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SPIRE Credit Union
Cliff Wantz, Vice President, Lending
“Wipfli brought in really smart people. They are true partners who’ve been just as excited about the results as we have been. The solution has worked phenomenally. We’re able to take all the data we have, analyze it, slice and dice it on the fly, and make confident decisions, instantly. It’s the only solution that can respond faster than the market.”

SPIRE Credit Union is a not-for-profit, member-owned, financial cooperative founded in 1934. Headquartered in Falcon Heights, Minnesota, with 17 branches, it is the fastest-growing credit union in the state, currently serving more than 100,000 members in Minnesota and Wisconsin, with more than $1 billion in assets.


Given its long, established history and recent rapid growth, SPIRE was having difficulty viewing and making business sense of its massive database. Among the issues were a lack of data consistency and a lack of uniformity, thanks to a host of wide-ranging definitions within more than 2,000 reports, creating further reporting inconsistencies.


To help the organization better utilize its data to inform better decisions, Wipfli presented and implemented the business intelligence solution Qlik Sense®. The firm provided exploration and guidance to help SPIRE’s leaders define what the organization wanted to accomplish with its data, establish the appropriate key performance indicators, identify the kinds of dashboards and visualizations that would enable the insight they sought, and load all that existing data into Qlik Sense® in order to achieve its objectives.

SPIRE was able to get insights quickly and make smart decisions right off the bat. Once the data was loaded, visualizations came rapidly, allowing SPIRE to answer some core questions it had previously been unable to pin down. For example, under the previous system, SPIRE had no real way of knowing the average life of different loan types because the hard data simply did not support a clear answer. Once its data was loaded, the institution had visualizations within two days.


By creating analytics through the Qlik Sense® solution, SPIRE has achieved better insight into its portfolio profitability. Now the organization can determine the average life of various loans to effectively price its portfolio and examine the risk. With this more accurate information, SPIRE expanded from a 4-tier loan rate system to a 12-tier one and can more accurately measure the performance and volume within the different tiers. The insights have further allowed SPIRE to tweak its rates accordingly, pushing its yield up. Pricing and product decisions are now based entirely on facts and not on “gut.” In fact, one particular type of loan was anecdotally thought to be unprofitable. However, analytics illustrated just the opposite. As a result, SPIRE increased its loan limits and its lending within that particular loan type.

In addition, SPIRE is now able to instantly demonstrate its data, performance proof points, and the decisions supporting its exponential growth, which has instilled further confidence in the credit union’s actions among its NCUA examiners.