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The Welsh Wire: Steve Owens of Consumers Credit Union

A billion dollar, 100 thousand-member credit union may not seem like the kind of place you’d identify as a hotbed of innovation. But the leaders of Consumers Credit Union in west Michigan recognized that if they were going to remain relevant to their members, and grow and prosper in the rapidly changing lending world, they needed to tap into the creativity of all their employees. It begins with fostering a culture of innovation, says Steve Owens, Consumers Credit Union chief lending officer. He talked recently with Sheri Welsh on the Welsh Wire Podcast. “It’s correlated with investing,” Steve says. “(If) you make investments in innovation, and test and learn from those investments, and you actually bring those innovations into your core, they’ll become a part of who you are. But unless your organization has a routine of developing those (innovations), you just going to become irrelevant. You’ll be passed by.” Steve says Consumers uses a concept called the Idea Factory to get their employees involved in
making innovation a regular part of their company operations. “I think the way we run Idea Factory itself is a test and learn,” he says. “We run 30 day contests, we run a 60 day contest, we do it as a message board, it’s all test and learn and figure out, wow, that was a wild success — why don’t we try changing this and see how how that works, right? Or we were disappointed (about) how that went, let’s see if we can run it a different way. You just have to be open to changing things.” Learn more about the Consumers Credit Union Idea Factory by listening to Sheri Welsh’s entire Welsh Wire interview with Steve Owens by clicking here.

Listen to Sheri’s entire interview with Steve Owens

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