S2 EP16 Mark Ritter: Taking the Helm Someone Elses Troubled Ship

October 15, 2019

Growth in the Financial Industry

Meet Mark Ritter. Mark is CEO of Member Business Financial Services. That’s a Credit Union Service Organization, serving multiple credit unions. He’s an expert on credit unions and the business loan world. On this episode, he takes us on his growth journey and what it was like to be the fifth CEO in 5 years at MBFS, an organization that had never made money prior to his leadership. 

Mark was the founder of Members 1st FCU's credit union business lending program that grew to be one of the top ten in the nation in number of loans and balances outstanding for federal credit unions. He also developed a participation program that grew to one of the top buyers and sellers of credit union business loans in the eastern United States. He's done extensive work with branch retail staff, business lending operational and sales staff, and credit unions throughout the Mid-Atlantic States to educate and train them on the merits of member business lending. His primary role at MBFS is leading the day-to-day operations of the organization and consulting with credit unions on planning the delivery of business services to their membership.

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Taking the Helm of a Troubled Ship

After building Members 1st Federal Credit Union’s business lending program’s into the top ten in the nation in the number of loans and balances outstanding for federal credit unions, Mark took on the challenge of being the CEO of MBFS. Mark was the fifth CEO in five years for the organization, which lost money every month of its existence. In the past six years at MBFS, Mark increased the number of credit unions the CUSO services by over 500%, grew the revenue by 800%, and ensured positive cash flow every full year he’s been at the CUSO. 

What's it like taking over a business that's stumbling, to put it nicely? What challenges did Mark face? 

Mark says taking over involved a lot of listening and investigating. His intention was to find out what was working and what wasn't, no matter the area. 

"Part of the problem wasn't just figuring out what was wrong. It was figuring out why things were wrong, and keep going back a couple steps." - Mark Ritter

The Decision to Go Remote

When Mark took over as CEO for MBFS, they were an in-house organization. Today they're completely remote.

MBFS began the remote journey with its IT team. Seeing the value in hiring for culture and talent rather than those who happen to be close to the company has proven to be a great move. 

In fact, clients didn't realize the move had been made until MBFS announced it months later, proving that the move was seamless. 

Mark says hiring for a home-based employee is much different. He says they look for people where the job is a good fit for them, and they're a good cultural fit for MBFS. 

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