Lessons From the Field: Sharing the Good and Bad

Managers’ monthly reports to staff are an important way of communicating both successes and short comings.

This April report includes a fraud effort recounted in detail.  The learnings prevented a second theft. The CEO  then characterizes the $125,000 loss as a tuition payment.

We processed a wire transfer request for a member on Friday, March 24 for $125,000 and unfortunately incurred a fraud loss.  The caller impersonated the member, knowing the answers to all out-of-wallet questions asked (e.g., name, address, account number, mother’s maiden name, etc.), and also knew the account’s code word and year that the account was opened.  The phone number was spoofed, making it appear to be the member’s phone number. 

The caller changed the contact information of the account, then called again to request the wire transfer.  Another wire request from that account was made on Monday, March 27 and the call was appropriately escalated by front line associates.  After determining that identity theft occurred, the account was locked down, law enforcement was contacted, the member was contacted, and appropriate affidavits of forgery forms were executed. 

Our fidelity bond which would typically cover insured perils such as this will not cover this loss because we didn’t place a verification call to the old number on file.  This step is required by the bond company and is documented in our wire procedure for all accounts with contact information changes within the past 30 days.  The wire transfer procedure was amended and training was being enhanced as appropriate. 

As is typical, losses such as this are thought of as tuition payments, making everyone on the team smarter as we move forward.

Everyone in the organization needs to be aware of this fraud threat. On April 25 the same fraudster called into the lending call center.  He had enough data (name, address, account number, last four of social, etc.) to convince the first associate he talked to that he was a legit member.  He then used social engineering techniques to obtain various other pieces of account information.  He accessed online banking and changed some contact information; he again requested a wire transfer. 

The fraud attempt was caught so no additional loss was incurred.  But we still have to deal with reputation risk with our member and establish a brand new account, which can be time consuming. 

Net Promoter Scores:  Both 10’s and 0’s Shared

Many credit unions rely on the net promoter score processes  to monitor operational performance in real time.

Often just the overall score, usually in the mid 80’s, is shared with staff and the overall trend.  Sometimes a compliment will be added to the update.

This credit union CEO believes both high and low scores can inform and lead to better service.  He shares the verbatim comments.  Here are a few examples from the 248 remarks submitted by members during the month:

  10. When I had my debit card number stolen my savings & checking accts were cleaned out, you all took care of me. I was very upset! I had all my money back in 2 days. I’ve always been a fan of credit unions instead of banks.

 10. The customer service was excellent and Palisha was amazing. She answered all of my questions and made sure I was comfortable with everything. She broke everything down for me and was very communicative.

 10. Gave me loans when my own CU turned me down.

And areas for improvement:

 8. Online banking is not user friendly, when I contact the branch no one is helpful. I set up a credit card payment years ago and want to increase the amount and no one seems to be able to help me. I bank at a few other institutions as well and I never have the same issues.

  0. Make it so the app is usable to pay car payments without having to have a bank account- sign in to car account. Same with website. Such a chore to make car payments.

 0. because I live in Tennessee now. Open a branch in Knoxville.

4. Work with me on my credit or a loan to build credit I have always paid loans off and now my income is more annually.

Transparency and effective leadership are interdependent.  Staff feels part of a team when occasional shortfalls, or even errors, are transformed into  lessons from which all benefit.


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