Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: goals (page 1 of 3)

Trusted Partners

Originally published on CUInsight.com

Depending on the audience, I have a variety of secret lives. Here, my secret life is that of a credit union marketing partner. When working with CUs, I’m a secret ninja and industry blogger.

Now you’re wondering about the ninja part.

As a strategic partner, it is in everyone’s best interests to work closely together. A credit union is never “just another client”, whereas, we strive to never be “just another vendor”. Some of our relationship partners are real friends, and discussions can evolve beyond weather and sports into family. We are in it for the long term to help every partner (and individual staff/member) exceed their goals.

This is often not how we are received.

We understand. All of us have been in a business relationship that felt one-sided up-front or started out great, then fell apart over time. How can we know which to trust and which to cast away? Better off just keeping them all on a tenuous balance: Work together, but don’t share enough to give them any “power” over you. Ensure the contract protects you, then protect your members just the same.

Thing is, I can’t disagree with anything in the previous paragraph. Ensuring every member’s safety, privacy, and satisfaction is top priority, and nothing should ever compromise this approach. Yet your partners are how you expand member offerings, and any barriers you place can affect the member experience. Where’s the balance?

As part of our offerings, we assist credit unions to place landing pages on their sites linking to a partner portal for their members. The linked site is owned by a third-party, but contractually covered for privacy, due diligence…you name it. Despite this, some credit unions still pop up large warnings when navigating to the pages; we call them speed bumps. Not a great way to inspire confidence for your members.

None are doing this out of spite. All believe it is a requirement from NCUA, and their own counsel or examiner reiterates this idea. Hey, when the regulator says to do something, you don’t argue!

Trouble is, this is all based on a non-binding piece of guidance from 2003 (PDF). Remember the web back then? We all had sparkling unicorns and weather banners adorning our sites. Because, Internet! Given these were coming from unrelated third-parties, it made sense to inform your members of potential risks navigating there. Today, portals are custom sites designed specifically for the institution, with specifications laid bare in lengthy contracts. If that isn’t a trusted site, I don’t know what is. Even more odd, many credit unions have warnings when clicking the NCUA icon…or their loan application!

Each speed bump warning may seem innocuous, but they create falloff in member clicks, and generate suspicion in your members. “If my credit union doesn’t trust them, why should I?” It’s a valid question.

Whenever you engage in a partnership or contractual agreement, I believe it should be to each other’s benefit. Both parties gain equally and with mutual respect. If you ever feel that is not the case, it’s probably not a great partnership. Putting barriers in the way of these efforts tilts the balance of trust. If your MSRs were recommending a service, they wouldn’t say, “We have this great program, and it would be perfect for you, but be careful, since we don’t really trust them with any of your information.”

Why do it online?

Disclosure: Credit unions working closer with their partners may include my company. Therefore, I may benefit financially from their changes.

Lessons From a Long Run

Regular readers may remember that I participated in the runDisney Princess Enchanted 10K. It was a fabulous event, despite the cold temperatures and early start time. After that race, my running partner and I committed to even more…a half marathon, hosted by Disney once again, in November. We are signed up, and just finished our first “dress rehearsal” training run. Covering over 14 miles of south Florida terrain (a half marathon is 13.1 miles), we learned another meaning of endurance.

When the weather is nice, it’s to the outside we go. However, our normal training is indoors, on a treadmill. Bor-ing. There, you are painfully aware of every milestone. I begin to measure based on other people’s workouts. “The guy in the black shirt has finished three sets…guess I’ve gone another half mile. The girl on the sit up machine is nearly through all the angles…half mile, perhaps?” Or, you have the TVs, with terrible news, a cooking show, and some soap opera. At least give me some reruns of Stargate SG-1, you know! Headphones make it better, but music becomes a distraction, not an activity.

The half marathon distance eliminates these challenges. It’s not like we were going to even bother doing it on a treadmill! We ran to a nearby park, circled part of it, and rounded back home. On this route, we watched the model airplanes being flown, cheered on those playing disc golf, and people-watched at the grocery store, along the foot paths, and more.

We were focused on everything around us and still working towards acomplishing our goal. In fact, by being less focused on our distance, we were more easily able to achieve it!

Same goes for your credit union. You’ve got monthly, quarterly, and annual goals. Do you hover over them like a hawk? Or, do you understand what they are, then “forget” and do your best to serve your members?

On a long run, you cannot see your finish line. It’s there, but so far away. So, instead of squinting and searching the whole time, enjoy what’s around you. Before you know it, you’re traversing the final quarter mile, exceeding your lending goals, and looking success right in the face!

Image credit: http://a.dilcdn.com/bl/wp-content/uploads/sites/2/2014/04/LionKing_Simba.gif

Just Keep Swimming

“If you’re not being chased by a lion, why would you run?”, a friend recently asked me. It’s a good question. Isn’t that why we developed bicycles, horse-drawn carriages, and cars? There is a special feeling to covering distance on your own foot power.

Last year I decided, along with a family member, to train for a 5K (3.1 miles for Imperial folk). Our first race was in the middle of a Florida summer. Think 90 degrees, with humidity so thick you had to swim through it. Seriously, it was so humid the air was dripping. In other words, about the worst conditions imaginable. Still, we finished. No world records, just an eye towards the next event, a Thanksgiving morning 5K along the beach. It was a wonderful run which we both completed with no trouble.

Our goal was Disney.

runDisney hosts events at both of their parks throughout the year. We rushed to register for the Princess Enchanted 10K at Epcot. Even registration was a challenge…imagine every runner hitting the same site at once, plus, our internet connection went down to add stress. Somehow, we signed up despite the obstacles. But wait…10K? That’s twice a 5K! Sure is. Just keep swimming.

Last weekend, our efforts went to the test. Gathering at the Epcot parking lot at 3:30 a.m., we joined over 10,000 runners in pursuit of our goal. As the fireworks launched, we ran! If the first race was crazy hot, this was crazy cold. At least moving warms you up!

runDisney says, “Every mile is magic.” It’s true. The experience cannot be explained, from the camaraderie, to the character photos along the route, to the before and after party, it was a magical morning. My family member set a new personal record, despite stopping for photos throughout the race.

So, goal accomplished. That’s it, we’re done improving, right? Wrong! Not a minute past the finish line, we agreed to return in November for the half marathon (13.1 miles). Just keep swimming.

It’s easy to get complacent when things are good. We could have stuck with 5K races. Even 10K. You could have stopped when you reached your initial lending goal. But you didn’t. You set new ones, and together, achieved those too!

Dory may be forgetful, but she knows what it takes to accomplish anything. Just keep swimming.

Image credit: http://wac.450f.edgecastcdn.net/80450F/thefw.com/files/2013/03/Just-Keep-Swimming.gif

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