After a distinguished career at HSBC, Tracy Redies assumed the top post at B.C.’s second-biggest credit union, Coast Capital Savings, in early June. Though she goes from having 140 branches under her purview to 50, Redies says the new work will be more complex.
Lloyd Craig, your predecessor at Coast, was there for 23 years. What part of his legacy do you want to keep or change?
The company has great staff rapport and customer rapport, and I think that’s the legacy of Lloyd’s leadership. Those are things we want to keep. One of the things I’d like to change is to make sure we have the right people, structure and processes to take it to the next level.
What do you see as “the next level”?
The goal is to take Coast coast-to-coast, although that will take more than a year.
What did you do at HSBC?
I was with HSBC for 20 years and had 14 different positions. I’ve basically done everything except for washing the windows and cleaning the kitchen – from commercial banking to personal financial services to wealth management. I ran our global Internet development group. I’ve had a very broad background in financial services.
Describe your greatest strength.
I have a passion for financial services –
Whoa, whoa, whoa.
No, really, I do. I really enjoy this business because it’s complex and involves working with different types of people, solving complex problems and building businesses. Another thing I’ve enjoyed thus far is the ability to build teams.
How do you ensure you’re building a good team?
You want to make sure that the behavioural or cultural fit of the individual works with the team. I’ve seen situations in which you bring in smart people but they don’t fit with the culture.
How do you determine if a person is a fit?
What I do is have new people interviewed by a number of the people they’ll be working with, their peers and potential superiors. That’s the way. Sometimes you get it right; sometimes you get it wrong.
How do you view the brand of Coast Capital?
“Simple financial services, delivered in an intuitive way for customers” is how I would define it. We have brand awareness of about 90 per cent in B.C. When you consider that we were virtually unknown four years ago, that’s really amazing. Financial services are complicated for most people. An organization that can break it down, make it easy – to me that represents a real opportunity.
What’s your perfect weekend away from the stress of the office?
Going down for a tour of the Napa Valley.
Have a favourite varietal?
I like the big reds, but unfortunately they don’t like me. I get migraines, so I tend to keep toward the Chardonnays.
At the end of a long, fruitful relationship with Coast Capital, what would you want them to say about you when you leave?
That she took it to the next level.