Email Marketing vs. Automated Marketing for Credit Unions

Choosing how you want to engage with your members isn’t always easy. There are countless tools in the marketing space, and some are demonstrably better than others. In this blog, we’ll explore which is better: email marketing or automated marketing for your credit union.

 

To compare email vs. automated marketing services we’ll talk about a few things: member relationships, digital engagement, and marketing efficacy. If you work for a credit union marketing department, then this blog may be of particular interest to you.

 

 

When Marketing and Being a Member of the Community Align

 

I still miss the days when I was a member of Idaho Central Credit Union—I used to ride past my local branch, and a friendly employee would be outside grilling. I’d get a free hot dog (or two) and an iced tea and chat with them on the lawn.

 

One of the things that struck me about that kind of member engagement was that it was so casual. It met an immediate need of mine: I was hungry, and they had food. However, the most interesting part to me was that—although it was for member appreciation—they offered food and beverages to anyone walking by. Anyone!

 

When I think about how best to engage members—prospective and current—I think about what kind of value can be provided. ICCU hosted those little lawn cookouts not just to thank their member, but to remind their members that they care. Plus, they invited others to the party in a low-stakes, casual atmosphere.

 

Which leads me to my larger point: a close, personal touch is always better for strengthening member relationships.

 

Which Option Improves Member Relationships?

 

Email is an integral part of the way people and businesses communicate. There’s no denying that it’s effective and efficient.

 

However, email is a one-sided affair. People don’t respond to credit union emails. Sure, they may open them—and opening the email can tell the credit union a good deal of pertinent information. Still, it’s limited engagement on the member’s part.

 

The other reality is that email marketing campaigns can’t always tell when to engage with members. A credit union might send out an email to 10,000 members, of which 10% will get opened. Sending the same email a week later to the members who didn’t open it will garner the same interaction rate.

 

The problem with email marketing campaigns is that they can’t be customized to fit an individual member’s preferences, habits, or needs. Similarly, they can’t identify specific products or services tailored to a member’s digital engagement profile.

 

Measuring Digital Engagement

 

When comparing email marketing vs. automated marketing for credit unions, it’s critical to measure digital engagement.

 

Email marketing campaigns allow you to see your members’ interaction with your emails. That knowledge is critical, and it can inform your marketing team how to proceed.

 

Automated marketing programs do the same thing. Additionally, they also track member engagement in social media, on your website, and any other relevant online portal.

 

After only a short period of time, automated marketing programs can tell you important details that can shape the way you interact with your members. Instead of knowing that a member opened an email—or tends to open certain types of emails—you can learn about their financial habits, their preferences, what services they might need, and any significant life events that concern the credit union.

 

Improving Marketing Efficacy

 

One of the best features of automated marketing platforms for credit unions is the flexibility and control they provide.

 

Automated marketing platforms enable faster, more efficient member engagement. They can provide sophisticated automated workflows, triggered email campaigns, and dynamic list segmentation. Automated marketing platforms and Client Relationship Management (CRM) software handle the following needs:

  • Running blogs
  • Integrating with social media
  • Manage landing pages
  • Handling forms
  • Initiate email nurturing campaigns
  • Scoring leads in real time

The lead scoring in particular is what keeps marketing automation software at the cutting edge. By tracking the digital engagement of current and prospective members or clients, automated CRM tells your credit union about who’s interested in what, and when.

 

Email campaigns call tell you who clicked on your email. They may also send further triggered emails.

 

Which Is Better in the Long Run?

 

I shared an anecdote about ICCU at the beginning because it had a lasting impact on me. I lived in Boise only for a few years while I finished graduate school. Nevertheless, they left a strong impression on me, and I think they’re a model for how to meet, engage with, and ultimately understand their members.

 

Credit unions who want that personal touch won’t be well-served by email marketing campaigns. Email marketing still has a very important place. However, the limited functionality and flexibility of email-only marketing can’t keep up with the robust online data that members generate daily.

 

If you want to establish a meaningful, engaging relationship with your members, you can’t rely on outdated technology. Not when there are better options at your fingertips.

 

Next Steps for Credit Union Marketing Strategy

 

If you’ve made it to the end of this blog, then I hope I’ve adequately introduced why automated marketing is the future for credit unions. I also hope you watched the video, because it puts some of my points in better perspective.

 

We update our blog regularly with tips, tricks, and insights about the credit union industry. If you’d like to read more about marketing automation software for credit unions, follow the links below!

 

What Credit Union Marketing Automation Is, and Why It Matters

What Does Marketing Automation for Credit Unions Cost?

 

How SharpSpring Helps Credit Unions with Marketing Automation

As Credit Union 2.0 (CU2) grows, we’ve come to appreciate the little things. Our team is small but mighty, just like most of the credit unions in the United States. One of the tools that has allowed us to operate more efficiently is the marketing automation software SharpSpring.

 

It took us months of shopping around and demoing different Client Relationship Management (CRM) software. Eventually, we settled on SharpSpring. Here’s why, and more importantly, here’s why it should matter to you.

 

But before we get too far, we should put a little disclaimer here: this blog is intended specifically for credit unions, fintechs, and CUSOs who are looking for marketing automation tools to take their enterprise to the next level. Okay! You’ve been warned!

 

 

What SharpSpring’s Automated Marketing System Does

SharpSpring is a CRM designed to help businesses monitor client and member engagement. It allows companies to see who’s looking, who’s interested, and who’s still on the fence.

 

From there, SharpSpring helps businesses stay in front of prospective and current members (or customers) with sophisticated automation. Some of its key capabilities include:

  • Running blogs
  • Integrating with social media
  • Manage landing pages
  • Handling forms
  • Initiate email nurturing campaigns
  • Scoring leads in real time

The lead scoring in particular is what keeps SharpSpring at the cutting edge of CRM software. By tracking the digital engagement of current and prospective members or clients, SharpSpring helps your credit union (or fintech or CUSO) see who’s interested in what, and when.

Why We Like SharpSpring

We’ve already outgrown another CRM that couldn’t do what we needed it to. SharpSpring’s functionality is much better, as is its training and support. However, that’s not the only reason we like SharpSpring for CU2.

 

There are many marketing tools out there, and we know from experience that choosing the right one isn’t easy. Some are difficult to use or don’t have sufficient training, responsive support, or adequate capabilities.

 

We use SharpSpring because they fit with the core values of the credit union industry. Their goals are to enable businesses to connect with people on a closer, more personal level and to facilitate better interaction between companies and their customers.

 

Another thing that we appreciate about SharpSpring is that while they prefer developing relationships with their clients, they also protect their clients’ bottom line. SharpSpring is very competitively priced, while still offering the same level of function and support as their more expensive competitors.

 

Why We Promote SharpSpring Adoption

We actually don’t suggest that all of our clients adopt SharpSpring. SharpSpring’s robust automation abilities make it more appropriate for larger credit unions and businesses who are focused on growth and member retention.

 

SharpSpring’s automated workflows, triggered emails, and dynamic list segmentation make it a very powerful tool. It allows businesses to quickly and efficiently manage their lead generation and sales.

 

However, we do think that marketing automation software for most credit unions and related financial companies is near-essential. Automated marketing software gives you the information you need to assess member/client engagement and interest.

 

Without a good understanding of member/prospect habits, companies have less information to work with. It’s hard to stay in front of members with relevant offers if you don’t know which offers are relevant to them. Similarly, it’s tough to bring in new clients if you let the slip through the cracks.

 

Want to Learn More About Credit Union Marketing Automation?

Our blog is filled with tips, tricks, and most importantly, actual resources to help your credit union, fintech, or CUSO thrive.

 

Follow the links below to learn more about how to increase lead generation and growth in the credit union industry.

 

What Credit Union Marketing Automation Is, and Why It Matters

 

What Does Marketing Automation for Credit Unions Cost?

 

What Does Marketing Automation for Credit Unions Cost?

Who knew that not-for-profit enterprises would ever have to be careful about their budgets? Okay, I guess we could all see that coming. Generating and managing revenue is especially difficult for credit unions, but it’s necessary. In today’s blog, we’ll look at the cost of marketing automation for credit unions.

 

If you work in the marketing department of a credit union, you’re probably already familiar with some marketing automation software. Generally, automated marketing helps manage email, social media, and other repetitive tasks.

 

Depending on the application, some automation software can make the work of one person seem like the work of ten. But that increased efficiency comes at a cost. Is it a cost that your credit union is prepared—or able—to pay?

 

 

Yes, Your Credit Union Can Afford Marketing Automation

 

We’re not saying it’s an easy task to make room in a tight budget for one more marketing solution.

 

Marketing automation isn’t some silver bullet that will magically address and alleviate your pain points. Unfortunately, that makes it a tougher sell to some credit unions. However, before dismissing outright any marketing automation for your credit union, consider the numbers.

 

While we can’t give exact numbers—those depend on which services you use and are considering—we can say that marketing automation software is surprisingly affordable.

 

Some of the more robust email marketing platforms cost more than robust automated solutions with far more functionality. For example, the email marketing tool Emma costs more than the automation platform SharpSpring. HubSpot costs only a little more.

 

If your credit union is already using marketing tools, there’s a high chance that replacing them with an automated solution won’t significantly impact your bottom line. The difference could be less than a couple thousand dollars per year.

 

But What if It Ain’t Broke? Why Fix It?

 

Automated marketing for credit unions is more complicated. That complication presents a hurdle to adoption.

 

Namely, credit union marketing automation means the following:

  • Training on a new system
  • Importing emails and workflows from the old system(s)
  • Campaign conversions

While most marketing automation platforms offer outstanding training and support, it can still sound overwhelming. Considering the implications on time and productivity during adoption and conversion, one might ask, why switch at all?

 

Staying Relevant

 

Things move quickly in the world of technology and finance. Disruption is the new normal. Credit union marketing departments need every edge they can get to stay in touch with their members.

 

Being able to reach the right people with the right offers at the right time is critical. Marketing automation ensures that your members—both prospective and current—don’t slip through the cracks. The Stash Apps and Acorns banks of the world aren’t going to let up anytime soon, and neither should your credit union.

 

Staying in front of members and continuing to provide value gets easier with automation. Formerly tedious projects become background functions.

 

Plus, having one person do the work of several sounds pretty good, doesn’t it?

 

Further Reading

 

Hopefully we haven’t painted too bleak a picture. Ultimately, we think that marketing automation for credit unions is—and will continue to be—the new standard for member engagement strategies.

 

In our view, the cost of moving to automated marketing is minimal. In some cases, it may even save your credit union money while expanding its capabilities.

 

If you’d like to read more about marketing automation for credit unions follow the links below! Plus, if you follow our blog, we’ll keep you updated with salient features in the credit union industry, plus developments in AI, machine learning, and innovative fintech partnerships.

 

What Credit Union Marketing Automation Is, and Why It Matters

Credit Union Marketing in the Digital Age

What Credit Union Marketing Automation Is, and Why It Matters

Believe me, we get it: marketing efforts can lead to headaches. Nobody likes getting cold calls, most people mute (or skip) commercials, and I still get nightmares about pop-up ads. However, credit union marketing automation is far more sophisticated—and less intrusive—than those marketing strategies.

 

Not all marketing strategies result in headaches, though. Modern credit union marketing automation techniques are very different from the awful ones listed above.

 

 

What Can Automated Marketing Do that I Can’t?

The less-effective forms of marketing above give sales and marketing a bad name, and it’s easy to see why. Cold calls, commercials, and pop-ups are rarely relevant to the people who see them.

On the other hand, credit union marketing automation platforms are much smarter about advertisements. They track your members—current and prospective—to monitor their activity and interaction with your credit union. With automated marketing software, you’ll gain insight about how your members interact with you across multiple areas:

  • Social media
  • Email
  • Your website
  • Other websites or web activity

After collecting enough data about your members’ habits, needs, and wants, you can gain a clearer picture of what makes them tick. It’s much easier to identify which of your products and services are relevant to them.

 

Who Really Benefits Here

After you understand more about your members’ digital engagement habits and preferences, you can direct marketing to them on their terms, on their preferred platforms. Plus, with lead scoring capabilities, you’ll be able to increase or decrease your efforts as necessary.

Oh, and the best part? That’s all done automatically. Lower effort, higher reward. Credit union marketing automation software streamlines and optimizes the relationship between credit union and member.

 

1.    How members benefit from marketing automation

Nobody wants to ask their doctor if—I don’t know… Drifexia?—is right for them. It’s probably not. Similarly, your college student members don’t care about your credit union’s mortgage rates. Members looking to finance a new car don’t care about your great boat loans.

Marketing automation allows your credit union to provide value by staying in front of them with relevant offers and services. If they’re demonstrably not interested, the automation software understands that and backs off.

 

2.    How credit unions benefit from marketing automation

Marketing isn’t always easy. Sometimes credit unions (and other businesses) feel that they are simply throwing money into a void and hoping for the best. Other times, credit unions have to take wild guesses, which feels like taking aim and pulling the trigger without a target.

Marketing automation software paints the target for you, and then it tells you when to fire.

Ultimately, the benefit to the credit union is that they gain a better understanding of what to advertise, who to advertise to, and when to do it.

 

Is Marketing Automation Right for Your Credit Union?

Bringing automation into your marketing practice represents a major shift in marketing approach. You have to be ready for it, both technologically and culturally. However, for a little more work up front, you can drastically increase efficiency and efficacy down the line.

Relying on traditional marketing strategies can certainly work. After all, it’s gotten us this far. Still, a robust marketing automation suite can drastically reduce:

Marketing automation software is the best way to begin understanding not just the needs of member segments, but of individual members. It also takes a lot of the work out of the whole thing. Instead of manually configuring and starting workflows, the software can do it instead.

 

To learn more about credit union marketing automation, strategy, and fintech partnerships, follow the links below!

 

Credit Union Marketing in the Digital Age

Credit Union Data Analytics: Put the Community in your Fees!

2019 Credit Union Technology Trends to Watch

Wow.  What a year! The credit union and FinTech worlds are frothy and lots of change is underway. This year, some of the walls came down and credit unions saw more of the real world. Digital Credit Union has an incubator fostering FinTech Startups and the Boston FinTech Community. NACUSO’s Next Big Idea Competition brought in new concepts and innovative ideas to solve age-old credit union problems. A great example of this is LenderClose, a digital lending platform, which allows community lenders to streamline the lending cycle. Everywhere I looked this year, credit unions were actively looking to do things differently. It was great! Now, let’s keep the momentum going. To continue last years methodology, I thought we should compare last year to this year in terms of comparing each trend in the “Real World” versus its presence in “Credit Unionville.”

For 2019, there are seven technology trends that Credit Unions need to keep top of mind.

credit union trends

1. Cloud

Credit Unions continue to lag behind the Real World in Cloud adoption. However, we did see some major progress here this year. Ongoing Operations now has 40+ credit unions ”All-In” on the cloud and even has its first $1 Billion+ credit union client that no longer owns a server, storage, or its own network. The credit union has fully embraced the cloud, and it is awesome.

We continue to come across credit unions that have adopted “Cloud First” strategies. This is an improvement but it isn’t far enough. Adopting a Cloud First strategy at this stage is like going from a horse and carriage to a car when airplanes exist. We must rip the Band-Aid off and go faster.  If we don’t, all we are doing is widening the gap between credit unions and the Real World. Credit Unions will miss out on the next major trends like Machine Learning and Artificial Intelligence. Cloud stays in the #1 trend to watch spot because in my mind itis the #1 impediment to credit unions moving faster and being competitive in today’s environment.

2. Digital Transformation

 Like last year, this term is still way overused. Trust me, I know. In fact, I wrote a book on it. The good news here is that I think credit unions understand the urgency. No longer do I see tons of non-responsive websites. Credit unions are working hard to modernize their service delivery and make it more digital.

In fact, the good news continues with this trend. Digital transformation is a major issue for all legacy businesses, not just credit unions. So, we aren’t alone here. Furthermore, the tools, technology and collective experience necessary to be a digital ninja are becoming cheaper, improving quickly, and are more accessible than ever. I continue to believe this is a top issue and priority that every credit union marketing and technology team should be addressing in their 2019 plans.

3. FinTechs

First off, let me just say wow. The number of FinTechs in my database has nearly doubled (approximately 400). The number was high when I first started tracking the trend, but there are roughly twice as many now than when I wrote the book Credit Union 2.0 in 2017. I monitor this landscape closely, and every week I come across at least five additional FinTechs that interest me. It is increasingly difficult simply to keep track of what is out there, let alone figure out who to partner with.

As long as capital is cheap (although getting more expensive), this trend will continue. The average entrepreneur sees the pain and challenges with modern banking and is working to close the gap. The best news here is that more and more often FinTechs intend to go to market by partnering with banks and credit unions.

If we look back over the past 20 years, we went from having one mainframe to having one server and business application for every 2.5 credit union employees. Sadly, I think we will see something similar happen with FinTechs. The ability for a FinTech to profitably serve a key group of members or a single business function will be huge. Four out of every five presenters at NACUSO’s Next Big Idea Competition were FinTechs. Furthermore, itis the gateway tools are being built. Cloud Platforms, Middleware companies, i.e. AlphapackConstellation, and OnApproach, are creating entirely new ecosystems that will speed up creation and adoption. This will lead to financial success.

4. Marketing Automation

Personalization in marketing is key. In our 2018 work, Credit Union 2.0 partnered with a handful of credit unions to implement and transform things such as the attrition process and 2nd chance checking members. I won’t lie, this was really challenging at first. It took almost nine months and 1,000+ man hours to figure out the right formula. I’ll share that formula with you today. In order to pull marketing automation off, a credit union needs to unwind the 20+ platforms it uses. Next, you need to document key business processes and transform your entire way of thinking. We have found that you can’t simply start by fixing one platform or one tool. The answer is to pick one product or service and then build and test all the components on a new platform that is as integrated as possible to the old.

Get good at that one thing, optimize it, and then perfect it. An example of this is 2ndchance checking. This product requires 100-200 blogs and twenty different nurturing campaigns to take a prospective member from finding you on google to signing up for the product. To transform all of your credit union’s products and services, the average credit union will need 200-300 nurture campaigns, 50 landing pages, and about 3000-4000 blogs, videos & content pieces. I know that sounds daunting and perhaps as difficult as climbing Mt. Everest, but you had better get started. If you don’t take these steps, you just won’t exist in twenty years. In 2019, plan to ditch your dated email marketing platform and switch to a true marketing automation platform that can leverage web, social, and other delivery channel components.

5. Analytics

 Credit Unions are definitely working hard on this trend. Within the credit union industry, many credit unions have purchased analytics platforms. Other credit unions have hired data scientists. There are even two distinct credit union analytics conferences now that are phenomenal: AXFI and CUAnalytics.

The industry is aware of the power of data and is actively working to leverage analytics. A terrific example is CU Rise, which was built on the OnApproach platform. CU Rise took data pools, ran them through machine learning and watched as their initial attrition model went from a 6x better prediction to 9x within a few weeks. This is the future.

However, analytics go hand in hand with Marketing Automation. If you don’t know how to leverage and use the analytics or you aren’t prepared to invest in both sides, analytics alone won’t do you much good!

6. Artificial Intelligence & Machine Learning

This trend is hot and it is only getting hotter. Every single FinTech I saw at the latest event I attended was using Machine Learning in their product. All of them…

When thinking about AI/Machine Learning, I want to provide a key perspective here. In March, Bank of America launched Erica, a natural language/AI based chatbot. Within six months, approximately 45% of BofA’s customers were using it. It took 25 years for ATM’s to get that same adoption rate. It took Amazon’s Alexa two years to get that adoption rate. This trend is speeding up and getting hotter. Be on the lookout in 2019 for my book on this very topic. AI and Machine Learning is the future.

7. IT Security

This topic is still cyber hot, and credit unions continue to be well aligned at the forefront of key cyber trends. The main thing I noticed this year is that the hot labor market that I predicted for 2018 has gotten even hotter. This tight labor market is making it difficult for credit unions to find cyber experts. Furthermore, the NCUA’s focus on SIEM (Security Incident Event Management) continues to crank up the pressure.

So, as we approach 2019, sit down with this list, your executive team, and your Board. Start talking (out loud) about each of these trends and how each trend may impact your Credit Union. How might each trend change your members’ perceptions and/or expectations? What should your Credit Union be investing in? Now is the time to set yourself up for a successful 2019 because tomorrow is too late.

If you’d like to talk to discuss how any one or more of these trends specifically affect your Credit Union, please reach out to me directly at kdrake@cu-2.com. I love to talk about technology trends.

Happy Holidays!

Credit Union Strategic Planning Topics

Ahhh, credit union strategic planning topic season. Let’s take off our pessimistic blinders, pull out our beanies and start thinking of the credit union world we want tomorrow. Soon, our credit union will disrupt the local banks. We will put them those evil bankers out of business and take over the world… cooperatively (of course).

If you are looking for quick strategic questions to ask your board at your credit union planning session, you are in the right place.

Credit Union Strategic Planning Topics About Growthstrategic planing for credit union topics

  1. If you had to process 3x your normal loan or member growth volume, how would you?
  2. Where do you want to be in 3 years?
  3. What market trends support that vision?
  4. What client demands support that vision?
  5. What are the tactical plans to support that goal?
  6. What are the known risks?
  7. If you could rebuild the credit union 2.0, what would it look like?
  8. What are the top 10 questions we have about our credit union (analytics based)? What would you do differently if you knew the answer?

Credit Union Strategic Planning Topics for Critical Self-Evaluation

    1. What is the one thing your credit union was worst at this year? What needs to happen to fix it?
    2. What is one thing your credit was best at? How can you double down on it?
    3. What is the single metric that you least like hearing about this year? Why? What can you do to change it?
    4. Where do we use Analytics well?
    5. Are we moving or reacting fast enough in the marketplace?
    6. In each department, what should you start? What should you stop? What should you continue?
    7. What are our best service experience and memories?

BOOK NOW!

Credit Union Strategic Planning Topics About Culture

  1. What are some examples of living your core values?
  2. What are some examples of failing to live your core values?
  3. If you could change one thing about the credit union, what would it be?
  4. What are the top 3 credit unions we admire and why?
  5. What does the perfect member look like? Where do they hang out? Who do they know?
  6. What makes an ideal board member?
  7. If you were the new CXO and were brought in tomorrow, what were three things you would fix immediately?

Credit Union Strategic Planning Wildcard Questions

  1. If a perfect competitor opened across the street tomorrow, what would they look like?
  2. If we were to rebuild our credit union with no branches, what would it look like?
  3. If the NCUA got merged into the FDIC, what would change?
  4. If your largest SEG went out of business, what would you change?

Any of these credit union strategic planning topics can help you and your board plan for a brighter, warmer future.

Credit Union 2.0 — Credit Union Strategic Planning Facilitators

Kirk Drake and Chris Otey take a unique approach to planning sessions. Their goals are to deal with some of the real issues facing credit unions. These include:

  •                 Who is your ideal member?
  •                 How do we improve board governance?
  •                 How do we get our board to look more like our membership?
  •                 How do we deal with the onslaught of fintechs and technology?
  •                 How do we change our culture to be more like a fintech?

As the author of Credit Union 2.0, head of a large technology CUSO, and founder of CU Wallet, Drake has great insights from both his time working at a credit union through his entrepreneurship and board experience.

As board chair of South Bay Credit Union and former CU Wallet and Fiserv executive, Chris has worked with hundreds of credit unions to help them deal with board governance, CUSOs, and other technology challenges.

Click here to book!

Credit Union 2.0 — Strategic Planning Options

DREAM (Based on the CU2.0 Book)

Credit Unions are under unprecedented attack from all angles. Thousands of fintechs are collectively hurting the bottom line. Regulators are slowing the industry down.

Credit Union 2.0 outlines the DREAM (Differentiation, Repeat and Reinforce, Educate and Excite, Automate and Motivate) methodology that will help your credit union begin the process of digitally engaging your members, building fierce loyalty, and making them feel the credit union difference.

The Credit Union 2.0 movement teaches why we need to change. It emphasizes key case studies from awesome credit unions, lessons learned from other cooperatives, and strategies for creating fierce loyalty.

Some highlights from Credit Union 2.0 include The ultimate first 100 Day Experience, Hacking your CU’s Repeated Mistakes, and Education = Trust | Trust = Sales.

Finally, Credit Union 2.0 will provide an optimistic outline of the credit union of tomorrow. Such a credit union digitally engages members, builds fierce loyalty, scales gracefully, and makes your members feel like they own the place!

PAINT

Kirk Drake, a serial entrepreneur focused on credit union technology and author of CU 2.0, reveals his P.A.I.N.T. strategy you can use to make your credit union more competitive, more creative and more in tune with today’s digital expectations.

If you have struggled with corporate culture, agility, moving faster, or competing with the onslaught of new Fintechs, the P.A.I.N.T. methodology will help your credit union quickly iterate and apply key “Operating System” Strategies to better engage your members.

Take home these 5 tools:

  • Painted Picture
  • Analytics Plan
  • Innovation and Agility Hacks
  • Nimble Algorithms
  • Terminate

Related Content

Credit Union Planning Session Facilitators

Credit Union Planning Session Process

Credit Union Strategic Planning Process

What is a credit union strategic planning process and why should you use one? If you are a new credit union executive or are thinking of doing your first credit union planning session, this article outlines the process and methodology credit unions use.

Credit Union Strategic Planning Process

The credit union strategic planning process is the steps that you go through as an organization to determine:

  • Vision: the direction of your organization.
  • Mission: what you’re going to do and for whom.
  • Goals: how to measure it and guide your strategy to get to where you want to be.

Before we get into the process, it is important to revisit why we do credit union strategic planning processes. There are 5 main components:Strategic Planning for Credit Unions

  • Get your team on the same page. They should be aligned with the credit union’s vision, mission, and goals.
  • Maximize resources.
  • Understand trends, scenarios, and situations that might impact the credit union in the future.
  • Determine the best ways to accomplish your goals.
  • Develop implementation plans and goals for your team.

A strategic plan is a key tool for your employees, leaders and board members to make sure everyone knows where we are going and why.

The process used to create your credit union’s strategic plan is every bit as important as the plan itself. Then, the method for communicating, updating, and re-evaluating it is essential.

Ultimately, we all have more things we want to do than resources allow. We must therefore prioritize and make tough choices so that we can deliver and get to the next level.

4 Considerations for Credit Union Strategic Planning

  1. How did our credit union get here today?
  2. Where do we want to go, and what are the Champagne moments we will celebrate when we get there?
  3. What might get in our way?
  4. What resources (people, budget, etc.) will we need to get there?

So how do you get there?

Credit Union Strategic Planning Step 1: Gather Inputs

In this first stage we want to gather what has worked from the past. Any credit union performance data, staff surveys, or member surveys are key.

What are the outside factors? Community, political, SEG, economic, social, regulatory or technology that you are concerned about? What keeps you up at night?

SWOT—Strengths, Weaknesses, Opportunities, Threats—make sure you know internal and external factors that impact your credit union.

Credit Union Strategic Planning Step 2: Vision

What will your credit union look like in 5 years?  What is the Champagne moment when you get there? Is it your number of members, your loan portfolio, etc?

Why is this important? What will the impact be if you get there?

Credit Union Strategic Planning Step 3: Mission

Why was your credit union created? What is your mission? Why is that important and who is it for?

Credit Union 2.0 highly recommends creating a painted picture or Vivid Vision to develop these inquiries.

Often as leaders we feel that we have better intuition—in fact, we just know where we are going. The painted picture and Vivid Vision help with that.

Credit Union Strategic Planning Step 4: Values

What are the values that represent the credit union? People helping people? These are about having values that everyone agrees to and are understood.

What are the behaviors that your best employees exhibit? What are the things that won’t be tolerated? What is it like to be an employee at your credit union?

Credit Union Strategic Planning Step 5: Competition and Roadblocks

What could go wrong? What might change in the marketplace? Which competitors should we watch and learn from? Which should we watch and avoid?

Credit Union Strategic Planning Step 6: Priorities, Goals and Tactics

This is where the fun begins. Take the big picture and tie it into your credit union strategic planning process.

Make a list of priorities and action plans that align with your vision.  Prioritize the key items and build a timeline, goals, and measurements.

Credit Union Strategic Planning Step 7: Communication Plan

Who needs to know? What should we communicate? What are the key milestones?

Build a communication plan to board members, employees, and members that will make sure everyone knows what is coming, where you are going, and how you will know when you get there.

Credit Union 2.0 — Credit Union Strategic Planning Facilitators

Kirk Drake and Chris Otey take a unique approach to planning sessions. Their goals are to deal with some of the real issues facing credit unions. These include:

  •                 Who is your ideal member?
  •                 How do we improve board governance?
  •                 How do we get our board to look more like our membership?
  •                 How do we deal with the onslaught of fintechs and technology?
  •                 How do we change our culture to be more like a fintech?

As author of Credit Union 2.0, head of a large technology CUSO, and founder of CU Wallet, Drake has great insights from both his time working at a credit union through his entrepreneurship and board experience.

As board chair of South Bay Credit Union and former CU Wallet and Fiserv executive, Chris has worked with hundreds of credit unions to help them deal with board governance, CUSOs, and other technology challenges.

Want to know the other options in the industry?  Click here for the Facilitators Guide

Credit Union 2.0 — Strategic Planning Options

DREAM (Based on the CU2.0 Book)

Credit Unions are under unprecedented attack from all angles. Thousands of fintechs are collectively hurting the bottom line. Regulators are slowing the industry down.

Credit Union 2.0 outlines the DREAM (Differentiation, Repeat and Reinforce, Educate and Excite, Automate and Motivate) methodology that will help your credit union begin the process of digitally engaging your members, building fierce loyalty, and making them feel the credit union difference.

The Credit Union 2.0 movement teaches why we need to change. It emphasizes key case studies from awesome credit unions, lessons learned from other cooperatives, and strategies for creating fierce loyalty.

Some highlights from Credit Union 2.0 include The ultimate first 100 Day Experience, Hacking your CU’s Repeated Mistakes, and Education = Trust | Trust = Sales.

Finally, Credit Union 2.0 will provide an optimistic outline of the credit union of tomorrow. Such a credit union digitally engages members, builds fierce loyalty, scales gracefully, and makes your members feel like they own the place!

PAINT

Kirk Drake, a serial entrepreneur focused on credit union technology and author of CU 2.0, reveals his P.A.I.N.T. strategy you can use to make your credit union more competitive, more creative and more in tune with today’s digital expectations.

If you have struggled with corporate culture, agility, moving faster, or competing with the onslaught of new Fintechs, the P.A.I.N.T. methodology will help your credit union quickly iterate and apply key “Operating System” Strategies to better engage your members.

Take home these 5 tools:

  1. Painted Picture
  2. Analytics Plan
  3. Innovation and Agility Hacks
  4. Nimble Algorithms
  5. Terminate

Related Content

https://cu-2.com/select-credit-union-strategic-planning-facilitator/

How to Select a Credit Union Strategic Planning Facilitator?

It’s a wild world out there. Disruptive technologies are forcing us to completely reconsider our credit union strategies. If you want your financial institution to be ready for the rocky, futuristic road ahead, you may want to bring on a credit union strategic planning facilitator.

Each summer, hundreds of credit union boards and executives gather at a beautiful offsite location to dream about the future. First comes the icebreaker, then some tough questions. Along the way, we will cover industry trends and peer data before finally jumping into planning. We whip out our sticky notes, markers, and easels, and we begin to democratically home in on a future we can all (mostly) agree with.

Meanwhile, fintechs and non-traditional competitors are breathing down our doors. What if the age-old credit union strategic planning process is too slow. What if our modern world needs modern experts?

If you love the time-honored traditions, are afraid of different viewpoints, or simply don’t want to upset the apple cart, CU2.0 is probably not for you. However, if you want a bold view that focuses on transformational change that will leave a legacy decades from now, read on!

So, how do you select a credit union strategic planning facilitator?

5 Key Criteria to Select a Credit Union Strategic Planning Facilitator

strategic planning for credit unions

  1. Industry Experience
  2. Facilitation Technique
  3. Understanding of Key Trends
  4. Financial Model Understanding
  5. Credit Union Board and Management Expertise

Industry Experience

Credit Unions are a unique animal. We are half non-profit, half cooperative, and half bank. Yes, we know we can’t add. But every aspect of how credit unions plan, fund, and work is different from other businesses in many ways.

Our ways are both our strategic advantage and our Achilles heel. Because of this, having a facilitator that gets the “credit union difference” is essential. Without this alignment, you will waste precious time explaining to the outsider the difference between a credit union and a bank (or why we can’t just raise more capital).

Understanding of ALM, member onboarding, digital blueprints, board governance, and the NCUA are all key elements that your credit union strategic planning consultant should possess.

Facilitation Technique

If you have been through multiple credit union planning sessions, then many of these will feel familiar:

  • Action Planning
  • Brainstorming
  • Energizer
  • Flipchart
  • Go Wild
  • Ground Rules
  • Group Review
  • Ice Breakers
  • Meta-planning
  • Multi-voting
  • Ranking
  • Reverse Brainstorming
  • Round Robin
  • Structure Problem Solving
  • 3-Star Rating
  • Working in pairs or trios
  • All these credit union planning session facilitation techniques are key ways to derive engagement, get involvement, and make sure all key parties are excited and energized by the process.

Make sure you pick a facilitator that has a large bag of facilitation tricks and techniques. In our experience, each board or management team has different hot button issues. Being able to switch gears when one approach isn’t working is a key criteria for making your selection.

Understanding of Key Trends

Sometimes it is hard to see the forest for the trees. If your credit union strategic planning facilitator is still focused on issues and trends from 10 years ago, you might have a problem. It is absolutely essential to find a consultant who can provide a realistic view of the key trends facing the industry and your credit union.

These days, any realistic view should include artificial intelligence, CUSOs, fintech’s, ever changing demographics, and key disruptors. Now more than ever, the future of credit unions will be impacted by non-traditional competitors, cryptocurrency and blockchain technology.

Financial Model Understanding

While trends are essential at the end of the day, credit unions are member-owned cooperatives that must make some money to survive long-term. Picking a facilitator who can balance modern asset liability management needs with growth concerns is essential.

Credit Union Board and Management Experience

Stories are one of the best ways to relate and change perspectives. Whether it is a key question, insight, or lesson learned, having facilitators who have been on credit union boards, worked at credit unions, or consulted in solving real credit union problems is essential.

 Credit Union 2.0 — Credit Union Strategic Planning Facilitators

Kirk Drake and Chris Otey take a unique approach to planning sessions. Their goals are to deal with some of the real issues facing credit unions. These include:

  •                 Who is your ideal member?
  •                 How do we improve board governance?
  •                 How do we get our board to look more like our membership?
  •                 How do we deal with the onslaught of fintechs and technology?
  •                 How do we change our culture to be more like a fintech?

 As the author of Credit Union 2.0, head of a large technology CUSO, and founder of CU Wallet, Drake has great insights from both his time working at a credit union through his entrepreneurship and board experience.

As board chair of South Bay Credit Union and former CU Wallet and Fiserv executive, Chris has worked with hundreds of credit unions to help them deal with board governance, CUSOs, and other technology challenges.

Credit Union 2.0 — Options

DREAM (Based on the CU2.0 Book)

Credit Unions are under unprecedented attack from all angles. Thousands of fintechs are collectively hurting the bottom line. Regulators are slowing the industry down.

Credit Union 2.0 outlines the DREAM (Differentiation, Repeat and Reinforce, Educate and Excite, Automate and Motivate) methodology that will help your credit union begin the process of digitally engaging your members, building fierce loyalty, and making them feel the credit union difference.

The Credit Union 2.0 movement teaches why we need to change. It emphasizes key case studies from awesome credit unions, lessons learned from other cooperatives, and strategies for creating fierce loyalty.

Some highlights from Credit Union 2.0 include The ultimate first 100 Day Experience, Hacking your CU’s Repeated Mistakes, and Education = Trust | Trust = Sales.

Finally, Credit Union 2.0 will provide an optimistic outline of the credit union of tomorrow. Such a credit union digitally engages members, builds fierce loyalty, scales gracefully, and makes your members feel like they own the place!

PAINT

Kirk Drake, a serial entrepreneur focused on credit union technology and author of CU 2.0, reveals his P.A.I.N.T. strategy you can use to make your credit union more competitive, more creative and more in tune with today’s digital expectations.

If you have struggled with corporate culture, agility, moving faster, or competing with the onslaught of new Fintechs, the P.A.I.N.T. methodology will help your credit union quickly iterate and apply key “Operating System” Strategies to better engage your members.

Take home these 5 tools:

  • Painted Picture
  • Analytics Plan
  • Innovation and Agility Hacks
  • Nimble Algorithms
  • Terminate

Related Content

Credit Union Planning Session Facilitators Guide

 

Credit Union Strategic Planning Facilitators Guide

The leaves are falling.  The smell of warm toner is in the air.  Yup – its budget season and credit unions everywhere are diving into credit union strategic planning.  If you hate strategic planning or think off-site workshops that align all of the stakeholders’ interest – then this post is not for you!  However, if you are a credit union board chair, CEO, or the person responsible for selecting a credit union strategic planning facilitator than this post will be helpful.

Credit Union Strategic Planning FacilitatorsStrategy Planning for Credit Unions

‘Every year 3000-4000 credit unions embark on an annual ritual of thinking of the future, determining BHAGs (big hairy audacious goals) and trying to think how our great credit unions might be disrupted.  In our experience having been part of credit union strategic planning sessions at credit unions, fintechs, CUSOs and as management, board, and facilitators – we have seen all sides.  There is nothing worse than a facilitator that doesn’t get our pain points, industry, process, or our underlying challenges from the past.   So here is a guide to 9 credit union strategic planning facilitators that “get it”.

 Credit Union Solutions Group (CUSG)

CUSG is a CUSO owned by the Michigan Credit Union League  They do a great job helping credit unions focus on how to restart growth and find the right products and services for your members.   The process includes onsite facilitation, consumer research, business trends and disruptors, peer analysis, and best practices.

 Dollar and Associates (Dennis Dollar)

Dennis Dollar is the former board chair of the NCUA.  Dollar Associates are highly knowledgeable on key issues such as mergers, field of membership and other legislative and political issues.  Their credit union strategic planning facilitators follow the SWOT (strength weakness opportunities and threats) approach to planning.  Session included key information on the “condition and future of the credit union industry”

 Callahans www.creditunions.com

Callahan’s has a long history and background in the credit union industry.   Callahan’s has great peer level data and analytics that will help credit unions see critical insights and industry trend data that helps credit unions plan for the future.

 Cmeyers

C.Myers is focused on engaging individuals and teams and focuses on the financial services industry.  Their visioning, leadership development and board development are focused on “creating relevancy, sustainability, differentiation” for their clients.

 CU Strategic Planning (Mike Beall)

Mike Beall is a well-known expert and credit union knowledge source.  Mike focused on reviewing financials and looking at trends to develop strategies.   Loans, growth and profitability are key components of hiring Mike to be your credit union strategic planning facilitator.

Cornerstone Advisors

Cornerstone Advisors regularly helps credit unions develop and execute strategic plans.  Their process is more in depth then many and focuses on understanding the client, surveying executives and board members, performing an assessment and ultimately facilitating the meeting.

CU Strategies

Celeste Cook is a CU Industry Expert.  She focuses on one and two day plans for credit unions.  She works with teams to identify CSFs, critical success factors, focused on growth and retention.   Celeste is big on accountability and highlights her approach to building tracking, goals, and benchmarks in her process.

Credit Union 2.0 – Credit Union Strategic Planning Facilitators (Kirk Drake, Chris Otey)

Kirk and Chris take a unique approach to planning sessions. Our goals are to deal with some of the real issues facing credit unions.  These include:

  •                 Who is your ideal member?
  •                 How do we improve board governance?
  •                 How do we get our board to look more like our membership?
  •                 How do we deal with the onslaught of fintechs and technology?
  •                 How do we change our culture to be more like a fintech?

 As the author of Credit Union 2.0, head of a large technology CUSO, and founder of CU Wallet Drake has great insights from both his time working at a credit union through his entrepreneurship and board experience.

As board chair of South Bay Credit Union and former CU Wallet and Fiserv executive, Chris has worked with hundreds of credit unions to help them deal with board governance, CUSO, and other technology challenges.

Credit Union 2.0 -Options

DREAM (Based on the CU2.0 Book)

Credit Unions are under unprecedented attack from all angles.  1000’s of Fintechs are collectively hurting the bottom line.  Regulators are slowing the industry down.  Credit Union 2.0 outlines the DREAM (Differentiation, Repeat and Reinforce, Educate and Excite, Automate and Motivate) methodology that will help your CU begin the process of digitally engaging your members, building fierce loyalty and making them feel the CU difference.

The Credit Union 2.0 movement teaches why we need to change, key case studies from awesome credit unions, lessons learned from other cooperatives, strategies for creating fierce loyalty including – The ultimate first 100 Day Experience, Hacking your CU’s Repeated Mistakes, and Education = Trust | Trust = Sales.

Finally, CU2.0 will provide an optimistic outline of the CU of the tomorrow that Digitally engages members, builds fierce loyalty, scales gracefully, and make your members feel like they own the place!

PAINT 

Kirk Drake, a serial entrepreneur focused on CU technology and author of CU 2.0, reveals his P.A.I.N.T. strategy you can use to make your CU more competitive, more creative and more in tune with today’s digital expectations. If you have struggled with corporate culture, agility, moving faster or competing with the onslaught of new Fintechs – the P.A.I.N.T. methodology will help your CU quickly iterate, and apply key “Operating System” Strategies to better engage your members.

Take home these 5 tools:

  • Painted Picture
  • Analytics Plan
  • Innovation and Agility Hacks
  • Nimble Algorithms
  • Terminate

 

Do Your Credit Union Card Goals Match Your Members’ Needs? 

A recent survey showed that credit unions and their members are looking for different things from their credit cards. In fact, 76% credit union card goals were aimed toward growth, while the rest prioritized member services. But here’s the rub: 100% of members polled listed “false declines” as their number one service issue for credit cards. 

Clearly, there’s a disconnect between member experience and credit union card goals. Growth is a good end goal but making sure existing cardholders feel taken care of is paramount for retention.  There is nothing more frustrating to a member than a false decline in the middle of a busy day. 

Why Card Declines are a Problem 

Speaking from personal experience, I know how frustrating a false decline is. Recently, an old friend came through town. We caught up over drinks and because we were on my home turf, I offered to pick up the tab. My card was declined. 

It worked out in the end. I pulled out a different card and paid with that. Nevertheless, it was surprising and a little bit embarrassing. 

Imagine if I had been out to dinner with a new prospect or client. A hiccup as small as a false decline could have signaled that we weren’t ready or able to take on their business. 

False positives on credit cards can be as high as 90%. I’ve held my fair share of cards over the years, and I relegated any credit card that couldn’t consistently function properly to the back of my wallet. Credit union card goals should include reducing false positives to better align with member needs.  If you want your credit card to be top of wallet – focusing attention on reducing false positives is as important as your rewards programs. 

The Road to Redemption 

An unused credit card in the back of a member’s wallet costs a credit union money, reputation, and relationship trust. Unfortunately, many credit unions aren’t sure how to address false declines, because they want to maintain security and reduce the risk of fraud. 

Reassessing your credit card processor could be your best move. In your RFPs and vendor research, pay attention to false positive decline rates. Also, you can group issuers and acquirers together to see both sides of transactions. Strong data analytics and machine learning can aid in reducing these kinds of problems. 

Another option is to try a pilot with Flexpay to help find and tune your fraud prevention.  Matching up your transaction history with Flexpay’s merchant history will enable you to reduce fraud and improve the member experience.  Best of all, it’s a pilot – so there isn’t any cost! 

In an Ideal World… 

Nobody should have to rifle through their wallet to find a card that won’t mistakenly decline purchases. Or worse, nobody should be left without a way to pay because of an inadequate processor. 

Credit union card goals should align with member credit card needs. Members need credit union credit cards that they can trust. Problem-free credit card processing reflects well on the credit union and its sophistication, which will increase their confidence in other available services. 

The best part of reducing false positive decline rates is that it will inspire member confidence in their credit cards, which will aid growth and reduce attrition. 

There are two ways you can give members what they want: first, you can ask your card processor to prioritize false positive declines. Second, you can join our effort to connect merchant data and credit union data via machine learning. Together, we can reduce fraud risk while maximizing member approval. 

Are you interested in trying a pilot with Flexpay? Fill out the form below today!