"One of the Most Useful Tools in our Toolbox"
The $2.6 billion FirstOntario Credit Union (FirstOntario) has made significant gains in controlling their workforce costs with the help of FMSI’s staff productivity reporting and branch scheduler. By providing detailed monthly metrics highlighting their optimal staffing levels based on demand, FMSI helped FirstOntario achieve a 16% decrease over the last year in their average labor cost per transaction for their front-line staff.
Growing in the Right Way
Five years ago FirstOntario had a strategic shift towards strongly focusing on organic market growth. They wanted to avoid adding a potential excess number of new employees to support their growth, while not burdening their staff with an increase in business.
“With our staff cost 25% higher than our competitors, we were very conscientious about adding staff in the right ways during our growth mode,” says Kelly McGiffin, the President and Chief Executive Officer at FirstOntario. “FMSI provided us with the metrics to effectively control our cost, allowing us to know precisely where and when we needed the right number of staff.”
FirstOntario has been able to decrease its total staff expense as a percentage of total assets from 1.9% to 1.2% in the last five years—all while doubling in size.
Objective Data for a Unionized Labor Force
Having objective staffing data from FMSI was especially helpful for FirstOntario during discussions with their unionized labor force.
“The FMSI optimal staffing reports allowed us to sit down with the union and show them objectively where it makes sense to add more FTEs and conversely where it doesn’t,” says McGiffin. “Initially the union representatives were a little suspicious of our intentions with the FMSI data. However, they quickly realized it was not simply a staff reduction initiative, but rather a powerful tool that helps us invest more wisely in our business, which ultimately would create new jobs.”
FIrstOntario has the largest union for any financial institution in their geographic foot print.
Reinvesting the FMSI Savings
FirstOntario has been able to partially fund their growth strategy by reinvesting the labor cost savings they have earned by better aligning branch staff with account holder activity. McGiffin pointed out a number of crucial pieces in their growth strategy, including:
Since implementing the FMSI system, FirstOntario has reduced their excess waiting for work expenses by 50%, and they have improved their front-line staff productivity by 19%.
Best Practices from FirstOntario Credit Union CEO
About FirstOntario Credit Union
In business since 1939, FirstOntario Credit Union has more than $2.9 billion in funds under management, serves over 90,000 Members and offers a full suite of banking products including daily banking, mortgages, lines of credit, loans and investments. FirstOntario operates 27 branches serving 13 communities across the Hamilton, Halton, Niagara, Haldimand/Norfolk and Oxford regions and Membership at FirstOntario is open to anyone. FirstOntario is a proud advocate of the communities they serve and supports many important community organizations. FirstOntario is a founding sponsor for Hamilton Hive, and supports Co-operative Young Leaders (CYL) and youth at risk through Soupfest. FirstOntario also offers a scholastic bursary program and a microlending program in the Hamilton and Niagara regions. For more information please visit: www.FirstOntarioCU.com