took up the challenge for a three-month competition against the 6987-member community-based South Bay.  CU*NorthWest acted as referee and posted the weekly total in net consumer loan growth and the smack talk between the two to their website,  Final numbers:  South Bay 247 loans for $1,266,239 and United Advantage, 141 loans for $896,032.  The competition began July 1 and ended September 30.

At the credit unions the competition between the sun-drenched and the rain-soaked was taken seriously and galvanized both staff to think differently, collaborate, market and enjoy.  They sent each other barbs, cartoons and friendly taunts – even a board member paid a visit with a gift for the competitor.

“The smack talk had us laughing together, something we haven’t been able to do since the recession,” said Rasmussen.   “Seeing the numbers and income increase was a huge bonus. Going into September UA was ahead and we relished in our success only to fall behind since we were starting to exceed our liquidity threshold – darn it! But know the regulator was coming in late September we couldn’t afford to push things dramatically.  So we fell behind with a grin on our faces.”

United Advantage developed a new Green loan product, staged hot-call nights with a scratch lottery ticket for each loan, incented staff and members with prizes including a chartered deep sea fishing adventure.  A local graphic designer helped them with a campaign including social media, posters t-shirts and mailers.
Down in Orange County, the South Bay staff was bringing some laser focus to the competition.  In the previous quarter, the credit union had divided their staff in a loan competition that yielded almost $3 million in loans.   “This time the whole staff rallied together to beat United Advantage,” said Oliver.   An early barb sent by Rasmussen became their rallying cry.  “The smack talk was the most fun of all,” Oliver said.

Mining the data already in the CU*BASE database became the tool for identifying members who could benefit from loan offers.    The Where Your Members Shop dashboard and queries of bill pay reports, South Bay gleaned lists for call outs based on credit scores already stored in the system.  Direct mail, hard offers, Skip a Pay programs, focused underwriting turned into loan growth and ultimately a victory for the staff and the credit union.  “We used all the tools the system has to offer and worked it,” she said.

But the competition was more than that for Oliver and her staff.  “We became family with United Advantage.  We know each other now and we laugh together.  You can just feel the credit union spirit.”

“I mean our data processor was our referee and started a web page for us – who does that?” she said.  “We are part of the CU*NorthWest credit union family.”

Added CU*NorthWest CEO Greg Smith, “It was great for us to be involved in this competition and to be able to watch these two credit unions work so hard and have so much fun in the process.“

About CU*NorthWest, Inc.
CU*NorthWest was founded in 2005 and is a 100% credit union-owned CUSO located in Liberty Lake, Washington. CU*NorthWest offers a wide variety of services for credit unions including its flagship CU*BASE processing system in both an online (ASP) and in-house environment, and Internet development services featuring the It’s Me 247 online banking product.  Additional services include web site development, network design and security, bookkeeping services, and a complete eDocument solution. CU*NorthWest provides expertise in implementing technical solutions to operational needs, and helps credit unions form strategic alliances and partnerships. For more information, visit

More News