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Case Studies

Police & Nurses Credit Society, Australia

Introduction

The Barrington Consulting Group are Agents for Argenti in West, North and South Austalia. The Police & Nurses Credit Society retained the services of The Barrington Consulting Group to guide them through The Argenti Strategic Planning process in July 2008.

Background

Police & Nurses Credit Society Limited is the only Credit Society still owned by Western Australians and is the largest locally owned and operated financial institution in Western Australia. The Society offers a range of financial products and services and enjoys enviable member satisfaction ratings of up to 93% which was reinforced in May 2007 when Police & Nurses were named as the Best Credit Society in Australia by the Australian Banking and Finance Magazine.

The past year has seen Police and Nurses face a number of challenges, some of which may continue into the coming years including:

  • An unsolicited takeover proposal by Home Building Society
  • A squeeze on credit driven by the sub-prime crisis in the US impacting on cost of fund
  • New anti-moneylaundering legislation introduced in December 2007 and Basel 2 regulations introduced in January 2008

  • A strong economy with high retail spending driving inflationary pressure which has resulted in interest rate rises. These rises are now starting to bite with signs of a slow down in the economy in more recent months.
  • A tight labour market
  • A slowing ofthe housing market.
  • Other possible takeover approaches.
  • Cultural change to facilitate a shift to member-centric organisation.

The existing Police and Nurses Strategic Plan was developed and endorsed by the Board in 2006, however the implementation of the plan was somewhat railroaded by the unsolicited takeover by Home Building Society.

Barrington Consulting was approached by Police & Nurses to provide assistance in the development of a new strategic plan. Early discussions with CEO Fred Huis indicated that previous strategic planning processes had been relatively successful but had tried to include too many activities which had hampered effective implementation.

Police & Nurses selected the Argenti™ planning system following a review of a number of systems and a proposal provided by Barrington.

Process

The planning process using the Argenti™ system went very smoothly. It included the selection of a planning team which consisted of the Police & Nurses leadership team and a facilitator provided by Barrington. The process involved a number of workshops largely involving the planning team exclusively but also involving a greater number of staff particularly in the early stages to ensure thorough understanding of the issues and ensure engagement.

The Argenti™ process requires significant effort to be applied to agreement of the beneficiaries of the organization and the subsequent beneficiary performance indicator, (BPI) which ultimately becomes the high level target for the life of the strategic plan. Planning team members then individually and collectively agreed what they thought the BPI would be in the absence of any new strategies. The difference between the forecast and the target was then identified as a gap which new strategies had to address.

The Argenti™ process required Police & Nurses to be very focused on the selection of the strategic issues or “elephants” which were identified as the result of the development and agreement of a rigorous SWOT analysis. The numbers of issues were limited to six which would or could have a massive impact on the viability of the organization. This helped to ensure that the planning team spent time on the right issues. The recognition of these issues then enabled Police & Nurses to focus on identifying appropriate strategies to achieve the desired outcome.

Outcome

The process helped Police & Nurses to develop a strategic plan which they and their Board believe will lead to the achievement of their objectives in a very competitive and volatile market. The leadership team identified that a cultural change was required across the whole organization led by them to ensure that a member-centric approach was adopted by all staff which would enable continued strong satisfaction and increase retention of members. It was recognized that this approach would offer significant differentiation relative to the competition.

Testimonial

CEO Fred Huis and CFO Mr Dave Spearman are now advocates of the Argenti™ process. Initial reticence in the process has been replaced with confidence having witnessed the positive impacts of the process on the development of the strategic plan.