Before joining Arkansas Federal Credit Union of Jacksonville in 2001, as vice president of marketing, Rodney Showmar spent 10 years in the retail industry as a senior buyer with Dillard’s Inc. and as a senior market research analyst with Reliant Energy, a natural gas utility. The Little Rock native and graduate of Little Rock Catholic High School earned a BSBA degree in marketing management from the University of Arkansas and his MBA from Capella University. He was promoted to president and CEO of Arkansas Federal in 2014.
Arkansas Federal Credit Union has 14 branches, more than $1.2 billion in assets and more than 102,000 members.
Arkansas Federal Credit Union has several construction projects underway. Can you tell us about them?
Arkansas Federal recently surpassed the 100,000-member mark, and we are expanding and upgrading our branches to better serve our current and future members. We are currently in the final design phase of our new Hot Springs location and expect to open in the second quarter of 2019. We purchased land on Maumelle Boulevard in North Little Rock for a full-service facility that will break ground in the third quarter of 2019. We also purchased a building on Markham across from the University of Arkansas for Medical Sciences that will be remodeled and open in the fourth quarter of this year. And we’re doing updates to our downtown Little Rock and North Little Rock locations.
About a year ago, you said that Arkansas Federal was shopping for a bank. What has become of that plan?
We are still actively engaged in pursuing a bank acquisition that aligns with our strategic plan. We have learned a great deal about the process and anticipate closing a deal in the next 18-24 months, which will allow us to expand our branch network and membership.
What businesses do you see as your major competitors?
It would be easy to say our competitors are other financial institutions. However, we see our competitors as Amazon and Uber. Today’s consumers not only buy your product, but they also buy your experience. Amazon and Uber have almost perfected the experience. Our goal is to deliver the consumer experience in a consistent, excellent and easy manner, in addition to having superior products and services.
And what sets Arkansas Federal apart from other financial institutions?
While credit unions and banks offer a comparable product set for consumers and businesses, our focus continues to be on value and making a difference for our employees, members and the communities we serve. We know money talks, which is why we offer some of the lowest consumer and commercial lending rates as well as some of the most aggressive dividend rates on our deposit products. We gain members because of our value proposition, and we maintain them by developing and delivering exceptional in-person service, as well as the online and digital experiences today’s consumers demand.
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Additionally, we take great care in ensuring our employees have a good work-life balance along with excellent benefits and upward mobility opportunities, which has earned us a spot as one of the best places to work in Arkansas. Our employees have a 90 percent overall engagement average. That commitment by our employees has led to a significantly higher customer satisfaction than is typical for the industry, as evidenced by our Net Promoter Score.
What was your biggest career mistake and what did you learn from it?
Communication, communication, communication. Every time I think I have communicated all the what, where, who, when and why, I am reminded that the receiver of the communication gets to decide if I have communicated effectively.