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February 28th @ 10:45 am CST

How to Build Salary Ranges and Pay Grades

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March 28th @ 2:00 pm CST

How to Build Salary Ranges and Pay Grades

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Our annual survey has just released with exceptional data you shouldn’t be working without. It’s a tool you must have to accurately tie pay to performance. Our sole focus is the banking and credit union industry, where we work closely with more than 200 clients across the country to optimize their salary ranges. We know this business, and our 2017-18 Salary Survey gives us the data to help you make informed, competitive decisions in the year ahead.

The survey, completed during the summer of 2017, drew twice as many respondents as last year! These 431 participants helped benchmark 114 of the most common positions at banks and credit unions. We then break down their responses by industry, asset size, and even geography. The data is also broken down by bank, credit unions, and a cross-section of the two compiled; you won’t find this data in any other survey. Download your copy for only $795.

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“Our clients wanted to know what a competitive strategy was and there wasn’t any concrete information available in the market," said Christie Summervill, CEO of BalancedComp.

The 55 community banks and credit unions that responded to the short four-question survey had assets from $100M - $4B.

  • 60% reported they do not pay an internal referral fee to employees who refer someone for a mortgage loan.

  • Of the 34.55% who do, the median payout was $50. However, the average payout of $100 demonstrated the wide variation in response.

“We had responses from $500 per closed loan to $5 for a referral," Summervill reflected. The mode was also near $100.

There is no compelling response to indicate that, to be competitive, one must pay an internal fee for mortgage referrals. It would have to be considered in the total framework of the internal compensation philosophy of each organization and the relative impact of mortgage loans for that organization.

In 2016, BalancedComp found that the median total cash compensation for mortgage loan originators exceeds $70,000.

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President-elect Donald Trump committed to “require each federal agency to prepare a list of all of the regulations they impose on American business, and rank them from most critical to health and safety to least critical. Least critical regulations will receive priority consideration for repeal.” While this may spell freedom for some organizations, it will create a need for HR and comp professionals to keep closer tabs on what’s happening in their state​. ​

Here are some regulations that could change during the next four years:

Minimum Wage. Trump suggested tax breaks instead of increasing minimum wage significantly. Twenty-nine states have already taken the initiative to ​increase minimum wage above the federal law, but minimum wage won’t be changing as a result of Trump’s policies.

Fair Labor Standards Act. ​On November 22, a federal judge issued a preliminary injunction preventing the the U.S. Department of Labor’s FLSA overtime rule from taking effect on December 1. The fate of the overtime rule is now uncertain. The Trump administration will take over the USDOL in less than two months’ time, and the incoming administration has repeatedly indicated that it wants to eliminate unnecessary regulations hampering the business community.

Paid Family and Medical Leave. Trump supports six weeks of paid maternity leave for working mothers. This would improve upon the U.S.’s current lack of paid leave policies, but still remains far behind other countries’ policies.

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Modern managers have been almost guilt-tripped with the idea that they don’t give enough praise and recognition to employees. It is said to be the key to engaged employees who are highly productive even when their manager isn’t watching. It has proven to lead to more profitable companies. Employees join companies, but leave supervisors who don’t effectively manage engaged relationships, HR has assured us.

I don’t disagree with any of that, but woe to the supervisor who isn’t wary of its double-edged sword.

I have had several employees in my career who were obviously rising stars. No doubt they were all “my right hand.” We took them to lunch on their anniversary and birthday. They were given high-profile projects to stretch and showcase their talents that could potentially lead them to future promotions.

To coordinate this performance with their pay levels, they were paid at the midpoint of their salary range after only a couple of years in their position. It was easy for me to think I was getting everything right, a model manager, in terms of praise, recognition, and engagement with my employees.

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“The often unrecognized fact is banks and credit unions compete for talent regularly,” explains Christie Summervill, CEO of BalancedComp.

While there are stark and notable differences between their business models, there are negligible differences between their candidate pools. These financial institutions fill more than 90 of the same benchmark positions, each seeking to add the best experience to their teams. It’s more confirmation that competitive salary grades aren’t a luxury, they’re a necessity to gain and retain the best talent.

BalancedComp’s 2016-2017 Salary Survey takes a high-level look at why the connection between banks and credit unions is more important than people assume. Based on responses from more than 200 HR professionals at banks and credit unions, across five asset sizes up to $1 billion, we’ve identified some key differences between these organizations. Where do you compare?


Credit unions hire more employees than banks in fulfillment of their member service mission.

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Banks have more supervisors, but lower employee count, for most asset categories.

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