C. Myblog

Non-Value Add Activities: Where Are They?

October 2, 2014

Sometimes we are our own worst enemy—and it’s not intentional. Credit unions have spent the past few decades growing from tight-knit, job-related hubs to financial institutions prevalent in the whole community. Credit union staff are finding that some of the activities and roles that once made sense have become outdated and no longer add value. They are creating roadblocks to the credit union’s success by holding on to traditions because “this is how it’s always been done.”

The hard part is being able to recognize the non-value add (NVA) activities that have developed over the years, and figure out a way to overcome them. For instance, some credit unions still keep paper copies of loan files even though everything is replicated electronically – essentially duplicating effort. This NVA time could be better spent on other income-generating activities for the credit union.

So the question is: What activities are not adding value to the credit union?

A key objective of process improvement is the elimination of waste by identifying and removing NVA and/or improving the product and/or the processing time of value-added activities. Think of NVA as an activity that has no customers, internal or external, or members would not be willing to pay for it if they knew you were performing the activity.

For instance what, and how many, NVA activities are created when the member leaves the branch or hangs up the phone without having a decision on their request for a loan?

Credit unions have seen material improvements in their lending processes by removing NVA activities and focusing on the key parts of the process that do add value. A result of this focus has led to faster decision making and a higher percentage of approved loans getting booked.

The hardest part of reviewing processes for NVA activities can be taking the time required to ask the right questions. During this budget season, challenge all staff to look for NVAs that will add capacity. With a commitment to finding NVA activities and eliminating them, credit unions may find that that time was not spent, it was invested in members, employees and bottom-line earnings.

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