Credit Union Geek

Marketing, Strategy, and The Force by Joe Winn

Tag: rewards

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. 

$$$ For Charity, Love for Credit Unions

In a partnership between CUNA and Love My Credit Unions (CU Solutions Group), good deeds and great rewards abound. Know how I’m always talking about getting your efforts out there? Well, if sharing to CU Social Good isn’t enough on its own, here’s a reason your entire community can support: Big money for local charities.

Say hello to Share the Love Campaign (They call it the 1st annual, but I’m sorry, the first year doesn’t get “annual” billing. Next year, no problem!). The love being shared is that of your credit union, its members, and community contributions made by each. Yes, we know you’re giving back. Here’s a chance to tell that story. With video!

As part of the Share the Love Campaign, credit unions are encouraged to create short video clips telling their charitable story. Make them funny. Make them emotional. Make sure they are under 90 seconds. On October 1, every video will be posted. Then it’s time to vote! Members, charity supporters, and bank customers (yes, everyone) can choose their preferred stories. So make yours engaging!

Winners will be separated by asset size, with the smallest award being a $10,000 donation, and a new set chosen each month (through December).

You may think large credit unions and charities have an advantage, and you’d be right, but since everyone sees all posts, do your best and it could be amongst the finalists! Tell your members, your community…anyone! Because what’s good for your credit union is huge for your community.

Which sounds a bit like the credit union mission.

Looking Good By Doing Your People Good

If your credit union has a record year of awesomeness, do you reap any benefits? Do the CEO and board offer you a raise? Maybe first choice in the holiday kickball game? If nothing else, will songs be sung of your glorious battles?

Success should be rewarded, of course. This helps reinforce good activities and inspire future successes. What if I said there was a strategy your CU could take that almost ensures regional, if not national, exposure?

Of course, you might be doing it already, in which case, skip over all the boring explanation parts and get right to the marketing suggestions at the end. Only I’m not telling where one section ends and another begins…good luck! (It’s probably easier just to read the whole thing)

What’s the first line of relationship between your institution and member? The team of member relations agents! Who establishes the first layers of trust and advice for your members? Yes, that same bunch. Are they also invested in everyone’s success?

It will require a bit of tracking, but what if you rewarded your employees every time they helped approve (and close) a loan? Or every time a member took on a new service through their suggestions? Say, $25 for a car loan, $50 for a mortgage, $5 for GAP…the values are up to you and your accounting team. How much more invested in the CU’s success will they be if every week, they see the bonuses for their referrals?

Ok, so that’s the strategy. How do we make the CU look good in the industry? Marketers, take note. Go ask for those numbers. How much did they make in addition to their salary? Might a short article about how your credit union has rewarded their employees (insert dollar value here) rise to the top of industry publications? Especially coupled with a statement from the CEO about how you had a breakthrough year compared to the industry average? Who wouldn’t publish a story about a CU rewarding thousands to their employees for above and beyond performance?

Your members are happy. Your employees are happy. The CU looks awesome. Industry journals love it. In the words of Stephen Colbert, “You’re welcome, America.”

Disclosure: If our own CU clients implement employee incentive/reward programs, they will likely do more business in ancillary services. If we happen to offer one of those services, we have more success as well.

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