4 Ways to Become the MacGyver of Lending
August 2017

Nothing against Iron Man or James Bond, but superheroes with special powers and secret agents with million-dollar toys and a sniper’s aim pale to Macgyver in terms of ingenuity.

What other unarmed man possesses the scientific knowledge and fortitude to hotwire a car with a paper clip? To transform used bicycle bars, rust and a flare to construct a torch capable of burning through an armored door? To create a defibrillator from candlesticks and an electrical cord?

Sure, many of Macgyver’s tricks stretch the limits of feasibility, let alone reality. But it’s hard not to marvel at the never-say-die (literally) attitude and everything-but-the-kitchen sink (almost literally) tactics Richard Dean Anderson employed in seven TV seasons as the Phoenix Foundation’s top agent, righting wrongs around the globe.

Even if you might work at a credit union that boasts the latest and greatest tools, a proven growth strategy and sufficient capital cushion to take the path of least resistance, do yourself, the organization, and your members a favor by following these four tips to summon your inner Macgyver and become a lending ace:

Optimism. Macgyver kept his focus on success despite the odds. You might not always be able to say yes to a member — but a lending officer acting with all parties’ best interests in mind will find a way to avoid saying “no.” Perhaps you can restructure loan terms to make monthly payments more affordable. Or redirect them to a home with a smaller mortgage, or a used car instead of a new car.

Personalize. Macgyver empathized with the people he aimed to help. Understand human nature. Connect with potential borrowers on a personal level to learn their motivations and ambitions. Study your credit union’s data analytics-driven review of the member to determine the best cross-sell opportunities. And above all else, be transparent with the member. Look closely at their credit application and explain to them steps they can take to erase or mitigate shortcomings.

Understand your products. Macgyver’s knowledge of the physical properties of substances allowed him to think on his feet. So should you know all the avenues you can use to meet your members’ needs. In addition to current loan promotions, know whether your credit union offers loan insurance products that back up loans issued to members with subprime credit, or anyone struck by major life occurrences such as job loss or injury.

Keep your eyes and ears openMacgyver studied up on the situation he was about to enter. What solutions are others employing? Sure, you could say it’s outside your pay grade to track or worry about what the competition offers. But your livelihood — not just that of the credit union — depends on offering products that members and prospective members find alluring. So study what’s transpiring elsewhere, listen to members’ needs, and communicate with leadership at your credit union to craft lending products that will resonate.

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