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  • Writer's pictureW.B. King

Women in Technology: Pioneer FCU’s Tracey Miller

Updated: May 28

In what is a recurring feature, Finopotamus spotlights innovative women who are positively impacting technology applications in the credit union industry, and beyond. For this issue, we visited with Pioneer Federal Credit Union’s SVP/VP of Operations Tracey Miller.


By W.B. King


When Tracey Miller accepted the electronic funds transfer (EFT) processor position at Pioneer Federal Credit Union in 2007, she knew little about the credit union space, but was quickly bit by the “people helping people” bug.


“Before Pioneer, I was not familiar with the differences between credit unions and banks. But I think once I started working at Pioneer, I really started to see that our visions are different,” Miller told Finopotamus. “Everything that credit unions do is for the betterment of our members. The relationships are unbeatable.”


Tracey Miller

Miller’s entrance into the tech space was an outgrowth of her focus on the “movement of money.” Before assuming her current role as the credit union’s SVP/VP of Operations, Miller also served as a compliance officer and vice president of branch operations.


“I have an undergraduate and a master’s degree in accounting. For me, it wasn’t necessarily about becoming an accountant, but more about learning the regulations and compliance pieces,” said Miller, who studied at University of Phoenix and Colorado Technical University, respectively. “There was not one singular moment in my life or career when I realized I liked tech, but my experience at Pioneer made me more interested.”


Leading by Example


The $750 million-plus Mountain Home, Idaho-based Pioneer FCU supports more than 50,000 members and 188 employees, including eight business and systems intelligence employees and six IT employees who report to the credit union’s vice president of innovation, Miller explained. Over the last 17 years, she has seen a dramatic shift in demographics.


“When I first started at Pioneer, our entire IT team was comprised of men. Over the last few years, we’ve slowly started to see more women apply for IT positions. Now, we have a fifty-fifty blend of employees by gender, so it is not as male-dominated anymore,” she said.


“A career in IT can be so varied and interesting as there is more to offer than just learning computer systems; it is a real career path that can take many enriching directions,” Miller continued. “The technology realm is fascinating and offers so much career growth and opportunity.”


Along the way, Miller has received a good deal of support from colleagues, including Mikell Hite, Pioneer FCU’s executive vice president and chief financial officer.


“Her advice was instrumental as I started to move my way up through Pioneer. She always encouraged me to step out of my comfort zone and saw my potential far beyond the accounting space,” Miller shared. “She encouraged me to move into a compliance role, which lead me to be Pioneer’s first compliance officer that worked directly with the CEO, Curt Perry, who later also became a mentor to me.”


Hite and Perry, Miller further explained, encourage her to share innovative ideas that she believes will help the organization move forward.


“Their mentoring modeled me into a strategic leader that can communicate a vision and lead a team into the unknown without having to follow others. At Pioneer, our team feels confident and supported to voice their opinions,” she said. “I use this same mentality to mentor others.”

As an example of “paying it forward,” Miller said 10 years ago she hired two gentlemen to serve as branch managers and encouraged them to apply for various positions and pursue their career goals.


“They are now both VPs,” she noted. “Leading people and giving them the resources to take control over their careers is one of Pioneer’s central values, as well as my own.”


Offering Convenience and Efficiency


Creating the best member experience is central to Pioneer FCU’s strategy, Miller explained. To this end, all departments remain focused on finding member-centric tools that offer convenience and efficiency.


“Our small-and medium-sized businesses (SMBs) want to send and receive money quicker, they want more sophisticated accounting systems, and they want to enable their entire team to access digital platforms to better manage their business,” Miller said of a recent challenge.



This led to a recent partnership with the Portland, Ore.-based digital banking provider, Tyfone. The company implemented its nFinia Business Digital Banking platform as well as its suite of payments products, including Skip-A-Pay, Quick Pay and the FedNow Instant Payment Xchange (IPX), Miller noted.


“IPX establishes faster payments, fewer touch points, lowered fraud, and an overall better digital experience through our digital channels. The business solution enables members to quickly access both personal and business banking accounts with a single login,” she told Finopotamus.


“Business owners and administrators can efficiently manage user account access and create custom roles, so any team member can address their financial needs,” she continued. “Additionally, the platform allows us to easily integrate existing third-party business applications to further support our SMB members and meet their needs.”


Working Collaboratively


Fintech partnerships that align with credit union goals, Miller noted, are critical to furthering the credit union movement.


“I think we have done a great job at forming strong relationships with fintechs that serve our members. Tyfone shares our values and is completely committed to exceeding our expectations,” she said. “From day one, we felt that Tyfone was committed not only to building innovative technology but to also fostering a collaborative relationship with us. What stands out about Tyfone the most is that they don’t put us in a box.”


By working “hand in hand” with Pioneer FCU, Miller said that Tyfone can often anticipate members’ needs. This type of fluid fintech partnership, she added, allows Pioneer FCU to remain viable “in today’s competitive financial environment.”

 

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