When Trinh Le-Coulter first encountered the concept of a credit union, she was in the 11th grade. A friend’s mom was a credit union member. The friend said that to bank there, you had to “belong.” It made an impression – an exclusive, country club-style impression that, looking back, Trinh believes could have influenced where she chose to bank as an adult.
Recently, however, Trinh’s perception of credit unions took a dramatic 180-degree turn.
While getting more involved in the Des Moines tech scene, she ran across LenderClose. Through several interactions with the fintech startup, Trinh learned that the people who led LenderClose not only had an infectious entrepreneurial spirit and appreciation for diversity and inclusion; they were also ardent champions of the credit union movement. Why, she wondered.
As Trinh does when faced with a burning question, she got to researching. Not long into her investigation, she encountered the credit union industry’s people-helping-people philosophy. That’s when everything Trinh thought she knew about credit unions changed.
Falling in Love with Local Banking
Now a part of the senior leadership team at LenderClose, Trinh, too, has caught the credit union bug. Citing the industry’s almost obsessive commitment to community, she says she feels a strong kinship with the humans who serve at these financial cooperatives. That’s because her own local community has been a stalwart and supportive force in her life since arriving in Des Moines in 1995. Coming from what Trinh describes as humble beginnings in Vietnam, she took an almost immediate liking to the new life Iowa’s capital city provided her and her family.
“Who and where I am today is because of people helping people,” Trinh said. “That’s why the member-centric aspirations of the clients we serve at LenderClose are so appealing to me. Treating people with kindness and putting others first comes naturally to me and the people I get to work with everyday as a part of this team.”
A Place to Get the Best Customer Service
Having built her career in operations roles, Trinh is cognizant of the reputation for callousness that operation pros sometimes carry. So, she is quick to explain, neither process improvements nor efficiencies need to come at human cost. It’s quite the opposite, actually. Trinh has found that changes to “the way we’ve always done things” almost always improve the human condition.
Trinh’s approach to optimizing operations starts – not surprisingly given her inclinations toward community – with service. She shares a philosophy with Tony Hsieh, the former Zappos CEO. Among the principles Hsieh touted was that building a brand is less about what a company makes for customers and more about how a company makes customers feel. He famously said, “…10 years from now, people won’t even realize we started out selling shoes. They will just think about Zappos as a place to get the best customer service.”
The LenderClose culture is optimal for just such an ambition to flourish, maybe even in record time. While Trinh has many ideas for guiding the startup up to its next phase of growth, she will focus initially on ensuring LenderClose team members have everything they need to help community lenders provide an exceptional borrower experience.
It’s Not About Us. It’s About the Borrower.
Being an invisible support for community lending teams excites Trinh, who believes that people and brands too often prioritize attaining recognition for their work.
“It’s not about LenderClose. We’re in the business of making our partners look good,” she said. “The borrower doesn’t care about our awesome technology or our seamless integration. They care how quickly they get a ‘yes’ from their lender or how fast their home equity loan closes. They don’t know it’s LenderClose making those things happen. Community-based lenders are the heroes of the story, and that’s how we like it.”