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W.Va. Central uses Disney to incent staff
PARKERSBURG, W. Va. (3/1/12)--West Virginia Central CU, Parkersburg, W.Va., experienced a giant leap in loan growth during the first two months of 2012, due to the promise of a visit with a famous mouse.

At the end of February, WVCCU celebrated the $1 million mark in net loan growth--something that normally doesn't occur until about May of each year, said the credit union.  It achieved the goal with an incentive program for staff.

Mike Tucker, CEO of West Virginia Central CU, Parkersburg, W. Va., announced staff goals and incentives program while dressed as a Disney chipmunk, Chip of Chip and Dale. The credit union will treat staff--either the winning team or the entire staff, depending on the extent of loan growth--to a trip to Disney World. (Photo provided by West Virginia Central CU).
In 2011, the credit divided 28 staffers into three teams and pitted them against each other for three months, said Lisa Collins, PR coordinator, at the credit union.   Each week, the teams set different goals and were given $500 each to market their own efforts.  Weekly prizes for winning teams included small gifts and gift cards, and the final team prize was an android table.

"We saw a lot of friendly competition, and loan growth definitely improved," said Collins. "We met our loan goals for the time period, and everyone enjoyed it, but we knew there was more excitement to be mined, if we could just figure out a motivation."

The motivation turned out to be Disney World.  Two years ago, staff had been treated to a trip to Washington, D.C., a five-hour drive away, where they stayed at a Ritz Carlton near a Nordstrom.  While there, they studied both companies' customer service efforts and toured the city. Since  then, staff continued to mention  Disney as another business known for world-class service, said Collins. Management knew Disney would be a tougher trip because it required flights and more financial outlay.

After a visit from consultant Rick Olson, who conducted a Coaching College for WVCCU the past two years, Collins was inspired to put together a Disney trip.  "I went in to our CEO with a plan to incent the staff to huge numbers with the promise of Disney at the end of the year."

Management planned a surprise party just before Christmas, and when staff  arrived, the room was decked out in Disney. CEO Mike Tucker devised a "Mickey on Steroids" goal, which was announced by Vice President of Loans Mark Greenlees while dancing in a Goofy hat.

Team captains, who were not in on the secret, had created team names, slogans and plans for each group, which they announced that night. Bottom line?  Bring in outstanding referrals and loan dollars, and the winning team would receive a trip to Disney.  Bring in huge referrals and loans, and the whole staff could go.

Already hitting the million dollar loan mark three months early, the teams are setting their own goals, creating their marketing themes and contacting members directly to get refinance business and new loans.

The rivalry is friendly but fierce as the teams work to beat each other and to get the entire group to Florida. The credit union hands out weekly rewards in Disney dollars, which helps team members save for extras for their trip. The handful who will not be able to make the trip will collect the cash equivalent at the end of the three-quarter contest, so everyone wins, said Collins.

"Members are receiving a lot of extra attention from us as we help them to get the best loan deals," said Collins, "and we are bettering the overall financial picture of our credit union as we increase loan volume. The mouse has definitely helped us meet our goals," she added.


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