How to Optimize SEO for your Credit Union’s Content Using the 4 C’s of Content Marketing

When big banks control the top spots on Google for keywords like “mortgages” and “financial health”, what chance does a community oriented Credit Union have of standing out to potential members? The solution is to express the content using words that apply to your company’s own unique brand and community. Learn the steps to optimize SEO for your credit union.

If your credit union does not write content and deliver content to members through e-mail campaigns and social media, then this article is not for you.

The first thing we need to understand is how search engine traffic works. In the early days of Google, achieving the first spot for simple keyword searches such as “mortgage” was a straightforward task. The word “mortgage” in this case, is known as a “short tailed keyword” and unfortunately, would not yield very good or relevant search results today. Expanding this search to “mortgage offers at credit unions near me” will provide a much narrower and targeted result.

This specific and deliberate search is the type of traffic that credit unions need to target. The idea is that when a potential member performs a search on something like “checking accounts for families near me”, the goal is to funnel this member into a process that ultimately leads them into becoming a credit union member. A community oriented credit union should know that creating cluster content on specific topics can lead target members to their website and signup process. To understand how to best capture the ideal search traffic, we’ve boiled down the process into the 4 C’s of keywords that belong in all of the content produced by your Credit Union.

optimize seo for your credit union

Want to learn more about how to Optimize SEO for your credit union and other website tips? Click on the article below.

Credit Union Website Basics

Real Time Is Coming at You: Ready or Not 

By Robert McGarvey 

For CU2.0 

 

A new report out of Celent asks a question that just may terrify you: Are banks ready for a real time world? 

You probably know the answer at your credit union. 

Join the club: many – probably most – credit unions are nowhere close to embracing a real time financial services universe. 

Tell me why it takes a day – sometimes several days – to move money from an account at my credit union to a payee already in the system when, truly, it simply is a matter of shifting bits and bytes? 

Money can – and now should – move as fast as a text message and if a friend in India sends me an SMS via Facebook right about now it is showing up in my FB queue. 

It can happen in financial services. Everybody – that means you – will have to climb aboard. We now are in an instant world.  “Real time payments,” said Celent, “have moved beyond being an if to a when.” 

Here’s a Celent observation: “Most existing payment engines have a number of challenges in delivering real-time payments. First, they are generally batch-driven, rather than single message and instant, and so simply not suitable. The second, and less obvious reason, is that they require downtime for maintenance and upgrades, something that isn’t allowed in a real-time payment solution. Many real-time payment schemes only have downtime over the year measured in seconds. Old technology simply wasn’t designed to support that.” 

What Celent is prescribing is adoption of a robust payments hub that can provide the 21st century world what it wants. 

“Real-time payments require all the activity in the value chain to be carried out, typically in under a second, if not quicker. If all the processes are within the hub, they are easier to manage and coordinate. But as volumes increase, this becomes more and more essential. Furthermore, functions that sit within the hub will be subject to the same design requirements in terms of availability and maintenance,” wrote the Celent author, Gareth Lodge. 

Some realtime functions already are in use in the United States. 

Digital currencies – the report pointed in particular to Ripple – are paving the way for a shift to real time money movement. 

Zelle also is a step into realtime for institutions that adopt it (and some credit unions already have – such as America First Credit Union and BECU).  And Dwolla offers realtime ACH transfer functionality.  

Don’t necessarily expect smooth sailing for your institution into the real time universe. Exactly how – and how well – many competing real time systems will integrate with each other is not yet known. 

Then, too, as Celent pointed out: “The term real-time payments perhaps hides an obvious truth: in order to make the payment real-time, everything and anything that touches the payment, including fraud checking, balance checks, and the front end initiation system have also to be real-time…24 hours a day, seven days a week.” 

All of that represents a massive change in how credit unions work.  Digital banks, Celent pointed out, are architected from the word “go” to handle real time. A legacy institution has a different, very real set of challenges. Said Celent: “Real-time payments then are the vanguard of the digital bank. New banks, built from the ground up, do not need to give this a second thought, but for any other bank, the task of converting from the existing infrastructure is a huge task.” 

And the news gets worse.  Said Celent: “Many banks still run core banking systems that are over a decade old. The chances are that unless it has been replaced within the last five years, it is still a batch system. This poses immediate challenges — how to update the customer balance until the next batch, overnight run.” 

Institutions – and their cpre providers – are fiddling with workarounds.  But that’s the point: there will definitely have to be workarounds and they may not always be easy, elegant or even straightforward. 

What to do?  The first step is recognizing that now indeed is the start of real time banking.  That, said Celent, is integral to the transformation into the digital bank that just about all now know is the future. Wrote Celent: “Banks may see the need to move to a digital bank, but they may be struggling to make the business case for investing in real-time payments. Yet there is a confluence of the digital banking trend with real-time payments, as they share many of the same attributes and indeed, that make it impossible for a digital bank to truly exist without it.” 

Absolutely right. Until real-time payments are part of the package the institution just isn’t a digital bank. Period. 

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.

MRDC 2.0 And Your Credit Union 

By Robert McGarvey 

 For CU2.0  

A new report from RemoteDepositCapture.com makes plain that mRDC now is a must for credit unions.  Declared the report: “mRDC is no longer a competitive differentiator, but instead a ‘must-have’ offering Financial Institutions need simply to remain competitive.” 

Without mRDC you just may not be competitive. That’s a stinging reality. 

This claim, incidentally, is underscored by a separate report, led by the Federal Reserve of Boston, that claimed 73% of the institutions it surveyed already offer mRDC and another 18% “plan to offer.”  Just 9% don’t have mRDC on their dance cards. 

Small credit unions are very much included among the adopters. Said the Fed: “ Even among the smallest respondents, 78 percent support or plan to support mRDC within two years “ It defined “smallest respondents” as < $100M in assets. And just 22% of them have no plans to offer mRDC. 

Big institutions are all aboard. Among institutions with assets >$1 billion, the Fed said 92% already offer mRDC and only 3% have no plans to follow. 

mRDC has become a must have.  That’s a key reality in today’s new reality where we have entered the era of mRDC 2.0. Now the focus is on new uses, more usage by members, and there also is a wholly new kind of thinking around mRDC fraud and how to combat it. 

A lot has happened to mRDC since 2009 when USAA debuted mRDC.  A handful more joined the chase in 2009-2010. But then the race was on at full speed inside most CUs to offer mRDC. 

Initially many credit unions grumbled about the fees associated with mRDC – fees charged by third party processors – but, by now, most larger institutions have simply decided to suck up the added costs, which incidentally usually are much, much lower than the costs associated with a paper check deposited at a branch. 

That’s a fact: mRDC saves a credit union money.  While expanding the convenience and utility of the account to members who now can make deposits while dressed in their PJs and sitting at the breakfast table.  That is cool and it ultimately is why mRDC usage will remain popular as long as paper checks circulate and these days about 17 billion of them get written in the US annually.  That number continues to slip down but it will be years before checks vanish (and aren’t we all waiting for the long predicted death of cash?). 

Face it: checks are hanging around and so will mRDC because it just is so much better than driving to a branch or to an ATM. 

John Leekley, CEO of RemoteDepositCapture.com, said many institutions have gotten increasingly more skilled at their mRDC offerings. 

A plus: Leekley pointed to data that shows a 35% year over year increase in mRDC transactions which means more checks are getting deposited this way. 

Are more fraudulent checks also getting deposited? Roll back the clock and that was a huge fear among many credit union execs, some of whom stalled when it came to rolling out mRDC.   

Today’s take is very different, said Leekley, who indicated that his survey found that “the vast majority (74%) of respondents indicated they had no losses directly attributable to mRDC.” 

That means zip. 

The big fear still revolves around duplicate deposits – depositing the same paper at multiple institutions – but the numbers don’t show there is a threat of any real magnitude. Leekley’s report goes on: “Exclusive to RemoteDepositCapture.com, the industry’s mRDC Duplicate Loss Rate in 2016 was just 0.035%, or 3.5 in every 10,000 items. To put this in perspective, according to the Federal Reserve, the industry’s overall return item rate was 0.4%, or approximately 40 out of every 10,000 checks deposit.” 

What’s next for mRDC? Most credit unions now appear to want to get more consumers depositing more items with mRDC. 

Leekley also indicated many institutions are giving a re-think to mRDC deposit limits. Traditionally, some institutions set very low limits, to manage exposure to fraud. But, said Leekley, more effective and more consumer friendly approaches involving smart use of big data are taking hold.   

Many institutions also are looking to increase business use of mRDC, added Leekley, who said this was a big frontier for many.  Exactly how will be a huge topic of discussion and exploration this year but know this: now is the time for you to begin to seek to push mRDC usage into new arenas. 

It’s a good tool, it works. Let its success fuel your institution’s.  

Credit Union Data Analytics: Risk Awareness

As we continue the Credit Union 2.0 “Almost 99 Small Data Hacks for Credit Unions – guide” series, today we are covering risk items for internal consumption only. While many of our hacks are targeted at proactive marketing, these hacks are key insights you can gather internally from your member data.

This is the fifth post in a 9 part series. If you can’t wait for next week and want the full “Almost 99 Credit Union Small Data Hacks Guide” click here!

Credit Union 2.0 – A Guide for Helping Credit Unions Compete in the Digital Age covers in depth both big and small data for credit unions. There are six types of data that your Credit Union should be aware of:

  1. Digital Analytics – Desire
  2. Profitability – Fit
  3. Wallet Share – Depth
  4. Transaction – Triggers
  5. Design Data – Predictive
  6. Execution – IFTT (if this than that)

This list is by no means comprehensive and Credit Union 2.0 does not offer any compliance advice for any state or federal laws on the impact of using this information.

Risk Analytic Where to find it? Potential Conclusions
Minimum Payments Credit Card Data If you see members reducing their payments over time on their credit card payments, this may indicate an increased risk of default or challenging cash flow situation for your member.
Member locks themselves out Online Banking Proactively reach out if the member locks themselves out. Call their phone on record, don’t just wait for the member to call in. A frustrated member will appreciate this.
Duplicate Addresses Monthly Report of more than one member with the same address Could indicate a stolen identity
Duplicate SSNs Monthly Report of more than one member with the same SSN Could indicate a stolen identity
Duplicate Driver’s License Monthly Report of more than one member with same Driver’s License Could indicate a stolen identity
Delinquent Loans by Indirect Lender Loan System Could indicate an indirect auto dealer encouraging members to lie about income
Loans without payments Monthly report of loans with new payments Possible indication of fraudulent loans
Loans with payments made at the teller line Loan payments by teller/channel Possible indication of fraudulent activity
Loan types and dollar consistencies by MSR Loan applications by channel and person Possible indication of fraudulent activity

 

Have an idea or risk related data algorithm? Submit it to the Credit Union 2.0 team today by emailing us at info@cu-2.com and help us improve this post!

Want to learn more about how your fellow Credit Union leaders are using data? We invite you to join our Credit Union 2.0 Strategist Group where over one thousand industry leaders comment on new news and trends while sharing and learning from one another.

This is the fifth post in a 9 part series. If you can’t wait for next week and want the full “Almost 99 Credit Union Small Data Hacks Guide” click here!

In case you missed it:

Click here for part one of the data analytics series.

Click here for part two of the data analytics series.

Click here for part three of the data analytics series.

Click here for part four of the data analytics series.

Predictive Analytics for Credit Union: Member Limits

In the first several posts in this series, we covered key insights that can be gathered from address changes, payroll changes, and fees as part of our “Almost 99 Small Data Hacks for Credit Unions” series. Next up, we will dive into credit union services and limits that can sometimes negatively impact your relationship with a member.

This is the fourth post in a 9 part series. If you can’t wait for next week and want the full guide “Almost 99 Credit Union Small Data Hacks Guide” click here!

Credit Union 2.0 – A Guide for Helping Credit Unions Compete in the Digital Age covers in depth both big and small data for credit unions. There are six types of data that your Credit Union should be aware of:

  1. Digital Analytics – Desire
  2. Profitability – Fit
  3. Wallet Share – Depth
  4. Transaction – Triggers
  5. Design Data – Predictive
  6. Execution – IFTT (if this than that)

Most credit unions have several potentially confusing service limits and fees. Exposing some of these can cause undue fraud and sometimes even compliance risk. Consequently, credit unions may want to leverage this data behind the scenes and highly personalized it so as not to broadcast key risks or vulnerabilities to the world.

We explore several of these below.

Service or Limits What could happen? What should you do?
Remote Deposit Capture Setting a low limit universally will frustrate your top members. Design a multi-tiered profile based on key risk data and ensure that you give your best members higher limits.

 

When a member hits a limit, trigger an outbound email explaining how the limit was set and what they can do to change it.

ATM Limits Member is forced to make multiple trips to the ATM to get their business done…frustrating. If you see a member make the same size transaction multiple days in a row, send them a guide on how to request an increase and the pros and cons of doing so.
Change of Address You change it one account, but in a different system you forgot to update. Make a checklist of all of the locations you store addresses and make sure you clean them up everywhere at once.
Check holds Member forgets a hold came off. Ask members if they want to know when holds expire in an email. Offer them a one-click enroll in this option and then send them an email if a hold is removed.
No retirement savings Member struggles to retire Offer easy savings strategy series to members. Provide weekly tips or ideas to help your members save.
Fraudulent ACH Member is confused If a member reports fraud, trigger an outbound email that links back to an overview of how the credit union will help them troubleshoot and resolve the fraud. Update the member at agreed upon times during the investigation/resolution of the issue.
Fraudulent Check Member is confused If a member reports fraud, trigger an outbound email that links back to an overview of how the credit union will help them troubleshoot and resolve the fraud. Update the member at agreed upon times during the investigation/resolution of the issue.
Fraudulent Credit/Debit Member is confused If a member reports fraud, trigger an outbound email that links back to an overview of how the credit union will help them troubleshoot and resolve the fraud. Update the member at agreed upon times during the investigation/resolution of the issue.
Declined Transaction Member is confused and/or annoyed Have guides and information outlined on when and how transactions are declined. Include key troubleshooting strategies to resolve the issue for legitimate transactions. When the decline happens, send an outbound email to the member with a link to the guide.

As in our earlier post on turning negative fees into more positive experience, service limits are a similar opportunity. Anytime your credit union can change confusing non-transparent service items into positive transparent items, you build trust and loyalty from members.

Want to learn more about how your fellow Credit Union leaders are using data? We invite you to join our Credit Union 2.0 Strategist Group where over one thousand industry leaders comment on new news and trends while sharing and learning from one another.

This is the fourth post in a 9 part series. If you can’t wait for next week and want the full “Almost 99 Credit Union Small Data Hacks Guide” click here!

In case you missed it:

Click here for part one of the data analytics series.

Click here for part two of the data analytics series.

Click here for part three of the data analytics series.

Data Analytics for Credit Unions: What can you learn from your member’s payroll?

In the last post in this series, we covered key insights and actions you can take when your member changes their address. This post continues takes a similar path and explores what can you learn when your member changes their payroll.

This is the third part of a 9 part series. If you can’t wait for next week and want the full guide “Almost 99 Credit Union Small Data Hacks Guide” click here!

Credit Union 2.0 – A Guide for Helping Credit Unions Compete in the Digital Age covers in depth both big and small data for credit unions. There are six types of data that your Credit Union should be aware of:

  1. Digital Analytics – Desire
  2. Profitability – Fit
  3. Wallet Share – Depth
  4. Transaction – Triggers
  5. Design Data – Predictive
  6. Execution – IFTT (If this than that)

If you have ever changed jobs or been laid off, then you know how much paperwork is involved. This is a prime opportunity to make your members feel the credit union difference. Having plans around the different stages can help make sure

  1. A) Your member is ok
  2. B) Your member pays you first before other creditors
  3. C) You build an experience and have positive interactions that makes someone a member for life

Here is a quick list of what you can learn and what you should do if your member changes their payroll:

What Happened? What could it mean? What should you do?
Member’s payroll goes up or changes source New Job Double check on LinkedIn. If you can confirm it, then send the member an email message and thank them for their loyalty and business.  Perhaps offer them an opportunity to upgrade to your top tier credit card.
Send an email on how to save some of that new money by either setting up an auto transfer or paying a bit extra to their mortgage each month. This is a great time to help your member set-up good financial habits.
Member’s payroll stops They are moving on from your Credit Union You probably have one last chance to save this account. A personal email or note thanking them for their business and a survey could turn a loss into a save.
They have passed away Maybe check the obituaries. If they have passed away, send flowers to the funeral and a sympathy card to the member’s address but addressed to the family members.  Let them know you are there for them in the transition.
The date changes New Job See Above
An offer to change their loan due dates to align with their payroll cycle could be an opportunity to add that personal touch and delight a member.
Offer a skip a pay.
Direct Deposit on a holiday Member might get paid late Jump in early. Post that payroll a day early and send an email in advance letting them know you took care of it for them because you care!
Direct Deposit Reduced >20% Lost job or reduced hours Add the member to the debt consolidation marketing campaign and provide key tips for cutting back.

Watching for payroll changes is a great indication of some key life changes for your member.  Personalizing the response, offering assistance, and educating the member accordingly is a great way to make a connection and make someone a member for life!

Want to learn more about how your fellow Credit Union leaders are using data? We invite you to join our Credit Union 2.0 Strategist Group where over one thousand industry leaders comment on new news and trends while sharing and learning from one another.

This is the third part of a 9 part series. If you can’t wait for next week and want the full “Almost 99 Credit Union Small Data Hacks Guide” click here!

In case you missed it:

Click here for part one of the data analytics series.

Click here for part two of the data analytics series.

 

Why MRDC Hasn’t Fulfilled Its Promise 

By Robert McGarvey 

For Credit Union 2.0

 

A new research report from Javelin on “Why Digital Banking Often Fails to Reduce Offline Volume” has an infographic that just popped my eyes. The subject: “Reasons Why Consumers Avoid Mobile Banking and Turn to the Branch or ATM for Check Deposits.” 

Javelin offers answers but, first, why do you think your members do this?  Especially when, in theory, nothing could be more convenient and simpler than using a smartphone at your kitchen table to deposit a check that came in the day’s mail. 

But lots and lots of consumers don’t use MRDC and even those who do, don’t always use it.  Why? The Javelin report explores that question. 

I can give you a hint about why. A few months ago I opened a new account at Arizona Central Credit Union.  I deposited a check for around $25,000, drawn on Capital One (closing an account), and I deposited it at a branch a few blocks from my apartment. 

Recently I opened the ACCU app to make a deposit and saw my MRDC limit is $500. I shut the app. 

I opened a Chase app, where my limit is many times that, and deposited the check. 

I’m not alone. 15% of the consumers who don’t use MRDC told Javelin they were afraid their check was too big. 

They’re probably right. 

Even Mitek, the principal MRDC cheerleader, in its 2017 Mobile Deposit Benchmark Report, moaned about this barrier to wider usage: “Deposit-limit policies at three quarters of FIs essentially represent penalties for customers who use mobile deposit, representing an unsustainable barrier to digital migration and growth….Many consumers state they have been prevented from using mobile deposit by the FI’s dollar limits, yet conversations with industry executives tell us that advanced risk management policies can enable customer-friendly deposit limits that also limit misuse.” 

Yep, and that’s been true for years. But still most credit unions retain absurdly conservative deposit limits. 

As for long holds – and I have personally seen holds as long as seven business days on a mobile deposit – there is no defensible reason for the practice, other than a desire to thwart MRDC usage. 

Could be that’s exactly what some credit unions want to do. Processing fees are involved with deposits via vendors such as Mitek. Force the consumer to walk the check in and there’s no Mitek fee. 

But maybe there also is no consumer, as the consumer does as I did and calls up a friendlier app such as Chase and makes the deposit. 

Note, too, Javelin said 17% of consumers who did not use MRDC said their reason was that “I needed the funds quickly.”  Long holds chase away members. 

Probably the biggest barrier to MRDC usage, per Mitek, is insecurity about the technology.  Reported Mitek: “Fear of fraud is the most powerful impediment to widespread mobile deposit[Text Wrapping Break]adoption, cited by 43% of non-users from large FIs. FIs must unequivocally assure customers that mobile deposit is every bit as secure as an ATM or bank branch. Immediate feedback and receipts upon deposit acceptance, and notification of funds availability will help resolve these fears. Walking customers step-by-step through their initial experience may also alleviate[Text Wrapping Break]worry, as fear over making a mistake is holding back 34% of non-users at large FIs.” 

According to Javelin, 14% of non users said: “I didn’t feel safe depositing a large check via the phone.” 

A last, huge obstacle to MRDC usage – fortunately seen at ever fewer financial institutions – is charging fees for MRDC. That never made sense and certainly doesn’t make good business sense today.  Reported Mitek: “In 2017, for the first time, none of the major banks reviewed charged a fee for standard processing of mobile deposits. Still, worries over fees remains a block to nearly one out of three FI customers. Therefore, marketing the costfree nature of mobile deposit is an imperative to boost channel migration.” 

Now, just maybe MRDC will never capture all deposits. Javelin research found that 27% of non users said they had to go to the branch for other reasons. 32% said they had to go to the ATM for other reasons (presumably withdrawing cash).  So they made their deposits through those channels. 

But there remains huge growth potential for MRDC if credit unions raise deposit limits, erase unnecessary holds, stop charging fees, and go on the offensive to assure consumers that MRDC is as safe as making a deposit at an ATM. 

That’s because, among those who do use MRDC, a consistent comment according to Mitek is praise for the “ease of use.” 

But there’s even hope for capturing non-users. Advised James Robert Lay, CEO of Digital Growth Institute who specifically addressed how to gain usage by those who so far are resisting MRDC: “What will increase mobile deposit use is credit union staff working with account holders that come into the branch to deposit checks. Hold account holder’s hands (and their phone) to guide them through the process. Heck, employees might find the account holder does not even have a credit union’s mobile app downloaded to their device.  

It’s a bit of a paradox but to increase digital product use requires human interaction and intervention as change is hard, even though the mobile deposit is easy.” 

So right. So smart. 

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

If you work for a credit union and are looking for ideas on how to leverage key data to improve your member service or overall credit union member experience, then this post is for you.

This is the first post of an 8 part series. If you want the full guide “Almost 99 Credit Union Small Data Hacks Guide” click here!

Credit Union 2.0 – A Guide for Helping Credit Unions Compete in the Digital Age covers in depth both big and small data for credit unions. There are six types of data that your Credit Union should be aware of:

  1. Digital Analytics – Desire
  2. Profitability – Fit
  3. Wallet Share – Depth
  4. Transaction – Triggers
  5. Design Data – Predictive
  6. Execution – IFTT (if this than that)

A hallmark of building trust digitally is personalizing data in marketing and service within the entire member experience. If you’re wondering where to start, there is one particular area that I believe credit unions can immediately to enhance the member experience: fee data. Here are 16 great examples of how to do this:

Data Point Problem Action
Overdraft Protection = Not Setup Charging a member an overdraft fee when they have liquidity is just like poking the member in the eye – be proactive and avoid the problem! Run a monthly report to determine any members with over $X in their savings account who do not have Overdraft Protection setup. Turn on the feature and then send an email to the member letting them know! Click here for more details.
First Overdraft Let’s face facts, the first time a member goofs and overdrafts, a credit union is going to reverse the charge anyway. So, make this process automatic and a positive experience for the member. You will score major member experience points! Watch for the first overdraft on a new member account – if triggered – auto refund the overdraft fee and send the member an alert (via email) that the credit union already took care of it.

 

Post a video or explanation of how to avoid the fee on your credit union’s website and include a link in the email.

Minimum Balance Fee Consistently charging a minimum balance fee is profitable but not in a member’s best interest. On the 3rd time you charge the fee, trigger an email to the member on how to avoid the fee or make a recommendation to switch to another account type to avoid it.
Paper Statement Fee Charging a paper statement fee repeatedly is painful and reminds the member of a negative experience. Most likely the member is simply too busy to make the change. Send an email on the third fee which includes a one click opt in to electronic statements.
Birthday Fees Sending a generic birthday card to a member isn’t really personal. Send a birthday card, but go one step further and reverse that member’s last fee or give them a coupon for their next one.
Foreign ATM Fee Charging foreign ATM fees does one thing: reminds your member that maybe you aren’t as convenient as they would like When a member gets a foreign ATM fee, send them a link to your “Foreign ATM Fee Avoidance Guide” on your website that helps them see

A) Closer ATMs

B) An alternate way to get cash without paying the fee

Cashier’s Check or Money Order Fee Nobody likes paying to get their own money. Period. Make this a social cause. So, if the member has to pay a fee then let them know that a portion of the fee goes to support a local charity or cause that benefits their community.
Card Replacement Fee It’s painful when your card gets lost…empathy or a gift from the credit union can go a long way. Waive the fee the first time a member loses his/her card and trigger an outbound email on key ways to protect a card. Make the email fun and call it your Credit Union Member Ninja Strategies Guide.
Check Image Fee This is a classic block buster fee. It is 2017…your checks should be digital and free through online banking. If the member wants the check printed in a branch, send them a link to a video showing how to pull the image through online or mobile. As a follow-up a week later, send an email on how to use bill pay or your peer to peer payment tool. Most members will appreciate the relevant education.
Stop Payment Fee You’re already having a bad day. You’ve lost your checks, and now you have to a pay a fee that may or may not accomplish anything.  Send the member a video via email explaining what their risk is related to stolen checks and also explain how to monitor their account.
Withdrawal Limit Fee If this happens once or twice, then the member most likely has the wrong account type. If it happens three or more times, it is just abusive. Trigger an email on the 3rd fee with a one click offer to switch account types and/or details on how to avoid the fee.
Low Balance Fee Sometimes members need change – be proactive about helping them easily solve that. Trigger an email on the 3rd fee with a one click offer to switch account types and/or details on how to avoid the fee.
Inactive Membership Fee Let’s face it, the member most likely has one foot out the door already…if not both. Create a “Member Save” package – Find a funny personal way to get the member’s attention. Perhaps it’s a meme or a personal video message from the CEO – either way – find a way to reconnect as a human and maybe you can turn it around and keep the member.
Return Mail Fee The person moved and didn’t tell you. It turns out you can get their new address if you have their old address. Go ahead and do this automatically and send an email alert to the member!   Check out how here
Wire Transfer Fee Sometimes they just need to send a wire Make it a little better by donating a portion to their favorite local cause (give them choice).
Late Payment Fee Nobody feels good about being late, and this fee can easily upset a member even if they were late. When it first happens, refund the fee and send the member an educational video/article on how to avoid the fee in the future. The second time it happens,  offer the member a skip a pay in advance for the fee. If it happens a third time, schedule a call to help understand the issue or provide an educational overview of how it might impact their credit score.

Many credit unions use fees to change behavior, and there is nothing wrong with that! While fees are an important tool, they are also a prime opportunity to embed compassion, empathy and education and turn a potentially negative member experience into a positive one.

Want to learn more about how your fellow Credit Union leaders are using data? We invite you to join our Credit Union 2.0 Strategist Group where over one thousand industry leaders comment on new news and trends while sharing and learning from one another.

This is the first of a 9 part series. If you can’t wait for next week and want the full “Almost 99 Credit Union Small Data Hacks Guide” click here!