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.

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CU 2.0 Podcast 22: Talking Payments and Data Analytics with Trellance’s Lou Grilli

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

What do you think when you get an alert from your credit union offering you a 2.9% car loan – and you already have a 1.9% car loan that you got two years ago from the same institution?

Duh, right?

Lou Grilli, an executive at payments CUSO Trellance, thinks a lot about exactly those kinds of questions and he believes that for credit unions the solution will come through smarter, faster data analytics.

His opinions are rooted in information gleaned from the experiences of the roughly 2000 credit unions that own Trellance.

What your member will do, or need, tomorrow already is known in today’s data. You just have to look at it.

And Grilli thinks data analytics can unlock tactics for encouraging more member use of your institution’s cards – which is a goal of just about every credit union.

Along the way, Grilli also talks about the future of contactless cards, also what to expect from digital wallets such as Apple Pay.

Payments in the past five years have changed much more dramatically than they had in the preceding 25 and Grilli has a ringside seat.  That’s why he is worth a long listen in this podcast.

Click the photo below to listen now!

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Check out other podcasts in the series here!

CU 2.0 Podcast 21: Ron Shevlin on “Is the Party Over?”

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

Cornerstone Advisors’ Ron Shevlin’s report on “What’s Going On in Banking 2019. Is the Party Over?” is out and he’s in the CU2.0 Podcast to share some of his findings.

Read the report here.  It’s free.

To compile the report Shevlin surveyed some 300+ senior executives in financial institutions – around 120 in credit unions – and they spill their views of their tomorrows.

Has the Trump bump become the Trump slump, asked Shevlin.

A lot of the report focused on technology and what financial execs see as musts.

Some 63% of credit union executives describe their digital banking as future ready – which prompted this reporter to choke and then ask, are they doing marijuana-related banking and smoking too many samples?

Listen to the podcast to hear Shevlin’s views.

As always, Shevlin is an independent, sometimes quirky viewer of financial services. That’s why his viewpoint matters.

Listen up and learn. Here’s the podcast.

Click the photo below to listen now!

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Check out other podcasts in the series here!

3 Social Media Strategy Mistakes for Credit Unions

It is imperative that your Credit Union has a social media strategy in today’s digital climate. However, what is even worse than having no social media strategy for your credit union is having a bad social media strategy. It is important that you avoid these three social media mistakes at your credit union.

1) Promos, Only Promos

In case you are wondering, your members are not logging into their social media and following your page so that they can see your latest auto loan rate offer. Majority of Americans have a social network profile, so it’s obviously essential for your credit union to be present on these platforms. However, no member wants to be jolted out of their online experience. When your credit union is posting on Facebook, don’t just share about your products and services and talk on and on about yourself! Embrace the platform and share content that is hyper-relevant to your membership.

2) Not Having a Clear Strategy and SMART Goals

So the direction has come down from above, and social media is now a push for your credit union. Your marketing team starts firing off Monday motivational quotes, polls, and promoting your blog content. Months go by. Were you successful? Who knows? If your team did not spend the time to set clear strategies and SMART goals that can be measured, how can you possibly know if you have been successful? This is as important if not more important than the content that you are actually publishing.

Now, what do we mean by SMART goals? SMART goals are goals that are: specific, measurable, attainable, relevant, and timely. Setting these goals ahead of time for your credit union will ensure that your marketing team is able to ultimately measure the success of your social media efforts as well as the impact social media has on your return on investment (ROI).

In fact, take it a step further. Make sure your team knows the key performance indicators (KPI’s) that you will be measuring. Examples of these are:

  • Reach (followers, impressions, mentions)
  • Engagement (likes, comments, shares)
  • ROI (direct sales revenue, lead conversions)
  • Retention & Loyalty (reviews and ratings)

3) Not Putting Significant Budget Behind Social Media Efforts

Think about the amount of money your credit union spent on opening its last branch. Now think about how much your credit union spent on Facebook Ads last quarter. Branch traffic is on the decline but mobile and website traffic have never been higher. It is critical that your credit union invest in this digital transformation. Facebook advertising has become incredibly nimble and we are able to more closely target then we ever have been able to before. It is imperative that your advertising budget is adjusted accordingly.

Want to learn more about social media strategy for credit unions?

How To Use Social Media Effectively For Credit Unions

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

The Right Content for your Credit Union’s Social Media

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