CU 2.0 Podcast 23: Sitting Down with Gabe Krajicek, CEO of Kasasa

It’s the Credit Union podcast! CU 2.0 is excited to bring you the twenty-third 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.

If Kasasa were a bank branch network, it would be the nation’s fourth largest and it says that sometime this year it will overtake Bank of America and be the 3rd biggest.

Surprised? You bet. Probably you know that Kasasa has been building up its customer base for digital banking products – checking in particular – but now it is big enough where it’s tooting its horn.

This”branch network” isn’t a consumer-facing product – CO-OP Shared Branching it is not – but what’s interesting is that lots of FIs, some 907 community banks, and credit unions, now have joined together to offer Kasasa products, particularly the free, rewards-based checking.

And that’s also where Kasasa has a real plus – according to company CEO Gabe Krajicek, Kasasa consumers have free access to essentially every ATM in the US. When fees are imposed, the consumer is reimbursed.

And that’s an enormous perk for credit union members when many institutions have ATM fleets that can be counted on one hand.

Think about the enormity of that plus for credit union members in Kasasa institutions.

Kasasa also aims to put high-quality digital products in the hands of consumers because, said Krajicek, often consumers say they couldn’t belong to a credit union because the digital is no good.

But what if it, in fact, is good? With the right digital products, community institutions can and will survive, said Krajicek.

Along the way, Krajicek- whose company serves both community banks and credit unions – says community institutions would better serve their interests if they recognized that they have more in common and in particular they have in common a shared enemy and that’s the money center banks.

It’s an interesting thesis. So often community banks and credit unions are reflexively Hatfield and McCoy. But what if they joined together to oppose a shared foe?

What if? What if cooperation flourished? It’s a big vs. small battle, he said.  And nowadays it’s becoming a life or death struggle where many community institutions are vanishing.

Krajicek tosses out big ideas. Come along for the ride in this CU.0 podcast.

Listen here.

credit union banking, credit union member experience, credit union podcast

Check out other podcasts in the series here!

CU 2.0 Podcast: Series 18 – Al Pascual on Biometrics

It’s the Credit Union podcast! CU 2.0 is excited to bring you the eighteenth 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.

**Pop Quiz**

How long have passwords been around?

How many credit union members want never to use one again?

What are the three must-have biometrics modalities?

When will biometrics effectively supplant passwords in financial services?

Flashback time: when did Apple introduce Touch ID, a tool that thrust biometrics into everyday use for tens of millions of consumers?

Consider the above your pop quiz. How did you score?

Al Pascual, a researcher with Javelin, who recently co-authored a report on biometrics and financial services, knows the answers to these questions and he tells all in this CU 2.0 podcast.

It moves fast, you’ll want to hear it.

A sliver of good/bad news: it’s the biggest financial institutions that are carrying the weight of persuading regulators about the efficacy of biometrics and that just may be a blessing for smaller institutions – credit unions included – who can follow behind.

Click the photo below to listen now!

credit union biometrics, credit union security

Check out other podcasts in the series here!

Credit Union Member Growth

Credit union membership growth! How do you measure it? It seems like a simple question, just like “where can I get the best burger in town?” seems like a simple question. However, once different interpretations of what constitutes a new member—or a good burger come into play—things don’t stay so clear.

I have been on the Board of Directors at South Bay Credit Union for the last 11 years. At almost every board meeting, our COO delivers the monthly new member report. We seem to grow by a certain percentage each month, yet we have had roughly the same number of members for the last decade. How does that happen? Member attrition.

Understanding Credit Union Member Attrition

Member attrition is not a focal point of many credit unions. It certainly wasn’t for SBCU until just last year. I don’t know why I had that epiphany about focusing on attrition, but I did.

It forced us to focus on why members were leaving, which members were leaving, and where they were going. In my opinion, there are members whom we don’t mind leaving. Let that sink in for a minute…

Not all members are good members participating in the cooperative. Just like a team is only as strong as its weakest player, a cooperative is only as strong as its weakest link. Think of the Great Wall of China. It kept China safe for centuries until the gates were opened from the inside and the Mongols walked right into China and took over. The weak link was the open door in the hundreds of miles of brick wall.

Armed with the data on which members we were losing, why we were losing them, and where they were going, we were able to address a growth strategy in a tactical manner. Intuition is great, but data is factual. Using data, we were able to “farm” our existing members and cultivate those members to be our most profitable and highest participating members.

Knowing why members leave and which ones you want to keep allows you to fix the reasons why those members leave. The first step in membe

r growth is to stop the bleeding. You can add 50 new members per day, but if you’re losing 50 per day as well, you’ll never grow.

Credit Union Size vs Member Growth

Now that we have fixed the leak in membership, it is time to start adding net new members. Take a look at this study from NCUA. Can you explain to me why the larger the credit union, the greater the new member growth?

credit union member growth

My guess is that the larger credit unions grow because of their ability to spend on advertising. TV, radio, print, online, etc. are all things smaller credit unions struggle to do at scale.

However, that is changing daily. We are moving from a one-to-many toward a one-to-one marketing environment. Tailoring the message to the individual potential member you are targeting is a much more cost-effective way of doing this.

Credit Union Member Growth via Smarter Advertisement

One-to-many marketing does work. It’s inefficient, but it does work. One-to-one marketing works better, though. If you know who you’re marketing to, you can ensure that you and your prospect are well-suited to one another.

To put it in terms you might be more familiar with, think of it as the RFP process. If I run a core provider or mobile banking provider, I probably get 50 or so RFP’s to complete each month. Some vendors will complete all 50 and hope for the best. If they complete all 50, they will likely get included in 25 searches, do 10 demos, and get 5 new clients. The more efficient vendors will evaluate all 50, score the potential for winning by developing an ideal prospect persona, reply to those 25 that fit their ideal client profile, do 20 demos and get 10 clients. Double the clients, half the work, a pretty good model.

New member acquisition is the same. You can advertise to thousands with your generic message, onboard as many as you can, and then have 40% of them leave because they are not a fit for your credit union (they are not your ideal member). Or, you can use technology to find the potential members that fit your ideal member persona, target them specifically, and onboard the same number of new members who will not leave. And you can do that for half the cost.

The first step is identifying your ideal member or persona, which you will have already done while examining member attrition. Then, find the right partner to help you put your message in front of them at the right time in the right context.

There are several examples of this being done and CU 2.0 would be happy to help you. Contact us here.

And, for the record, the best burger in town is from In-N-Out.

3 Good Reasons You Should Use Video Marketing

Video marketing is here, and it is here to stay. Video has become an integral part of online marketing that your credit union CANNOT afford to ignore. It is the most effective tool for sharing information and entertaining content with your members. According to Cisco, by 2020 video will make up 79% of all internet traffic.

With Facebook Live, Facebook Stories, Instagram Stories, and all the video we see popping up in our social media news feed each time we log in, it is clear that video is being used not only by consumers but also by businesses. However, throughout our content creation services at CU 2.0, we still find that many credit unions are not utilizing videos and that executives are hesitant to start. Many credit union executives share the same concerns about getting set up to successfully start video marketing.

  • What is the monetary investment necessary for my marketing team to start using video?
  • Even if we have the money in our marketing budget, where do we even start?
  • Do I need to hire more staff or do I need to outsource?
  • Do my members really care about video? I thought it was just for celebrities, social influencers, or for sharing cute videos of my dog.

So, the question becomes, do the benefits of developing, executing, and sharing a video marketing campaign outweigh the amount of effort needed to successfully do so.

The answer is YES. 100%, without a doubt.

Here are 3 reasons your credit union marketing team should be using video marketing.

1) Members love watching videos

Why does it seem that videos are popping up all over social media and in our email inboxes? It’s because people love watching videos. Our members prefer watching videos over reading long strings of text because videos have the ability to convey a ton of information in a quick and easy to understand way. Video also allows your members to connect with your credit union and receive the personal touch that they would not get with a text article. Youtube has over 4 billion video views per day and is currently the second largest search engine, after Google. In 2015, online videos accounted for 55% of all mobile traffic and are forecasted to rise to 79% by 2020. Video content online is only going to continue to grow.

2) Search engines are all about video

Video is imperative if you are paying attention to SEO (Search Engine Optimization). Your credit union is 53 times more likely to show up on the first page of a google search if you have a video embedded on your website. Since Google acquired YouTube, marketers have seen a significant increase in how videos affect your company’s search engine rank. Simply put, your credit union cannot afford not to have video on your website. You aren’t considered relevant by search engines if you don’t have video on your page. Click here to learn more about SEO.

3) Video helps to build a member’s trust

Having video on your website, social media channels, and marketing emails helps to put a face and personality behind your credit union’s brand. Video is a terrific way to build trust with your membership and connect with members when they aren’t in a branch. A terrific example of this is when a member first joins your credit union. Instead of sending a lengthy welcome email full of text, send a video welcoming the member along with a couple of helpful tips, links, and information that a new member would need.

Video can also be used in marketing campaigns to quickly and effectively grab a member’s attention and inform them about products and offers available to them. An email with a video embedded is likely to increase email click-through rates and improve email engagement. Video tracking also allows you to see which members opened the videos, who watched it all the way through, and who replayed it. Having this information will allow your marketing team to build out lead nurturing campaigns and thus build a more effective sales pipeline. Your marketing team will also have a better idea of what content your membership finds relevant, and this will help you build more successful campaigns.

Hopefully, you now agree that video marketing is imperative for your credit union. But how do you get started? CU 2.0 provides content creation services, and in our next blog, we will focus on some of our tips if you want to get started on your own. Keep an eye out!

Want to talk to an expert at CU 2.0 about our services and how we can partner with your credit union? Contact us here today!

Are You Leveraging the Power of Laughter in Leadership?

Could a little laughter improve your leadership profile? This entrepreneur went out on a limb to hone his stand-up comedy skills.

Joe Fuld is an Entrepreneurs’ Organization (EO) member in Washington, D.C. and President of The Campaign Workshop, a political and advocacy advertising agency that provides strategy, digital advertising, content and direct mail services to non-profit and political clients. Joe recently participated in The CEO Stand-Up Challenge, honing his humor into a 10-minute set that he performed on stage. We asked Joe about the experience. Here’s what he shared:

There is truth in the adage, “Laughter is the best medicine,” as laughter has proven health benefits. But did you know that laughter can also benefit leadership? According to the Harvard Business Review, laughter can boost employee engagement and well-being, relieve stress, and spur not only collaboration and creativity but also productivity and analytic precision.

While that all sounds good, I’m no comedian. I can give a killer talk about political campaigning or advocacy, but punchlines aren’t my forte. That same HBR article states that while employees feel more motivated by leaders who make them laugh, they lose respect for leaders who try to be funny but fail, or who make fun of themselves. Sounds like a slippery slope. Why risk it?

My motivation

In June, a friend I know from EO, Kirk Drake, invited me to participate with him in The Entrepreneur CEO Stand-Up Challenge, an intensive six-week crash course in stand-up comedy culminating in a 10-minute performance at the DC Improv. Was I in?

Well, I turned 50 this year and wanted to stretch myself in a new way–but needed a push. A challenge. But I run a company and have no free time. So why do this now?

I’ve always enjoyed stand-up, but beyond one improv class in college, I had never tried it. I felt confident about having great material: I run a political and advocacy advertising agency, have a wonderful but crazy family and travel a lot. While memorizing a 10-minute set would be difficult, having good stories to tell seemed like half the battle.

I took the leap, hoping a net would appear.

Trusting the comedy process

I had no idea what to expect, but it certainly helped to have a coach. Ours was Matt Kazam, a veteran Las Vegas comedian who owns They Laugh You Win, which helps leaders and trainers take advantage of the power of humor by combining the science of stand-up with public speaking. Matt and I spoke twice a week, both one-on-one and with the group of seven entrepreneurs doing the show with me.

Having a likeminded team of entrepreneurs also preparing for their comic debuts made it feel like I was on a comedy team with good-natured competition! They also provided motivation. The last thing I wanted to do was bomb in front of friends and family or let the group down.

The writing was my favorite part, but I needed structure and inspiration, which my fellow entrepreneurs provided. I learned that you have to make time for inspiration. The more I wrote, the better my material got. It was an excellent outlet for channeling creativity. I wrote 18 pages of material that Matt and I cut down into a set.

Curing hiccups by jumping out of a plane

I train folks across the country to run for office and advocate for causes, but I, myself, was never formally trained in public speaking. For 20 years I’ve just done it and perfected my technique over time. I still had “ands and ums”―verbal garbage that needed to go―and I wanted to be more intentional with my speaking. I saw the comedy show as a way to cure my hiccups by jumping out of a plane.

Setting up punchlines is a precise business, so I was grateful for Matt’s expert guidance. To practice my delivery and memorize the set, I listened to recordings of myself reading it. I would then re-record it―and listen again. Almost daily. Practice makes perfect.

On the night of the performance, I felt ready but vulnerable. I stacked the audience with supportive friends, family members and coworkers. When my name was called, I was nervous, but my coaching and preparation paid off. After I finished and left the stage, it felt rewarding to have tried something new and succeeded.

See for yourself:

I would do it again in a heartbeat. I had fun and learned a ton about myself, and for that I am grateful.

You get out what you put in

To be clear, I don’t plan to headline at McChuckles anytime soon, but the experience slayed a few inner demons. Here’s what I gained:

  1.  Confidence and intentionality in my public speaking skills
  2.  More prolific creative writing skills
  3.  A sense of community with my fellow Stand-Up Challenge entrepreneurs
  4.  Engagement with clients and coworkers about shared struggles
  5.  A renewed appreciation for the impact of coaching

While stand-up comedy is not a one-size fits all cure, it helped me reach my goals. My employees seem to appreciate the increased level of laughter around the office, which has helped us become a more tightly knit group, and I’ve become more intentional about my public speaking. I’ll be reaping the benefits of this six-week challenge for years to come!

Originally published on August 28th, 2018 on INC. com

Learn more about Kirk Drake, Founder of CU 2.0 here