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.

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!

 

Three ways to better connect with your membership

As small niche financial institutions, it is imperative that we don’t lose sight of who we serve.  It is essential to your credit union’s survival to be highly focused on your niche and to customize and personalize your credit union’s solutions. One of the most essential ingredients in this process is how to connect with your member.  Now, what do I mean by connecting?

connect with member

Connecting is about being highly relevant and memorable at multiple levels.  This starts with the aggregate credit union brand, moves to the products & services, and ends with the individual member.   At the end of the day, if you can create continuity between all three levels you will have members that love you. This is the goal. Members who love your credit union then tell your story and bring their friends to you.

There are three things that can help you better connect with your membership.

Utilize video to Connect with Members

Video is becoming highly important in today’s digital world.  In the next few years, it is anticipated that more than 80% of all content consumed online will be in video.  Your credit union’s website, member interactions, and content should all be heavily reliant on video first.   Every website should have biography team videos, a video on the problems you solve for members, video member testimonials, and at least one video on EVERY page.  All these videos won’t happen overnight, but list out all the videos you need, prioritize, and start tackling the videos one at a time. Rome wasn’t built in a day, but it is time to get working on the foundation!  Videos are an essential way to connect with your member.

Connect with Members with a Blog

Now I know what many of you may be thinking, blogs are stupid and no one reads them.  Not true! A blog is simply a more frequent newsletter that allows you to maintain consistent communication with your members.  It is also a key way to train Google on the problems your credit union solves and the community you serve.  Your blog should not be an in your face marketing channel. Members will not click on and read your blog regularly if it is sales pitch after sales pitch. Regular distribution of educational content is a great way to connect with your member. Your blog should be simple quick articles, community news, and things that are relevant to your members. Don’t forget to optimize your posts for keywords and Google.

Use data and machine learning and other tools to hyper-personalize.

Amazon is an example of a company that is a rock star at this.  If you and I both pulled up Amazon on our computers right now, we would see different things based on our historical purchases and what Amazon believes might be interesting to us.  However, your credit union website looks the same to everyone who pulls it up.  The offers on your website are not personalized to the member.  To stand out and be relevant, credit unions should be using analytics, machine learning, marketing automation, and website design to highly personalize every interaction with a member.  The most important ingrediant to connect to your member is personalization.

Ultimately, connecting with members is what it is all about.  Seeing the difference your credit union makes for each and every member is highly rewarding.  Smart use of video, blogging, and data will allow your credit union to enhance those connections and make you highly relevant to your membership.

Originally published on August 1, 2018 on CUInsight

Lead Scoring – Getting to know your members

Many Credit Unions measure the success of a marketing campaign solely with “home run” metrics. For example, a car loan promotion is measured in number car loans booked, and a credit-card campaign in the number of cards delivered. While there is no question that won/loss metrics are important, there is a middle ground that can give you richer customer information as you work to build member relationships rather than just achieve sales. At CU 2.0, we train our clients to use this technique, called lead scoring, as part of their digital transformation.

What is Lead Scoring?

In a typical Marketing/Sales environment, lead scoring is a system for ranking prospects against a scale that represents the perceived value each lead represents to the organization. The resulting score determines which leads the Marketing and Sales departments will engage, in order of priority. For example, a lead with a high score that indicates the lead is ready to make a large purchase soon might be handed off to a regional salesperson, while a lead with a low score is put in a Marketing “nurturing” campaign.

In a Credit Union environment, we see lead scoring as a way to track and enhance the relationship between the Credit Union and the member. Most Credit Union missions include improving the financial well-being of their members in addition to “making sales.” Credit Unions can use lead scoring to track a sales cycle and also to track a member’s financial journey and the strength of the relationship with the credit union.

By using all data from a campaign, and analyzing actions taken by members over time, we can develop a comprehensive ability to further serve the membership of our Credit Unions. By tracking a member’s actions (and lack of action) and assigning a “score,” we can offer more relevant information to help members take advantage of the knowledge and expertise at your credit union.

How Does Lead Scoring Work?

We’ve found that specific scoring methods are unique to each Credit Union, but the general idea is the same. As a member participates in email campaigns they accumulate “points.” In a typical sales environment, the points tell where the “prospect” is in your sales process–your lead funnel.

A Credit Union might modify their scoring system to account for financial lifecycle (first car, first house, etc.), financial health, the closeness of the relationship in terms of the number of products owned (or years of membership), or any other measures that help the credit union assess the member relationship. Each action a member takes helps you understand what specific information you can offer them. Sure, having them close on a car loan is great, but what if they simply aren’t ready? If they’ve shown some level of interest, it’s better to put them in a follow-on campaign rather than starting at square one.

Here is a simplified example of the car loan lead scoring:

lead scoring for credit unions

Just by receiving the email (it didn’t bounce!), the member starts at a lead score of 25. In this example, the maximum score is 50, so we could have behavioral scores and associated next-step actions that look like this:

credit union lead scoring

By providing intermediate actions and involving members in blogs, surveys, and other activities, we provide better service and fulfill our mission of providing financial health information to our members. We’re also going to monitor the follow-on campaigns and update their scores based on continued interactions. You can see that we quickly have a web of online interactions, and the lead score is our key indicator for assessing the overall relationship.

Monitoring campaigns and customer interactions at this level of detail can be more work but is definitely worth the effort in the digital era. Think of this process as a way to improve customer engagement online, in the same way, that you might add a branch to be closer to your customers in the real world. The cost is less than branch operations and allows the member to engage with you at their convenient time – even when branches are not open. Digital engagement requires the same commitment to managing the data as Credit Unions have shown in managing branches. The new digital world that our members have become accustomed to leaves little choice!

Being Relevant to our Members

credit union data

In my last blog, I talked about cleaning up data. Ugh. It is hard work, and I was primarily focusing on core system data. Today I want to suggest thinking about new ways Credit Unions can use existing data.

Most Credit Unions have a heartfelt mission of supporting member’s financial well-being. Yet in some ways – we simply do not engage members enough. What! Hear me out – I’ve got an idea…

Credit Unions can use their data in creative ways to be more relevant to our member’s lives. Let’s take the example of a car loan. We spend a lot of effort and money on “selling” the loan. We offer great rates, we make the buying process convenient, and we spend hundreds of thousands of dollars on systems that will make the loan application process easy with features like automatically creating their membership or integrating with online banking. OK, we got them, they purchased the car and we closed the loan. We did it!

That member now has a 60-month loan and, if they pay on time, we’ll send them their pink slip in 5 years. For many Credit Unions, this scenario is the extent of the relationship between the credit union and the member’s car loan.

It’s all about the data.

What if we used the data we have about car loans to make relevant offers at relevant intervals for something that a member wants? (I know, you may be saying you already make offers at regular intervals, but staying relevant means offering something the member wants.) In the case of a car loan, how about offering a credit card at 18 months (when cars typically need new tires) and double or triple the points off on tires? For an even sweeter deal for the member, work with a box store or a local tire shop to provide even deeper discounts.

The Credit Union gains a more engaged member and credit card revenue. The member gains a deal on a credit card and a discount on something they know they need to purchase soon anyway. The local tire shop gains more awareness and local business.

WIN-WIN-WIN

Now, if you are an even more entrepreneurial community Credit Union, you can offer business customers faceless data. In the auto loan example, if the tire store could see how many tires your members purchased over the last year, they could use that data to improve their marketing efforts and the timing of their advertising and discount offers. They would not be able to see individual transactions, only the aggregate information on purchases.

Now you have an engaged business member that is only able to get that information from your Credit Union.

WIN-WIN-WIN-WIN

The digital journey requires us to find creative and innovative ways to use data to help our members while becoming more engaged in their lives, not just their financial lives. Becoming more innovative with information is a transition that Credit Unions must embark on to continue to be relevant!

Read more about Credit Union Data and Data Analytics:

Getting Your Data In Order – A Recipe for Digital Success

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

The Vanishing Credit Union Gets Bigger

By Robert McGarvey 

For Credit Union 2.0  

The April CUNA Mutual Trends Report drops a paradoxical bomb that leaves us confused: are credit unions getting bigger? Or are they vanishing? 

First the good news: more of us belong to credit unions, reported CUNA Mutual.  “Credit union membership growth was on a tear during the first two months of 2018, adding 850,000 new memberships versus the 650,000 reported in the first two months of 2017.” 

CUNA Mutual went on: “Credit unions should expect membership growth to exceed 3.5% in 2018. This will push the total number of credit union memberships to 117.6 million by year end, which is equal to 33% of the total U.S. population.” 

Roll back to 1960 and, per NCUA data, just 6 million of us belonged to federal credit unions.  A similar number belonged to state chartered institutions. That’s 12 million total, out of a US population of 180 million.  That’s about 6.7% of us, far below today’s one in three. 

Plainly, a lot more of us belong to credit unions now, probably because of expanding FOMs and also because many credit unions offer tempting deals – for used car loans, for instance, and in some markets home mortgages – that bring in members at least for those specific products. 

More credit unions also are working smarter and better at communicating that their membership is pretty much open to all. There remain some of us who believe they can’t join a credit union because they don’t belong to a union – but those numbers are shrinking. 

Member growth is good.  But do the CUNA Mutual data mean the credit union movement should pop open champagne and toast the good times? 

Maybe not. 

At least not just yet.  There’s more to digest in the CUNA Mutual data dump. 

Toward the end of the report, CUNA Mutual serves up these disturbing numbers: “As of February 2018, CUNA estimates 5,757 credit unions are in operation, down 240 from February 2017. The pace of consolidation in the credit union system is accelerating due to the following factors: retiring baby boomer CEOs, rising regulatory/compliance burdens, low net interest margins, rising concerns over scale and operating efficiency, rising competitive pressures, and members’ demand for ever more products, services and access channels. NCUA’s Insurance Report of Activity showed 9 mergers – 7 mergers were due to ‘expanded services,’ 1 for ‘poor[Text Wrapping Break]financial conditions,’ and one for ‘lack of growth’ – were approved in February with a merging credit union average asset size of $13 million. This is a fewer than the number of mergers reported in February 2016 with a merging credit union average asset size of $10 million. We are forecasting the number of credit unions will decline 250 in 2018.” 

Do the math. If the current rate of consolidation continues, by 2028 there will be a bit over 3000 credit unions. 

In 1960 there were about 10,000 federally chartered credit unions, per NCUA.   

As for the membership growth, CUNA Mutual sees it continuing, sort of.  “The membership gain was partly driven by the 502,000 new jobs created during January and February, according to the Bureau of Labor Statistics, and by the tremendous growth in credit union indirect auto lending. During the last few years credit union membership growth has been highly correlated with job creation with the seasonally adjusted annualized growth rate exceeding 4% over the last year. With job growth expected to slow slightly in 2018 to 2.2 million, we forecast credit unions to pick-up an additional 4.0 million members.”  (Emphasis added.) 

Many credit union executives, at least privately, of course grumble about indirect car loans because the “members” they bring in often limit their memberships to the car loan and they aren’t especially profitable. 

Add this up and what’s the meaning? Credit unions need to do a much better job of expanding their relationships with members.  It is great to have an expanding number of members, it is not so great not to be creating more solvent credit unions. 

The truly good news is that if one in three Americans belong to a credit union that is plenty of bulk to use to seek to grow the institutions organically.  For instance: get that indirect car loan borrower using a sharedraft account and a credit card and the credit union is onto something wonderful. 

The alternative is to join the thundering herd of dying credit unions, many of which are like wildebeest in the Tanzanian Great Migration, there essentially to be picked off by predators. 

Parse the CUNA Mutual data and just maybe the message is a double edged sword: grow membership, especially the right membership, and success may lie ahead. Or shrink into extinction. 

That is the stark choice in front of today’s credit union executives. 

The 21st Century Credit Union Welcome 

By Robert McGarvey 

for Credit Union 2.0

 

Sign up as a new member at your credit union – or pick any credit union – and what happens? 

Ask yourself a sharper question: what doesn’t happen?  Think hard on that because the future of this new member relationship hangs in the balance. 

Amy Downs, CEO at Allegiance Credit Union, a $260 million institution headquartered in Oklahoma City, has been thinking hard on these very questions and she believes she has found an answer that helps bring her credit union squarely into the 21st century’s digital world. 

Mind you, Amy has worked at Allegiance for many years, 30 in fact. She remembers the new member welcomes of the old days. Back then Allegiance was officed in the Alfred P. Murrah Federal Building and it serviced federal employees.  As new workers were onboarded by human resources, they ordinarily were brought by the credit union and of course they got a warm welcome from the credit union employees, recalled Amy. Many of those new employees signed up on the spot.  And why not? They had been sincerely greeted by credit union employees – probably including the president, definitely senior managers. They knew they had a name and face they could seek out down the road if they had an issue they wanted to discuss. 

What bank could match those human faces at the credit union? 

Flashforward to nowadays and what happens when a new member joins a credit union? Increasingly that happens online. Then what? Probably there is a welcome email – and doesn’t that sound warm, friendly and inviting? 

Not. 

Probably, too, there is a welcome packet that arrives by US Mail – along with bunches of postcards from nearby dental offices, solicitations for donations, and maybe a past due notice on an electric bill. 

Credit unions are scrambling – and many are failing – to make good, warm ties with new members. And many of those new members drift away or, even more commonly, they never put more than a few dollars into their credit union account. The bulk of their wallet is at another institution. 

The future for credit unions is terrible – if things stay like this. 

Matters got especially complicated at Allegiance. In 2002, the credit union got a community charter where it now serves people who live or work in the six counties around Oklahoma City. 

In that transition, what was lost was that new employee introduction and that was a powerful moment that set up thousands of strong member – credit union relationships. 

Amy thought on this and then she heard about an alternative.  What she now sends new members is a welcome video in which her smiling face is on camera, offering a sincere happiness that the new member brought Allegiance their business. 

A couple times a week she scans the list of new members and when she recognizes a name, she makes a personal video. When she saw a husband of a close personal friend, she laughingly said in that video, “About time you listened to your wife!” 

But even with the members she doesn’t know, what they see in Amy’s video is a person who is glad to meet them. 

“We are losing our personal touch, all credit unions are,” said Amy.  “Everything has changed. It’s not the way it was, when we were on a first name basis with all our members. Now we have to work at it.” 

When Amy heard about new member welcome videos, she wanted to know more. When she discovered the costs are nominal – she records her own, using a digital video recorder that cost $65 – and the actual time to record is a matter of minutes, she was all in. 

Understand: the video is similar to what would have been an in-person meet and greet with a new member a generation ago. Amy’s videos are in the vicinity of 30 seconds. That matters because our attention spans just aren’t suited to movie-length video welcomes.

The bottomline for Amy and Allegiance: “We have to start marketing in different ways, or credit unions will be left behind.” 

Use the technology that is readily available to forge stronger ties with new members. Welcome videos – absolutely – are a step in that direction. 

Credit Union 2.0 has developed video solutions for new member welcomes – they in fact facilitated the work for Allegiance. For more info, here’s the contact. 

Want to see Amy’s video? Click here. 

Speaker Spotlight: Kirk Drake Helps Credit Unions Connect with Members

by Catalyst Corporate | Mar 20, 2018

Timing is everything, especially when it relates to a credit union’s long-term success, says Kirk Drake, co-founder of CU Wallet, LLC and CU 2.0 strategist. Drake, a featured speaker at Catalyst Corporate’s 2018 Future Forums, believes implementing technologies at the right time is key to a credit union’s sustainability.

“Don’t believe a technologist who tells you they know where innovation will be in three to five years,” said Drake. “It’s impossible to predict where technology will be that far in advance.”

And therein lies the challenge. Credit unions still try. When implementing new technologies and services, credit unions aim for perfection, says Drake. This approach creates long product rollouts and lifecycles before ever introducing members into the process.

“In 3-5 years, the technology that was once brand new is now obsolete,” said Drake. “We’re solving a problem that’s no longer a problem. By the time a strategy is ready to roll out, the wow factor is gone, and you don’t have the first-mover advantage.”

What should credit unions do differently to achieve long-term sustainability?

“The successful brands put things out before they’re ready for primetime. This helps determine trends and interest before betting big,” said Drake.

Drake discusses this approach in his book, CU 2.0: A Guide for Credit Unions Competing in the Digital Age. The “if you build it, they will come” approach is destined to fail, he said, because no one is joining a credit union for what may come. A better user experience will keep more members around, but it’s not going to make people switch financial institutions, he added.

Building that exceptional member experience requires some effort, said Drake. First, credit unions need to understand the needs and wants of their community. “Recognize that the connection point isn’t necessarily the products you think are valuable, but the things members are interested in,” said Drake.

He suggests approaching product and service development like one might approach dating. “It’s not about you. It’s about them,” he said. “Every credit union has a unique story to tell. We need to focus on building relationships in which we seek to understand the problem before we prescribe a solution.”

Second, Drake says to focus on trends, rather than fads, to help better a credit union’s timing. “Credit unions want to be involved in trends. Fads, they don’t,” he said.

“Video is the No. 1 technology trend today,” adds Drake. “But credit unions must be surgical and strategic about its use.” Drake explains that video must be highly personalized and contain relevant information. While credit unions are great at adapting to new technologies like video, they may struggle with deployment.

“Half of the challenge credit unions face is finding the right technology, and half of the challenge is learning how to deploy that technology in an effective way,” he said. “Video is not new technology, but credit unions can learn to use it more effectively.”

Other technologies credit unions should employ include marketing automation, blockchain and voice integration, said Drake.

Conversely, Drake suggests retiring a few technologies. “No one should be using a fax machine anymore,” said Drake. “They don’t deliver a good member experience, and there are better ways to accomplish the same function.”

Drake also believes non-responsive websites and call-tree phone systems are a way of the past. “Let’s hurry up and get rid of old implementations of technology,” he said. “We’re not saving any time. We’re just poking members in the eye.”

For more on this topic, don’t miss Drake’s presentation, “Connecting to Members in a Connected World,” Thursday, Oct. 4, during the payments segment of the Future Forums. To see a complete list of all Future Forums (Economic and Payments) speakers and topics, and to register for the event, visit catalystcorp.org/r/forum.

Survey Ideas for Members

Creating repeatable processes that allow your credit union to continuously adjust and recreate good experiences for your employees is essential for receiving social validation. Credit unions have lots of repeated interactions – swiping a credit card, going to an ATM, calling a call center, etc. Since financial services are commoditized and fungible, it’s not fair to measure loyalty solely on a transactional level; you have to look at it much more holistically. Loyalty comes from the way you make a member feel, among other intangible identifiers. Feelings come from experiences that are unexpected or highly differentiated.

Tools like LiveSurvey are a great way to see a holistic picture. You’re able to map the person at an intricate level when giving the service, the resolution to the problem on a one-on-one basis, etc.

LiveSurvey tracks each transaction and follows up with the member to solicit feedback. Every time a member calls the call center or walks into a branch, within a minute or two of that transaction, LiveSurvey is notified of the transaction within the system. It know what, where, and who made the transaction and can immediately send a survey to ask valid experiential questions related to the transaction.

Through the use of LiveSurvey, one credit union discovered its members were creeped out by how fast they were being greeted, how much everybody was smiling, and how focused the employees were on providing a really pleasant experience.

Transactional surveys are rapidly becoming the number one most popular method for staying in touch with members. With the right questions, you will gain key insights that will help you credit union achieve massive growth and increased profitability. With transactional surveys, your credit union is gathering member feedback from all member touchpoints, at all times. Asking the right questions will aid you in attracting more of the members you want.

This article has a few credit union member survey question ideas. Here are several examples of survey questions to use with your members:

  • Ask a member why he/she joined your credit union. Were they referred by a friend? Perhaps it was a promotion you ran that worked really well or an advertisement they saw. Finding out what drew these most coveted members to your credit union means you’ll be able to model your future efforts based on what worked to bring in these members.
  • Loyalty-based questions like “How often do you use our services?” or “What is the main reason you continue to do business with our credit union?” can give valuable insight into the underlying reasons that your members remain loyal. Once you know, you can emphasize these characteristics to new and existing members in the same category, or even promote these features to prospective members.
  • The “open-ended” question is probably the most valuable of all. Simply asking the member “is there anything else you’d like to tell us?” can open the floodgates of information regarding their perception of your credit union, the products, the locations, any many other areas. Be sure to always have space for “open comments” on your transactional surveys.

 

 

Who Do You Trust? A Credit Union Misstep 

By Robert McGarvey 

For Credit Union 2.0  

 

Call it a core credit union marketing misstep: there’s wide assumption that consumers trust credit unions more than banks. 

Rubbish. 

They should, I’ll readily acknowledge that, but there is no persuasive evidence that credit unions in fact score any higher in consumer trust than do banks. And banks really stumble in trust ratings, a fact underlined in the recent Landor Pulse analysis of financial services organizations. Guess what came in first? 

PayPal, which, per Landor, emerged “the clear leader.” It came in as the most trustworthy. By a sizable margin. 

Remember this about credit unions. Kirk Drake, the author of CU 2.0, has pointed out that in the aftermath of the 2008 banking meltdown, which costs innumerable Americans their jobs, their houses, their retirement savings, and everywhere banks were excoriated by angry consumers, credit unions “saw their market share grow by a measly 1%.” 

Chew on that. In 2008, credit unions were handed the ball on the opponent’s one yard line and they could not drive it in for a touchdown. How terrible is that? 

The Landor research findings help clarify what has happened here and it starts with the low esteem in which all financial institutions are held.  

Maarten Lagae, Landor’s senior manager of insights and analytics, said, “Comparing BAV [BrandAsset Valuator, a Landor proprietary metric] data over the past 10 years shows that perceptions of trust have eroded in all industry categories, but especially in the financial sector. In addition to secure assets, the ‘must-have’ for financial services brands is trust. Consumers are increasingly wary of institutions serving motives other than customers’ best interests. This is even more true with millennials, who are the first to engage with businesses that provide transparency and disrupt unequal power relationships.” 

How many focus groups have you seen where consumers say about credit unions, nope, I don’t belong, don’t like ‘em because I don’t like credit and don’t like unions. I know I have seen and heard exactly that a number of times. It’s easy to dismiss it as rooted in misunderstanding. But that consumer still walks past your door without stopping. 

Back to the Landor trustworthiness rankings: in second place is Visa with 25; MasterCard comes in third with 23; American Express comes in 4th with 17%. 

Curiously, other than PayPal, digital tools did not fare well. Apple Pay and Google Wallet are each trusted by 13%. Venmo, PayPal’s kin and widely popular among the young, won just a 10% trustworthy rating. 

What about banks and credit unions? Hang on for bad news. Capital One and Chase are the highest rated at 17%. Bank of America came in at 16%. Wells Fargo, amid its avalanche of bad press, tumbled from 23% in 2006 to 19% in 2016 to 14.5% now. That last ought to trouble credit union and bank executives because it says that many consumers are paying attention to the news and they do know bad press when they read it. And it shows up in these trustworthiness ratings. 

As for what the rankings mean, here’s Landor’s take. “Financial services brands are still seeing an impact from the 2007–2008 crisis, augmented by ongoing issues facing myriad financial institutions over the past two years,” noted Louis Sciullo, executive director of financial and professional services at Landor. “We see credit card brands faring better because of their daily place in consumers’ lives and the relative clarity of their fee model. Meanwhile, PayPal’s high trust ranking stems from the amazing job it’s done to establish confidence in its digital platform.”   

Some 55 financial services brands are rated by Landor. 

No credit union bubbled to the surface in these trustworthiness rankings but don’t assume that means credit unions did fine. 

More likely is that none scored enough notice to win a ranking and that is not an endorsement of the importance of credit unions. 

What to do about that?  Landor helpfully offers a six step program to win more consumer trust: 

  • Be transparent. That means open. 
  • “Be honest – it’s the best policy.” 
  • Have true values you live every day. 
  • Treat your employees well – they are brand ambassadors. 
  • Deliver excellent products and services. 
  • Protect customer data. Breaches are costing every FI reputationally. 

None of that is hard. But many financial institutions struggle with taking these six steps. And that includes many credit unions. 

Bottom line: a lot of financial services companies have sunk in trustworthiness rankings in the last decade. Credit unions have an opportunity to win wider public applause but so far have not capitalized on this. Make doing that job 1 in 2018.