Now it’s time to meet Jon Lowrey, DCCU’s president and CEO.
What jobs and experiences have led you to your present position?
I started in the lending business in 1973. From there, I went to school for accounting and ended up working as a credit union examiner for the state of Wisconsin. I met the previous president of Dane County Credit Union through the Office of Credit Unions, and she brought me in as the vice president of lending to improve credit quality and loan volume. I was eventually promoted to the executive vice president, and then applied for the CEO position when she announced her retirement.
What precisely do you do?
The primary role of my position is to assist DCCU in living out its mission–“Building lifetime relationships with personalized financial solutions”–by providing outstanding service to each individual. I direct the overall operations of the credit union with the objective of ensuring financial stability in accordance with the best interests of the members; establish short term and long range objectives, plans and policies subject to the approval of the Board of Directors; and represent DCCU within the community. I also supervise senior managers, provide evaluations and mentor their performance and development for future leadership. In a general sense, my job is to set philosophy, motivate, encourage and lead.
What particular skills or talents are most essential to be effective in your job?
In no particular order, the attributes needed for my job are: a penchant for listening, a willingness to delegate, trust of staff, a high-level knowledge of credit union operations, the ability to interact with all types of people, the ability to influence decisions and the ability to communicate well. Thoughtfulness in planning and a visionary outlook are also essential.
What is a typical day for you like?
A typical day generally involves significant contact with senior staff members, other staff members and sometimes direct contact with members. Generally my role is to hear results of operations, things that have come up, proposals for new items or to get additional information on a topic. My input in these situations is generally to provide approval on something, provide advice on how to handle a situation or work with staff to stay informed. The amount of input from meetings, calls, reading materials and emails is very substantial, which necessitates a lot of delegation.
What do you like most about this company?
Wow, I love DCCU, and my role. Every day we have a chance to work at a place that helps thousands of people improve their financial situations, as well as provide the basic financial needs that today’s consumers demand. It’s challenging, invigorating, fun and vibrant. I, along with the rest of staff, have the opportunity to plan–and change the future–for our credit union, its members and the communities we serve.
What is your favorite DCCU product or service?
Describe a situation where you or DCCU went above and beyond to help a member improve their financial situation.
I had a new member who had a very high quality job, but a lot of debt. And she had had several particular challenges in her life, including cancer. You could tell she was trying her very best to pay back her debt and get out of the situation she was in. Essentially, I interviewed her, trusted her and developed a plan with her that reduced her high interest expense and allowed her to complete her plan and succeed.
What is a common financial misconception among DCCU members?
That financial success has to occur quickly, when the truth is, for most people, slow and steady wins the race. Don’t give up on paying off debt and saving money just because progress seems slow. Our very successful long term members are successful because they went at it slowly and stuck to a plan.
What’s the one piece of advice you would give others about life?
It’s a limited term engagement, and we don’t know the time we have. So, make every day count and try to have positive progress for yourself, and provide positive karma for others as you go. The saying “don’t sweat the small stuff” is certainly a good one to live by.
Which sports teams do you root for?
I’m a homer–Badgers, Brewers, Bucks, Packers. I have been watching the Packers since I was a little kid, well over 50 years. I used to watch the Thanksgiving Day game between the Packers and the Lions with my grandfathers, and those are still favorite memories of mine.
As Jon highlighted throughout the interview, DCCU’s focus lies in moving our members on the right financial course. We’re set on serving those in Madison, Dane County and its surrounding communities, no matter what; whether your financial issues are big or small, we’re here for you! We’re more than happy to sit down and chat – just reach out.