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For Joseph Beck, Jr., new Members 1st role is "throwback" to banking's past

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Joseph Beck, Jr., senior vice president, business lending, Members 1st Federal Credit Union
Joseph Beck, Jr., senior vice president, business lending, Members 1st Federal Credit Union

Joseph Beck, 53, joined Members 1st Federal Credit Union in October as senior vice president in business lending, a newly created position.

He came from Fulton Bank, where he was commercial market executive and senior vice president, and previously held senior positions with Sovereign Bank, Commerce Bank and M&T Bank.

Beck has a bachelor’s degree in business administration, with concentrations in finance, economics, computer science and accounting, from Elizabethtown College, where he serves as an advisory council member.

He and his wife reside in West Donegal Township and have two sons.

Q: How will your role in business lending be different from similar roles you held in the industry?

A: It’s almost a throwback to the old days of banking. Over the years everyone’s gotten very specialized, but here it will be a combination of sales and front-line member contact, along with managing the underwriting group and the documentation and operations groups. It’s a collaborative effort, because everyone reports up through one position.

The other thing we’re doing differently is we’ve basically come out with a concierge service, where we have relationship managers that work closely with our business loan officers and they’re also assigned to each business client and they basically are the concierge to any financial needs the members may have. It’s a more unique team approach than I’ve experienced in some of the other roles I’ve had.

How can businesses make themselves more attractive to potential lenders?

If they are prepared by either having good internal financials or someone focused on the financial side of their business, it’s extremely helpful from a lender’s perspective. I think it helps the businesses run themselves much more effectively. It makes it so much easier when we sit down and have a dialogue, if someone’s looking at a building expansion or an increase to a line of credit or purchase of additional machinery and equipment, because you can identify very quickly which companies have done a good job of managing their operations. That makes it much easier when we’re going through our underwriting and loan approval process.

What is the biggest change you have seen in your 30-plus years in the banking industry?

Years ago, most financial institutions didn’t even have compliance departments; it would be someone in an operational role having oversight of compliance. Since the downturn, in the credit crunch, it seems all financial institutions just have a lot more of a regulatory burden to deal with. In the old days we could meet with someone and be ready to process the loan request and give them access to their cash fairly quickly, and now it’s a little bit more of a labored process because of all the regulatory information you need to have. From a member experience it probably feels like it’s a slower process than it would have been 20 years ago.

What is your favorite way to combat the winter doldrums?

I try to stay in reasonably decent shape, it helps me stay positive throughout the winter months. I’m normally an outdoorsy guy and I don’t appreciate the cold weather. I follow high school and college wrestling, so I attend a lot of those different events with a crazy group of guys I’ve known for quite a while. The wintertime is great for periodic boat shows throughout the region, so I try to go because they remind you warmer days are yet to come. It keeps us positive.

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