Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Author: Joe Winn (page 2 of 67)

Your Credit Union Members Want Simple

I Love Choices

I’m the kind of person who rotates between five brands of orange juice (I live in Florida and this is a perfectly normal thing here).

As a tech geek, I also dive into Settings menus on all products to see what I can personalize, edit, or tweak.

Even Choice-Aholics Want A Clear Decision

But even for me, a choice-aholic, there are things I’d rather be decided ahead of time. If I plug it into the wall, I want it to be UL listed. Don’t give me the choice of 6 highly similar products with varying degrees of regulatory approval, safety certifications, or otherwise.

Offer one. One “just right” option.

Variety comes in actual aspects of the product or service. Let the provider whittle down the “backend” complexity. That’s why I’d buy from them, because they did the work so I don’t need to.

Which brings us to you. The smarter choice, the only decision your member should have to make.

Oh Boy! A New Member!

Wonderful, you’ve welcomed a new member to your credit union family. Let’s help them get set up with a checking and savings account, talk about refinancing loans, and perhaps see if a credit card makes sense (use that credit pull to position the conversation around rewards, interest rate, or balance transfer).

Shouldn’t be too hard. That’s only 4 things, and, more than likely, 3 are pertinent to the member. So let’s get that checking account opened first, because it can help make you their PFI. You have more than one? Ok, no problem, we’ll help them decide.

So, should they go with Advantage Checking, Premium Checking, VIP Checking, Rewards Checking, Rewards Plus Checking, Free Checking, Senior Checking, Youth Checking, or…wait, there’s more?

Just like those famous droids, “these aren’t the choices you’re looking for.”

It’s checking. Not choosing your preferred model of F-150 (if you aren’t aware, there’s oodles of options). You only need one. Maybe two. That’s it. If your board insists upon the old and boring free checking, keep it.

Providing Immense Value

You’re about value. So make your checking be something your members smile about having (and even paying for…yeah, seriously). Add a clear monthly fee Premium Checking with more benefits than your members can believe.

Since you’re getting a small monthly fee, offer everything:

  • Dividends (though low, offer higher rates up to a certain dollar amount at very low cost and high perceived value)
  • Rewards on debit transactions
  • All your standard services
  • Plus, value-adds like ID theft monitoring, mobile phone insurance, and more
  • Budget-conscious members, whether young, rebuilding credit, or some other life journey, always have the option of your free checking.

Basic and free or Premium and small fee. Simple.

When’s Too Many Too Many?

Doors Along Wall

That’s a lot of doors. I mean choices. Maybe I’ll just wait here.

Some credit unions have 5 or more checking accounts. That’s. Too. Many. And then you can become eligible for other benefits through achieving a series of Reward Levels. These are based on the depth of a member’s relationship.

Maybe it means lower loan rates or higher dividends. Sometimes it adds ATM fee reimbursement, or other value-adds. I’ve written about this before.

Once we’ve made it through checking, maybe the conversation migrates to an auto loan. How many LOS platforms do you have? Exactly. One. Because more would be unmanageably complicated.

Yet, how many “car resources” do you offer? Find one which offers the best overall experience for your members, and you’re done.

It’s A Trust Thing

Your members joined (and continue to bank with you) because they trust you with their money. That’s saying something. Believe me, if you explain that the credit union has determined “so-and-so” is your preferred option for members, they won’t question it.

Cat and Dog Laying TogetherThey trust you’ve done the work to select only the best solutions. They could search Google. And, most likely, they already did. Then, they asked you.

Your member just wants a place to easily manage their finances! Keep it simple. Then you can focus on improving your members’ lives. Which should be your driving force in every decision.

Disclosure: My company partners with a firm which offers a comprehensive checking solution. It’s in hundreds of CUs and is loved by staff and members. My company also offers a Car Buying platform for CUs. Knowing when members are in the market saves everyone time and money. 

Shifting Baselines & Your Credit Union

Originally published on CUInsight.com.

Ever visit someplace from childhood and think, “wow, I remember it being bigger”? Go back a few times or ask your kids (who are there for the first time) and all seems normal. You’ve just experienced Shifting Baselines.

It’s All In Perceptions

Think of it as a change in the perception of normal. I’m not talking about how your impeccable teenage styles seem ridiculous now. Let’s be honest, flower headbands will always be cool (as will bow ties). This is about one person’s standard becoming another’s outlier.

You may not be familiar with the term, and that’s ok. I’ve only seen it used when discussing environmental change. Even then, only in the oceans; fish size, abundance, and all.

But you’re in luck! I happen to have a background in ocean policy and marine science. It’ll come back around to credit unions, I promise.

The Salty Dog & New Fisherman

Let’s paint a scenario so everyone can grasp Shifting Baselines. We have two fishermen: one, an old salty dog, another freshly joining the industry. The former sings shanties of days gone by, the latter just waits for their first day on the water. Here’s where the trouble begins:

  • Our salty dog (lifelong fisherman) considers a “big fish” 150 lbs. and a “good” catch 1,000 lbs.
  • The newbie (no prior experience in area) is excited to reel in a “big fish” weighing 50 lbs. and sails home with a “good” catch netting (forgive the pun) 400 lbs.

Do you see the issue? What is great for one is ruin for the other. However, the new fisherman has no memory of the “better days” and instead considers their first day the norm. When our salty dog leaves the industry, their standard and memory goes with them.

Things Got Worse. No One Noticed.

Moving forward, smaller fish and fewer of them is expected (without ever realizing the loss). Yet we know the past really was brighter. In fact, who’s to say our old fisherman wasn’t reminiscing over already diminished catches? Maybe their elders sang of even larger fish!

Shifting Baselines In Your Credit Union

Are you suffering from Shifting Baselines in your credit union? Take the opportunity to speak with your longest-serving staff, board members, and even members. Get their take on how the institution has evolved. Are the new normals for the better?

Within the marine realm, Shifting Baselines almost always represent a loss. Does your credit union share the trend, or has the baseline improved?

If I walked in to your branch, my standard would begin at that moment. If compared to a member from 50 years ago, would I be pleasantly surprised or disappointed?

Do you have stories from your credit union’s “old salts”? Share them here or with me on Twitter at @JoeCUGeek.

For more information on how Shifting Baselines applies to our oceans, visit Smithsonian Ocean Portal.

Image credit: Me

Is Your Credit Union Sending Members the Wrong Message?

Originally published on CUInsight.com

This post might not be for you. Or, it could be exactly what you and your credit union team need.

Inspired By: Someone Else’s Faux Pas

I’ll be honest; the inspiration came from a local chamber of commerce, not credit union. So, it’s possible none of you are making this mistake. Unless you are…

We’re going to talk about messaging. Public perception. How you convey yourselves to your target audience. Be it your members or the community at large. Just as it can raise positive awareness, publicity can paint an undesirable picture. I saw this happen with a large chamber of commerce in my area. Pretty sure they didn’t notice the faux pas. So what happened?

Who’s Your Target Audience? (ie. Who do you serve?)

Theater Seating
Who would attend your CU’s show?

First, let’s back up and ensure we are all on the same page. Whether you’re a chamber of commerce or credit union, who is your target audience? Exactly.

Local businesses and their staff, residents, and those you wish to attract to the area.

Who do you serve? Well, your members.

When these two things line up, you can better pursue your mission.

The “Event”

In the case of this chamber of commerce, they held a major event, complete with ribbon cutting by the mayor, to celebrate the opening of…a Krispy Kreme.

Now, I don’t know if their stores are franchise or corporate, yet think about it. Is this the message they really want to promote? That a big, multi-national corporation gets special treatment and recognition, while thousands of local businesses, each with their own unique stories to tell, get ignored?

To clarify, this isn’t something they do for every new business opening, even of chamber members.

Perception Matters

Happy Bearded Man at Desk with Be Happy Note on Forehead
Tell me you wouldn’t want to recognize these dedicated goofballs?

In real estate, the oft-repeated phrase is: “Location, location, location.”

Here, could we say it’s “perception, perception, perception”?

If an institution talks about being there for the “little guys”, then makes a big deal out of the exact opposite, what do you think?

It comes across as hypocritical towards the local businesses they espouse to promote and support.

Where is the event for the local business whose staff and owner overcame enormous struggles to be successful?

Or even to just open their doors?

Like I said, you might not be making this mistake. But in case you are…awareness is a good thing.

PS – This is a great time to solicit stories from members about the greatest challenges they have. Then choose one (or more) and do something to help.

Image credit (because what says recognition and celebration like an anthropomorphized pineapple?!): Pineapple Supply Co. on Unsplash

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