Testimonials

  • Experienced over 23 percent loan growth as of September 2015 with the majority of loan growth in auto loans
  • Awarded the 2015 CU Journal Best Practices Award!

Dover Federal Credit Union ($420 Million in Assets), Delaware, Chaz Rzewnicki, Vice President of Lending

Awards

  • Community Choice Credit Union Won the 2016 Credit Union of the Year Award and the Dora Maxwell Award as a result of cuStrategies training
  • Dover Federal Credit Union Won the 2015 CU Journal Best Practices Award as a result of cuStrategies CSA training program
  • Carolina Postal Credit Union Won the 2014 CU Journal Best Practices Award as a result of cuStrategies CSA training program

Celeste has been onsite at my Credit Union twice. The first time was January 2013 and again in 2014. I just want to say that although I am sure her webinar was FANTASTIC …you only got a small teaser of what it would take to grow your loan portfolio.

 

As a Credit Union CEO, I have seen our industry change dramatically over the last few years. No longer can Credit Unions just sit back and wait for members to take out loans. You have to be aggressive. I am a firm believer in Celeste’s consulting and training. We have incorporated her strategies and training, and here are some of our success stories:

 

  • Since 2013 we have grown total outstanding loans by $11MM which equates to 72% growth. Prior to that, I had not experienced any form of loan growth in 6 years.
  • Since 2013 we have increased membership by 21%. Prior to that, we had not experienced positive member growth in 8 years.
  • Since 2013, I have been able to hire a full time Business Development Representative. No credit union in my asset range within my geographical location has a dedicated full time Business Development Representative.
  • I am currently exploring a second branch location.
  • Because of the additional income that has been generated with our loan growth we were able to offer additional services to our members. Some of the services include a 24×7 Lending Call Center, Mobile Deposits and Mobile Banking. We also redesigned our website which allows are members to apply for loans on line and to our potential members, we now offer on line account opening.
  • I just signed a 1 year contract with a local radio station for marketing and advertising.
  • I have received accolades from NCUA about our growth and more importantly managing delinquencies.

 

The purpose of this is not to brag…but to reiterate to you not to base your decision of whether or not to utilize Celeste’s services because of her fee. I was able to recoup her entire fee back in loan interest…and much, much more. Keep in mind, I have had her onsite twice and also have attended her Business Development conference twice.

 

I feel very strongly about our industry and more importantly about Celeste and her services. I tell everyone…do not consider it an expense, it is a temporary outlay of cash. You will get her fee back in additional loan interest income.

Baker Federal Credit Union, New Jersey, Sue Rodriguez, CEO

  • 28 percent loan growth year to date as of September 30, 2015
  • ROI of $513,698 in net income just from the loan interest income generated since they integrated cuStrategies’ programs

Advantage One Federal Credit Union, Michigan

  • Increased loan volume by 33 percent in 2013 compared to 2012
  • Won the Louise Herring Award as a result of the CSA Program
  • Won the 2014 CU Best Practices Award as a result of the CSA Program
  • To read the testimonial published in the November 2014 edition of the CU Journal click here.

Carolina Postal Credit Union ($85 Million in Assets), North Carolina, Joy Watts, CEO

  • Created instant loan opportunities immediately following training in October 2014
  • “By the way, we are causing a shock wave through our lending department as they try to keep up with mini-apps. Our business development team has been hugely successful bringing back mini-apps from business partner events – 109 in just one day at one Benefits Fair. I will keep you posted on our continuing success, but the results are now in the hands of our lenders. Thanks for your help and best regards.”

Summit Credit Union, North Carolina, Glenn Kirk, EVP of Marketing and Business Development

  • Experienced an increase in their loan yield from 6.21% to 8.26% from 1st quarter 2013 to 4th quarter 2013
  • “We made $3.6 million in consumer loans [July] – up from $2 million in June. Training occurred mid- July.] The yield was higher because there was less real estate. Plus we increased loans outstanding in July by $1.9 million. I estimate we increased income from loan yield and volume by about $9,000 for the month PLUS our net revenue on ancillary products (GAP & Debt Cancellation) was $18,000 higher than any month this year. So basically we paid for your training. But as the commercial goes; “cuStrategies…Priceless”.”“Your training did more to instill the CU philosophy than anything else I have done. I sure appreciate it. Oh, and this is BEFORE we repriced our loans per your suggestion. I estimated that if we repeat this for the next six months in a row, we will be at 0.50% ROA – up from a negative 0.23% ROA. Thank you, Celeste!”

Appalachian Community Credit Union ($170 Million in Assets), Tennessee, Ron Scott, CEO

“Thank you for a outstanding day of training. Cheryl gave me a full report and I have heard from several of the participants. You have really made a difference in several credit unions: Linda Meeler with Jackson ACCO CU, AMPOT FCU and Gary Allen with Statewide FCU and of course the folks at Navigator CU. Not sure if Linda shared with you the state examiners are going nuts over her numbers. Her loan growth has been unreal!”

Mississippi Credit Union Association, Tom McWilliams, CMP, CCUE, Sr. Vice President

“Our credit union recently contracted with Celeste’s firm and WOW, what an immediate impact did it have on our organization. Her enthusiasm plus her knowledge was absolutely astonishing. I would not only recommend her to any other organization, but I would also encourage you to check her out. It was well worth the money.”

Service First Federal Credit Union, Travis Kasten, President/CEO

“Celeste, I wanted to share with you some of our recent CSA stories and how we have impacted our Members’ lives. I have to say that in my 22 years in credit unions, this is the most rewarding and powerful thing I have experienced!! Thank you for all you have done for us!! When I compared our Branch Loan Volume [direct loans only] for January 2012 to January 2011, I discovered there was an increase of $7 million in January 2012 compared to January 2011. I was shocked and couldn’t believe the numbers were right so I asked Finance to re-analyze the numbers –I was certain it was a mistake. Guess what…the numbers were correct!!! This is unbelievable!!!”

PSCU, Michelle Bixler, VP Branch Operations

“What a difference a year makes! In 2011 our March loan production from the branches was $6,023,190. If you only look at the loans actually produced in the branches last month, not including any CUDC approvals or indirect loans, [in March 2012] we produced an amazing $14,726,902.29! That’s more than double what we did last year! I am so impressed and proud of our branch team! The MSR closed loans referrals are starting to be tallied and I’ve NEVER seen so many before! What fantastic teamwork!”

Public Service Credit Union, Evon Foster, COO

“Mr. “Member” came in on Tuesday to look into a credit card so he could do a balance transfer to consolidate some of his other credit cards. We started the app and I noticed he had a lot more debt than what we could consolidate on 1 CC. He had an existing Toyota loan with us and a GMC loan at [other financial institution]. There wasn’t any equity in the GMC but there was over 12K equity in the Toyota loan. So talking to him we would be able to do a lot with that and at a lower rate. He took it home and talked to his wife and they came back in today. We ended up moving the loan from [other financial institution] (26,566.20), refinancing the Toyota (21,599) & getting a CC w/ 7500.00 limit (did a 6100.00 Bal trans). With what we paid off if they would have kept paying on it they would have paid $12,222.38 in interest, and with what they are now paying they are only going to pay $3842.49 in interest!!!!!!!!!! Total savings of $8379.89 in just interest alone!!!!! This is saving them so much in interest not counting the $300 a month that we are saving them. We took cards and loans at 13.24%-17.08% and turned it into 2.94%-6.99%!!!! THIS IS WHY I LOVE MY JOB!!!!”

Melinda F., Financial Service Consultant

“In August, 2005, Navigator Credit Union was hit hard by Hurricane Katrina. During the next several years, we focused more on rebuilding infrastructure than growth. Before we could get back to “pre-Katrina” levels of lending, the economy took a downward turn and provided us with another challenge. In May, 2011, Celeste Cook came to Navigator Credit Union and taught our employees new skills along with a whole new way of asking for business. She motivated and challenged employees and provided us with the tools we needed to transform to the Sales Culture that had previously eluded us. In September, 2011, we set the ambitious goal of $12 million in new loans in a single month following four consecutive months of significant increases attributed to Celeste’s training. While we didn’t achieve our goal of $12 million, we did achieve remarkable success including the following: $9.9 MILLION in NEW LOANS for the month of August—the highest monthly volume in 2011! $173.4 MILLION LOAN PORTFOLIO—the highest since January, 2006! $213.5 MILLION in AGGREGATE DEPOSIT BALANCES—the highest EVER! We have no doubt that Celeste’s effective techniques were a large part of this new level of growth. We look forward to continuing to employ her unique strategies to achieve even greater results in the coming months and years ahead.”

Navigator Credit Union, Kathy Scarbrough, Chief Communications Officer

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Celeste Cook is founder and President/CEO of cuStrategies LLC. As a credit union industry strategist, Celeste provides strategic planning services, experienced consulting services, and expert training programs...

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