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CU 2.0 Podcast: Series 10

It’s the CU 2.0 podcast! CU 2.0 is excited to bring you the tenth in a series of podcasts from Robert McGarvey. Welcome to the CU 2.0 Podcast, regular interviews with credit union leaders, thinkers, movers, shakers and more. Today’s topic is credit union digital presence.

This week, Robert sat down with  Jay Murray, CEO of Vizo.

Think corporate credit unions died? Think again. Jay Murray, CEO of Vizo, a large corporate that’s the product of a merger between Mid Atlantic and First Carolina, is bullish on the future of corporate credit unions and he thinks they just may be essential to the survival of many thousands of small credit unions.

He’s probably right.

But Jay has more to say.  He talks about Vizo’s push into offering cooperative back office technology solutions, at affordable rates, to hundreds of small credit unions.  He’s attacking the hegemony of for-profit vendors and that just may be a very cool thing.

Murray also has profound thoughts about the importance of cooperatives cooperating with other cooperatives, for mutual benefit. That means looking for ways to work with, say, rural electric cooperatives, food cooperatives, and just about every other kind of cooperative. What cooperatives are you working with?

This is a good podcast with plenty of insights into what tomorrow might look like for small credit unions and it may be more cheerful than you think.  Are small credit unions dead men walking? Murray says no way and he tells why he is optimistic.

Click the photo below to listen now!

corporate credit union cu 2.0 podcast

Check out other podcasts in the series here!

CU 2.0 Podcast: Series 9

It’s the CU 2.0 podcast! CU 2.0 is excited to bring you the ninth in a series of podcasts from Robert McGarvey. Welcome to the CU 2.0 Podcast, regular interviews with credit union leaders, thinkers, movers, shakers and more. Today’s topic is credit union digital presence.

This week, Robert sat down with  Tanan Miles, Vice President of ENT Credit Union.

Do you dream of being in control of your credit union’s digital presence?

Stop dreaming, start doing. Find out how in this podcast as Ent vice president Tanan Miles explains how the Colorado institution has full control of the UI of its digital presence.

How cool is that when the most important branch for most credit unions is online and mobile access?

Ent, by the way, has compelling numbers to show the emerging dominance of mobile. 34% of its members are mobile exclusive – that is their only way to access the institution. And 75% of the online sessions now are mobile.

Which means you want to start controlling your institution’s digital presence.

Click the photo below to listen now!

credit union digital presence

Check out other podcasts in the series here!

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

 

CU 2.0 Podcast: Series 8

It’s the CU 2.0 podcast! CU 2.0 is excited to bring you the eigth in a series of podcasts from Robert McGarvey. Welcome to the CU 2.0 Podcast, regular interviews with credit union leaders, thinkers, movers, shakers and more.

This week, Robert sat down with Scott Budde of Main Harvest. It has taken some years but finally, Maine Harvest may be in the final lap before gaining an official credit union charter.  That’s because it’s met its fundraising goal, $2.4 million, with last monies ponied up by the Maine Credit Union League and what’s remarkable is that just about the whole credit union movement in the state has supported the formation of this novel credit union.

Click the photo below to listen now!

cu 2.0 podcast maine harvest

Check out other podcasts in the series here!

Tropical Financial Credit Union turns to spare change to help make a dent in the student loan crisis

For Immediate Release

Media Contact:

Todd Templin or Lauren Berger

BoardroomPR

954-370-8999 or 954-290-0810

ttemplin@boardroompr.com

lberger@boardroompr.com

Students can take six years off a repayment term saving up to $14,000 using new technology introduced last year on Shark Tank

MIRAMAR, Fla. – (September, 2018) – Tropical Financial Credit Union is making it easier and faster for former college students to unburden themselves of crippling student debt, a few pennies and nickels at a time.

Americans owe nearly $1.5 trillion in student loans, which tops annual credit card and auto loan debt in the U.S.  According to StudentLoanHero.com, last year’s graduating class has an average loan balance of $39, 400, up six percent from the year before.  That figure doubles when you factor in 6.8 percent interest over a 25-year repayment term.

Now, the credit union is offering its student-loan paying members a solution to pay down their debt years sooner, saving them thousands of dollars in interest payments.

The Tropical Financial Student Round Up powered by ChangEd app converts one’s spare change into additional loan payments.  Members who sign up simply link their debit/credit cards to the app, and then every time a purchase is made, the amount is rounded up to the nearest dollar.  That spare change is set aside into a special FDIC-insured account. The rounded-up money maxes out at $10 per day.  Once the balance hits $100, the money is sent to the loan servicer and goes towards paying down the student loan.

“You spend $2.45 for a cup of coffee and 55 cents goes towards the student loan. Three cents here, 45 cents there, and soon it adds up,” said Amy McGraw, vice president at Tropical Financial.  “These borrowers could pay down their loans quicker if they regularly made additional monthly payments, but that takes disciplined planning and budgeting which is easier said than done.  We are providing a less stressful and more realistic solution using pocket change that won’t likely be missed.”

The technology was developed by a Chicago startup called ChangEd which received a significant investment by Mark Cuban last year during an appearance on the ABC program, Shark Tank.   The company says users can cut six years off of their repayment term and save $14, 000 in payments.

Tropical Financial Credit Union President/CEO Rich Helber said, the Student Round Up app signifies another way the not-for-profit financial cooperative is helping its members grow their personal wealth.

“The piling up of student debt is a crisis in our country,” said Helber. “Many people are still paying off loans well into their 40s and 50s affecting their ability to reach some personal milestones such as buying a home, getting married, or starting a business.  With this new technology, we are here to help our members relieve the burden a bit so that they achieve their milestones and financial goals.”

Anyone who opens a checking account at Tropical Financial Credit Union is eligible to use the app at no cost.  Even family members can sign up and direct their spare change to their loved one’s student loan balance.

For more information, visit tropicalfcu.com/changed.

About Tropical Financial Credit Union

Based in Miramar, Florida, Tropical Financial Credit Union is a not-for-profit financial institution whose deposits are federally insured.  Anyone who lives or works in Miami-Dade, Broward, Palm Beach, Martin, St. Lucie, Lee, Collier, Hendry and Sarasota Counties is eligible to join. Tropical Financial Credit Union was formed in 1935 by employees of the former Southern Bell with just a few hundred dollars and has grown to over $659 million in assets.  For more information, log on to www.tropicalfcu.com.

Credit Union Fintech Friday: CU 2.0 & Energetic Insurance

It’s the Credit Union Fintech Friday series. This series aims to spotlight new an innovative fintechs in the marketplace and unlock Credit Union fintech partnerships. This week, Chris Otey from CU 2.0 sits down with James Bowen, Co-Founder of Energetic Insurance. Their mission is simple: their insurance unlocks solar financing for unrated or below investment grade organizations. Their insurance policy is for asset owners, banks, Credit Unions, and developers who want coverage for offtake repayment risk as well as lost revenue on projects where there is a default on payment obligations.

Watch to learn more and let us know what you think in the comments.

Want to know more about fintechs?

Check out the CU 2.0 Fintech page here to download our CU 2.0 Fintech Infographic: Death by a 1000 Cuts. You can also search the CU 2.0 Fintech database. This database is updated once a quarter with the latest Fintechs.

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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!