Newsmaker: April Clobes
Executive Vice President/Chief Operating Officer, Incoming CEO, MSUFCU, 18 years
Q: Tell us what you plan to accomplish in 2015?
A: MSUFCU will open its 15th branch location, which is the 13th location in the greater Lansing area in May. The branch located at Jolly and Okemos roads will be a full service branch with drive-up tellers and ATMs. Additionally, we expect to break ground on the second building located on our headquarters campus. This building will be 187,000 square feet with three stories and a basement. The building will house our call center, eServices and Information Technology departments. The building is estimated to be complete in mid-2017.
We will continue to advance our online services with updates and enhancements to our website, internet banking and mobile apps. We will be adding bill payment to the mobile app, switching from account number login to username login, revitalize the website and many more new features.
Q: What will be the biggest hurdle of 2015?
A: Our ongoing challenges will most likely continue to be the low-rate economic environment and the ever-changing regulations.
We are planning for the Federal Reserve Bank’s determination on when to raise interest rates as they work to stabilize the rates to a more normal range. Rates have been historically low at 0.25 percent since 2008 and most financial institutions are planning strategies to mitigate interest rate risk in a rising rate environment.
Additionally, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is on track to introduce several new regulations related to the financial industry. While most of the regulations don’t directly impact the credit union because we are already in compliance or our current policies are superior to the proposed regulations, there is always an impact to the financial institution. The impact can be related to wording changes in disclosures, programming changes in the core software, new policies and procedures, etc. Our goal is to be compliant with the regulations without impacting service and access to our members.
Q: In your industry, what trends were adopted in 2014 and how do you see trends changing in 2015?
A: I think in financial services you are beginning to see major adoption of mobile services by consumers. Many are using mobile apps for household financial management. We also have seen a large adoption of mobile check deposit.
As an industry we are seeing improved lending and access to credit for consumers and businesses. I think that this will continue to improve as the economy continues to rebound in 2015.
The ability to deliver financial service to members wherever and whenever they want it. We need to have the best service online, in person and via the phone. There are many articles written that physical locations are no longer relevant. That is simply not true. Branches may need to look and engage the member differently, but it is critical to have a physical presence so consumers know they have somewhere to go to speak in person with an expert.
Q: What do you think the biggest Greater Lansing business story will be in 2015?
A: I am hoping that the biggest stories will focus on growth and development in our community. In order to retain and attract talent to the region, we need to continue to invest in arts, culture and access to events to continue to foster a sense of community pride where individuals want to live. I am proud to say that the credit union is a significant contributor to programs that help to create a sense of place in our region. Our programs, such as the MSUFCU Visiting Jazz Artists, bring world-renowned musicians to the MSU College of Music to not only work with MSU Students, but also the local elementary and high school students. These programs help to change lives and possibly encourage the students to achieve their dreams.
Q: What has made it possible for you to get where you are today?
A: I am successful today because great people have believed in me, such as my boss, Patrick McPharlin. Without his mentorship, I would not have the opportunity I have today to lead the credit union in the future.
I also think that hard work, continuous learning and a willingness to take a chance has helped me excel when opportunities were presented. And, most importantly, the continuous support of my mom, who always told me I could achieve anything!
Q: What do you think is the key to success?
A: I think you need to love what you are doing and share your passion with others. You need to invest in people and the community. You also need to be willing to say yes. Try something new, take on an extra project and always work hard.
Q: What would friends and family say is your biggest quirk?
A: There are so many! I often say, music makes my heart happy. I love music. I have over 7,000 songs on my iPhone. And, those who really know me, would say I have an unhealthy habit of buying shoes and tote bags.