Posts Tagged ‘Ginny Brady’

CUs, Social Media, and Governance

December 1, 2010

Based on the conversation exploding on EverythingCU.com over the past two days on Credit Unions and the ROI of Social Media, I created and edited this opinion piece down to 10 minutes to fit it onto YouTube. I talk about branding, marketing, social media, credit unions, ROI, the future of credit unions, their Boards of Directors, and their members, and my mom. I think what we currently think of as Social Media (aka Online Community Engagement) has the potential to transform it all. What do you think?

Transcript:

Hi, I’m Morriss Partee, Chief Experience Officer of EverythingCU, and I’d like to make this quick little video blog on a topic that is near and dear to my heart, and that is credit unions and social media. It’s been an amazing thrill to see the topic of credit union’s use of Social Media and its ROI really blossom on EverythingCU in the past couple of days. I’ve watched with great interest as many opinions have been stated very forcefully from both sides. There are a lot of good arguments, both for and against, credit unions using social media.

Online communication is changing everything

Social media, and if we use the term to mean online community interaction, is, without question, transforming the way that people across the United States, and even across the world, are interacting with each other, and interacting with the world [around them]. So this social media phenomenon and revolution has affected or will affect virtually every department of credit union operations. It’s clear there are marketing implications and operational implications. But I’d like to talk about one are which I think in the long run, has the largest potential to truly improve credit union business and the way members interact with and view their credit union.

A Little Background

One of the big sea-changes in the way that credit unions operate with their members is when credit unions were deregulated from standard fields of membership in 1998. And since that time, credit union after credit union after credit union has gone to community charter, or a charter much broader than their original one.

Hi mom!

As example, my mother is a member of UMassFive College Federal Credit Union. Whenever I’ve had the pleasure of working on marketing campaigns for that credit union, I often think of my mother as the ideal target market. And every now and then, I’ll ask her a question about the credit union. “How do you feel about this? Why do you do business with the credit union? What do you like about it? What don’t you like about it?” And the thing that really strikes me is that because my mother is a retired professor from UMass, she feels like UMass Federal Credit Union is HER credit union. She knows the people who run it, she knows that the people who are members are colleagues of hers, that are affiliated with UMass in one way or another. Of course, she’s very proud of UMass. So anyway, that’s the world in which credit unions have traditionally operated. But for any credit union that is now far more broader than an original employee group, or their employer has changed, merged, been outsourced overseas, their original SEG has shut down, gone out of business, merged, diversified, whatever the story is, those credit unions need a new reason for being. Something that is fundamental, that makes you feel like “this is MY credit union.” Well, what do credit unions talk about in terms of the difference [between themselves and banks]? The difference is in their governance, their form of governance. Credit unions are not-for-profit cooperatives. This is supposed to be MY credit union.

MY credit union? Really?

Well, what does that mean, “MY credit union”? Does that mean I can withdraw a million dollars? Well, no, of course not, it doesn’t mean that. Well, then what does “MY credit union” really mean? How can we replicate, how can we make people, feel, understand what “MY credit union” means? We are the members, right? We are the member-owners. That’s the fundamental thing we’ve got going here.

So what does it really mean to be a member-owner? Well, right now, because of previous technological or operational limitations, membership really has only meant that I vote for a Board of Directors once a year. And I’m only voting for 3 out of 9 or so [board] members each year. And unless I’m really well-tied into the community or connected to the community, I have no idea who these people are. I might get one paragraph and a little, tiny one-inch photograph of what the person looks like, and they all kind of say the same thing about how they’re going to make sure the credit union is operated in the best interest of its members. Great. Well, it doesn’t help me choose, it doesn’t help me understand [who these people are]. I feel relatively powerless, and it doesn’t make me feel much like it’s mine–that I get to vote on… I don’t know who.

Ginny Brady, Revolutionary

That’s why I was so intrigued when Ginny Brady, in Plattsburgh, New York, started blogging with her members. She truly wanted to interact with her members to say “here’s what we are weighing as the board, here are the issues we’re wrestling with, we have to make tough choices, we have to balance different facets of financial soundness, with doing the right thing for our members, with maintaining the institution’s integrity.” For several years, she was regularly blogging, saying “here’s what the board’s doing, here’s what we’re up to, here’s our annual meeting, come out to it, we’d love to talk to you, we’d love to get your input.”

She actually stopped blogging after a couple of years. I think it’s simply because she was way too far ahead of her time, and perhaps people in the Plattsburgh region weren’t really ready for a local credit union to blog, and to understand what that meant, and to know how to find it, and know how to interact, or to want to interact. But I still feel like, as people now come online in different ways, Facebook, Twitter, email , blogging, what have you, I feel that there are new opportunties for credit unions to really make a difference with their governance.

Online input on CU governance!

What if there were online polling? What if you polled the membership regularly and said “how many of you prefer X over Y?” or “how many people feel it’s important that we offer this checking account?” or “we’re planning to build a new branch.” I still feel like there’s plenty of opportunity to really engage members, via online channels, via Facebook, via SurveyMonkey, or any other means, to say “WHAT WOULD YOU LIKE? What is it that would make the credit union better for you? What do you like about us and what we’re doing now? What do you hate about the credit union now?” And we can do these things in real time. You could even have a board meeting where you pose a question to the membership at the beginning of the meeting, and you have a decent number of responses by the end of the meeting. So if members have this voice now, and  they are actually engaged with the board of directors, and not even directly, but just in an anonymous way, that’s going to make people feel like, “yeah, that’s MY credit union. I have input to the credit union. The credit union listens to me for feedback. The credit union is interested in what I have to say. That’s MY credit union. I’m not going to leave MY credit union. I’m not going to go down the street because a rate is a quarter-point higher or lower, because it’s not MY credit union.”

So anyway, that’s just my thoughts, rambling from here in Western Massachusetts on a dark and stormy, rainy December night. I would love to hear your feedback on whether this aspect of inviting membership into governance has significant potential to truly revolutionize how credit unions market with and do business with their members.

What’s your take?

Social Media is not a waste of time for most Credit Unions

November 30, 2010

Fully five years into the social media revolution, a job opening for a social media position at a credit union was posted on EverythingCU.com just a week ago. I was very excited about this development, because as many of you know, I’ve been involved in social media and credit unions for… well, before there was even such a thing as social media.

When we started EverythingCU.com back in 2000/2001, we wanted to enable credit union marketers across the country (and even a few other countries too) to be able to share and communicate. We quickly realized that it would be great to attach a face to these names flying across our computer monitors, and thus photo uploading was added. (In the early days we even scanned photos sent to us by mail.) In addition, we created easy document sharing, as well as individual profile pages.

When the words “social media” started cropping up in credit union and other online sources back in 2005/2006, I started investigating this newly emerging trend and discovered it was very similar to the peer-to-peer networking and communication we were already enabling with EverythingCU.com, only on a more personal and “regular consumer” level. “What an exciting development!” I thought to myself. “Now that social media is emerging as an entity in its own right, we’ll be able to help credit unions understand the power of this medium for themselves that we’re experiencing here at EverythingCU.com.” In the subsequent years, I’ve spoken at many CU conferences and conducted workshops on social media for credit union leagues around the country; something which I truly love doing.

So based on the job posting, the subject on EverythingCU turns to “how can you calculate the ROI of this new social media position?” What an interesting question!

It can indeed be extremely difficult to measure ROI for marketing. You can measure overall results for a marketing campaign for a specific product by comparing that product’s sales with the previous year’s results. But as was pointed out on EverythingCU by Mia Perez, how do you measure ROI for the second year of the campaign, when you had successful adoption of the product in the previous year, thereby reducing the pool of people who would have bought the product based on your spectacular new marketing campaign? It’s going to necessarily be less than year 1. But you did as great a job creating the marketing campaign in year 2, but you’ll have less to show for it. Hmmmmmmm.

Another commenter in the Social Media-ROI topic pointed to the Financial Brand’s Why Social Media is a waste of time for most banks and credit unions.

I can’t prove the ROI of social media, but I fundamentally believe social media is not a waste of time for most credit unions. If your credit union behaves like a bank, then absolutely, you should skip social media. But I find the values of most credit unions line up perfectly with what makes social media a fantastic venue. Let’s take a look at where and why this makes sense from a “values” point of view:

Social media is all about empowering individual people. Each person in entitled to their own voice, their own opinion, and can create their own network of friends, family, and colleagues. Everyone is on an even playing field in terms of putting their message “out there.” In the credit union world, all members are treated equally, i.e., every member has an equal vote in electing the board of directors who are charged with overseeing how the credit union is run. Credit unions open their doors to everyone who is eligible to join; they don’t discriminate. Credit unions are cooperatives; social media is fantastic because of the cooperation and sharing that occurs. Credit unions originally were created for employers or organizations in a single location, in other words, a location-based community of people who had something in common. Social media flourishes because people everywhere are finding and/or creating their own online communities based on criteria that are important to themselves, whether it be political, religious, occupational, or centered around comon hobbies, passions, pasttimes, locations, and all sorts of other common interests.

Social media is fundamentally democratic and cooperative, as are credit unions. Credit unions were born of communities; social media is community brought online.

But before diving further into Social Media and its ROI, let’s examine exactly what social media is, since it means different things to different people. I view social media as any way that people communicate with each other online. This is done on an individual as well as a group basis. Well, this was happening long before MySpace, Facebook, and Twitter started becoming popular. So why did the phrase “Social Media” catch on starting around 2004/05? At this point, Facebook wasn’t open to the general population; blogging and podcasting were the new and hot things. Bloggers and podcasters were starting to build community with their endeavors and were excited that they were creating what the authors of the Cluetrain Manifesto had talked about in 1998.

So if we define social media as online communication, conversation, networking, and media sharing, then it’s been happening for quite a number of years, as email, AOL, chat rooms, listservs, the web, and the like are not new by any means. And even more fundamentally, human communication has been happening via technology since cave drawings were painted, and continued on through smoke signals, telegraphs with Morse code, pony express, the telephone, radio, tv, 8-tracks, albums, cassettes, CB radio, VHS, DVDs, and many others.

Let’s examine the telephone for a second. The telephone is basically a one-to-one non-persistent communication technology. (Although via voice mail, it can also be persistent and asynchronous.) At one time, I’m sure the telephone was very expensive, and businesses were loathe to adopt a new technology that very few of their consumers possessed. But now we don’t question the ROI of every person having a phone, whether it’s on their desk, a mobile phone, or now a smartphone. And yes, we have people dedicated to running businesses’ telephone infrastructures. But we don’t dedicate one person or one department in an organization, put all the telephones in their office and say “you are our telephone department! You’ll be operating and handling the telephones for everyone in the organization! Anytime anyone needs to make a call, they’ll come here to use these telephones, and seek your guidance in how to use the darn things!”

Well, I think social media is about where the telephone was many decades ago, in terms of how businesses are thinking about being involved with it.

Also interesting is how everyone views social media differently depending on their background. Marketing looks at social media as an advertising channel, while journalists view social media as a threat to the traditional way of bringing people news. Customer service people see social media as a new method of communicating with people.

As for ROI, well, there have been quite a few Credit Union success stories in social media already. And there have been quite a few success stories for non-CU businesses in social media.

We don’t necessarily measure the ROI of attending an in-person networking event such as a Chamber of Commerce mixer. But we all intuitively understand how important networking is. Well, as William Azaroff has pointed the way, perhaps a better term for social media is online community, or maybe even better, online networking.

Bottom line: Social media is definitely not a panacea, cure-all, or get-rich-quick scheme. But it works great for businesses when it’s used as a way that makes sense for both the business and its customers. After all, communication is fundamental to human nature, business, and marketing, and these online channels, media, and community are all fantastic communication avenues. And oh, by the way, social media, and online channels, have in many respects transformed the way people interact with each other.

Second bottom line for credit unions: Did you notice how your physical community dispersed over the last ten years or so? Yes, a majority of your members still reside within a five mile radius of a branch, but c’mon, don’t tell me you weren’t excited when you discovered you had a handful of members several thousand miles from your nearest branch. Well, I’ve got news if you hadn’t figured it out already. While location-based communities and geographies are still important, and are more important than ever in some ways (The New Geography), there is a new community and it’s online. People belong to multiple communities online and are excited about them. There may be an opportunity for your credit union to also be a part of the online communities that make sense for your credit union, based on what makes your members tick.

Post Script: (As if this blog post weren’t long enough already), I think that while there are huge areas of credit union function that are in the process of being transformed by online communication, the most exciting one, which has the most potential for bringing credit unions back to the member-centric powerhouses they once were, is in governance. Right now, credit union governance is a closed-door black box despite the efforts of pioneers such as Ginny Brady. But it’s in governance that credit unions have the opportunity to engage with the members like never before; to bring better transparency, to throw open the doors to the board room, and get meaningful, frequent member interaction with the board and management decision making. I truly believe that’s what Ed Filene would have envisioned had he been alive in this generation instead of his own. While you can’t measure the ROI of social media/governance interaction by the members, it gets to the FUNDAMENTAL reason why so many people LOVE their credit unions:

Because it feels like it’s MINE.

If you spend thousands upon thousands of dollars on a “traditional” branding campaign, you won’t make nearly the impact as ACTUAL online engagement with your members about the way THEIR institution is run. This is also an advantage that credit unions will ALWAYS possess over banks. PRESS YOUR ADVANTAGE TO THE MAX!

Interviewed by Christophe Langlois

October 14, 2009

HUGE thank you to Christophe Langlois of Visible Banking for interviewing me about EverythingCU and social media for credit unions while we were at Finovate NYC 09! Mentioned in this video include: William Azaroff, Tim McAlpine, Ginny Brady, my girlfriend (Lesley Lambert), and Cammie Morrow. Tim, Cammie, William and Christophe commented on the Facebook version of this video.


Everything CU – Finovate09: Morriss Partee. Founder
Uploaded by ChristopheLanglois. – Explore international webcam videos.

Rev up your Twitter bio; Twellow is here

June 30, 2008

Twello.comI learned today, from a Facebook group about Twitter, of a site launched on June 24, 2008, called Twellow. Twellow is named for “Twitter Yellow Pages.” It’s a searchable directory of Twitterers, aka Twits, aka people who use Twitter.

I was interested in this new web site because just recently someone said that a twitterer version of Alltop.com ought to be created. Lo and behold, a few days later, here it is in the form of Twellow. I scanned the main categories and they looked like a typical yellow pages. There was no category on the home page for ‘finance’, and none for ‘social media.’ So I really didn’t give it a second thought. However, some of my twitter friends (CUWarrior and Christopher Stevenson) were more thoughtful, and plugged ‘credit union’ into the search field to see the results. The results showed 15 credit union twitterers. By default, people are shown in descending order by the number of followers. At the time of this writing, the Top 10 results were: @CUWarrior, @TonyMannor, @weatherchaos, @RobWright, @CreativeBrand, @Clint_Williams, @mfagala, @markiev33, @Kent_CULifer, and @BenJoeM.

I took at look at who was being listed, and have deduced some of the ways in which the site works to list people.

Up until now, the only real purpose of your Twitter bio (limited to 160 characters), was to be interesting. If someone was interested in being your Twitter friend, their decision might be influenced by your bio. But if Twellow takes off in popularity (Mashable calls Twellow the people directory that Twitter itself ought to have built. Review hat tip: Ginny Brady), then your Twitter bio becomes much more important.

Twellow uses your twitter bio to categorize you.

Suddenly a creative bio is much less attractive than a straightforward bio if you are interested in being listed “well” in this directory. Each of the 15 people on the search results for ‘credit union’ had (surprise, surprise) the word “credit union” in their bio. This prompted Tim McAlpine to question why he wasn’t on the list. The answer is that right now Twellow is DUMB when it comes to singular vs. plural. Searching for “credit unions” yields a different list of five people than “credit union”, and includes Tim. We’ll see how long Twellow remains “dumb” in this way.

One last point about how Twellow categorizes people: Twellow has an algorithm that puts you into certain categories based on the keywords in your twitter bio. This is different than the simple and straightforward search (i.e. searching “credit union” yields the results of those who have “credit union” in their bio.) Keywords have been sorted, so that the word “CEO” in your bio puts you into three categories: Management, Management -> Executives, and Management -> Executives -> CEOs. Check out the categories that other people have been put in, and examine their bios to deduce what keywords have put them there.

I have updated my twitter bio armed with this new information. I am wondering how long it will take for Twellow to re-index me. I’m guessing I’ll be waiting for a re-index longer than it takes the Twellow programmers to get “smart” about singulars vs. plurals.

***Update 11:50 pm***
@William Azaroff cracked the code after reading this post, of how to get Twellow to re-index you after you change your Twitter bio. Once you’ve changed your Twitter bio, go to the Twellow page Get Listed, and submit your twitter username. Twellow will give you an error message, saying that the name is already indexed. However, within a couple of minutes, Twellow will re-index your profile and get the latest information available from twitter, including latest tweet and bio. Within five minutes, your changed bio will be reflected in Twellow’s search results. Feel free to mix, experiment and optimize how you want to be found on Twellow.

Luis Barros launches CU 2.0 blog

May 7, 2008

Welcome Luis Barros, board member of $430m Merrimack Valley FCU in Massachusetts, to the credit union blogosphere. Luis has launched the blog Credit Union 2.0. I had the pleasure of meeting Luis at a session on CUs in World 2.0 that I presented at the Massachusetts Credit Union League HQ in Marlborough in March.

Luis has extensive experience in web 2.0 technologies in the health care industry, and is on the technology council of his credit union. He’s got some great ideas for helping his CU utilize these tools. Luis is a graduate of the Sloan School of Management at MIT as well as the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst.

He joins Ginny Brady of UFirst FCU in Plattsburgh, NY as the two CU board members to be blogging in North America.

BarCampBank New England – Intimate equals awesome

April 7, 2008

America's CU MuseumWell, BarCampBank NewEngland finally happened. It was an incredible occasion, and a huge thank you to the 15 people who made the event everything I’d ever hoped for it, and then some. Fifteen people from all corners of New England, and other parts of the globe (Ontario and British Columbia), made the trek to America’s Credit Union Museum. I’m glad we held the event here, because prior to it, all but one camper did NOT know of its existence. Which is especially surprising considering that the CU movement in the U.S. originated here in Manchester, New Hampshire, and the first CU law, the first CU league, etc. were all established in Massachusetts.

Since this was a small gathering, I’ll say a few words about each of the special people who came.

Peggy Powell gives the tourPeggy Powell – Director of America’s CU Museum gets major karma points on at least four counts: 1.) normally only official CU orgs get to hold events in the museum, but she made an exception for us; 2.) she came in on a Saturday because she’s the only employee; 3.) she gave us a tour despite earlier having a bum wheel requiring ice and elevation, and 4.) she put up with us temporarily converting the 3rd floor into a concert arena for a game of Rock Band on the dual projector multimedia system.

Lunch CrewRon Shevlin contributed wonderful insights as always, and wrote a terrific blog entry about BCBNE here. My favorite quote from Ron came at dinner afterwards when we were discussing bankers in the CU movement: “Just because you change churches doesn’t mean you change religions.” During the day, my favorite insight was that it’s not about your story (meaning the business or organizations’ story), it’s about the story that members/customers tell themselves, and how you fit into that story. And social media is about creating new stories with them. Ron is writing a chapter for the book Age of Conversation Two, and I can’t wait to read his contrarian take on web 2.0. I am eagerly devouring Ron’s first book, Everything they’ve told you about Marketing is wrong.

The wisdom of GeneGene Blishen – I heard about what a great person Gene is from following BCB Seattle remotely, tweets, and blogs. Now I understand why. Gene is a treasure of the CU movement, is genuine, profound, and walks the talk. His blog is called Tinfoiling. Gene also wins the “furthest travelled” award since he came here on the way back to British Columbia via vacation in Denmark. A really cool thing that Gene shared with us is that Mt. Lehman CU has two event tents available for members to use (for weddings, parties, etc.). It’s a small way that Mt. Lehman gives back to its membership and also weaves itself into those important events in its members’ lives.

David - The Man of a Thousand TabsDavid Inverarity – I didn’t know of David of Ontario before BCBNE, but I am very happy to have met him. Ron nailed it when he described David as a Tour-de-Force. He’s a whirlwind and provided the funniest photo of any BarCampBank EVAH. I love that David not only brought his PowerBook, but also his Macintosh Air and iPhone. (And made use of air-quotes frequently.) I’m still not sure what to make of his challenge to try to remove his MacBook Air from the building and he wouldn’t make a move to stop them. Perhaps it de-materializes if someone other than David tries to touch it? Ron thought it would make an excellent frisbee if thrown from the third story window.

Andy LaFlammeAndy LaFlamme – I had been looking forward to meeting Andy ever since his outstanding blog, The CU Loop, came on the scene. Andy has a cogent write-up of the day as well. A special thank you to Andy for so many great photos and recordings of the day.

Adam Lueb & Andy LaFlammeAdam Lueb – A special thank you to Adam for making the journey to Manchester from Western Massachusetts despite not feeling 100%. Adam keeps EverythingCU.com humming despite our best efforts to overwhelm him with new stuff to make that resource even better.

Ginny & LouiseGinny Brady – Ginny continues to delight me with her progressive thinking, and to be the beacon of truth and justice for board members to truly represent the members’ best interests. After a full year of blogging via The Boardcast, still the only board member to be creating online dialogue with members via a blog as far as we know. I hope her example paves the way for more board members to engage in dialogue via this avenue. And don’t even get me started about how awesome this photo of her and Louise is. Shout out to Ginny, Linda, Jody and UFirst FCU for sponsoring breakfast. Ginny gave a great description of the events at The Credit Union World’s Best Kept Secret.

Charlie Kroll & Peggy PowellCharlie Kroll – Came up from Providence, Rhode Island, representing online account opening and funding operation Andera. Charlie had outstanding questions and insights throughout the day. Here is Charlie’s blog entry on being pleasantly surprised by BCBNE.

On the TourDave DelVecchio – Thank you to Dave for coming to the camp, also from our area of Western Mass. David saw me give a talk to the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the MA CU League and does tech implementation and support for many F.I.s in the region. He gave us some insight into the big I.T. issues organizations are wrestling with.

In the "Waiting Room"Mark Vautour – Another young CU marketing professional learning more about the movement every day, who was not aware of the Massachusetts/New Hampshire CU movement’s origins the existence of America’s Credit Union Museum despite working at a Boston area credit union. I got to visit Mark at halftime of my first-ever in-person Celtics game at Boston Garden because we both have the Celtics fan Facebook application. Props to Mark for setting up and handling the event’s registration on Eventbrite.

Deb and the topic/schedule wallDebra Trautman – Was the only camper who was aware of America’s CU Museum before the BCBNE event because she had received an award there for her work for the Maine Credit Union League. Debra, like many of us outside major cities on the East Coast, was not familiar with the BarCamp format, and now that she’s experienced BCBNE, is eager to share it with more Maine credit unions.

Jeanine PerroneJeanine Perrone – Represented Marquis software. It’s great to know there are people who work for CU vendors who are this interested in the movement. Jeanine is also formerly an employee of a credit union.

Christian discusses CU mergersChristian Mullins – Provided wonderful and detailed insight into credit union mergers, and why they are happening at a rate of about one per day. (46 so far this year alone). He had detailed knowledge of a big one happening in his former area in Madison, Wisconsin

Morriss Partee, Jeanine Perrone, Joe Mello  & Andy LaFlammeJoe Mello – Arrived in time to catch the second half of the day’s topics. I had met his brother, Steve Mello, in San Francisco the previous Saturday at BarCampBank SF. Joe and Steve are doing some exciting work in the world of wireless banking.

I hope that everyone enjoyed themselves, learned a lot, were re-inspired about this crazy CU movement experiment, and made valuable new connections with like-minded people. I know I did.

If you are an employee of a credit union or league, and want to continue this conversation with thousands of other CU professionals, check out EverythingCU.com. (Full disclosure: we created EverythingCU.com as a resource for you to connect with your peers nationally and worldwide, so we might be biased.)

Shameless self-promotion, part two: I was agog when I first visited America’s CU Museum nearly two years ago. I have since discovered that many in the CU movement don’t know about it, or the history of this amazing movement. To do my part in stamping out ignorance everywhere, I am available to deliver a concise, relevant presentation that connects the dots between this movement’s humble origins and how we came to be where we are today. Send me an email if you’re interested in having me deliver this presentation to your credit union, league chapter, or league.

For more photos of the BCBNE event and the museum, visit the BCBNE group flickr pool.

Please share YOUR thoughts on the day, and what you got out of it, here and on your own blog/twitter/flickr/facebook/crowdvine/wiki.

Congratulations Credit Unions, on a Century of Service

March 12, 2008

I have the great honor and pleasure of talking to credit union professionals all over the nation. The subject of the proud history of CUs, holds special meaning to me because I had worked with the movement for about ten years before I learned ANYTHING about its incredible history. I certainly had no idea that the movement started in my backyard, a hop skip and jump across the border, in Manchester, New Hampshire.

I gave a talk on social media and World 2.0 this morning to a group of about forty credit union marketing professionals from Massachusetts, Rhode Island and New Hampshire at the CU League’s headquarters in Marlborough, Mass. I asked about the movement’s founding, and it was wonderful to get a detailed answer. In our presence was a representative of that very first CU, Andrea Pruna of St. Mary’s Bank. Not only did she know the date by heart (November 24, 1908), but she let us know about a wonderful section of their web site devoted to this, the Centennial Year of Credit Union service. I encourage everyone to check out Celebrating 100 Years for a terrific look at the amazing road we’ve traveled so far.

This is one of the reasons I’m especially excited that BarCampBank NewEngland will be held in America’s Credit Union Museum on April 5. The museum is the actual house where St. Mary’s Bank first began operations 100 years ago, out of the home of Attorney Joseph Boivin, who served as the CU’s President. If you listen very carefully, you may hear the whispers of the generations that have preceeded you when you stand in the parlor of the building.

Shout-outs to so many of the fabulous credit union marketers who came today. Thanks to Jon Reske and Anne Pinkerton from UMassFive College FCU, Mark Vautour from Telephone Workers CU, Deena Bernier from NMTW Community CU, and Debra Perrin from Southern Mass CU. I’m not good with names, so I haven’t remembered those who I met for the first time, but thank you also. It was fun that we had four one-billion-dollar CUs represented as well, Greylock FCU in the Berkshires, HarborOne CU in the South Boston area, DCU of the Worcester area, and Navigant CU in RI. Thank you to Rob Kimmett for organizing a great event and inviting me, and it was wonderful to catch up with CU whirlwind Bonnie Doolin.

My presentation today included demonstrating and explaining Twitter, Facebook, blogging, and showed examples from Shari Storm and the Verity CU team, William Azaroff of Vancity CU and Change Everything, Ginny Brady, board member of UFirst FCU with the Boardcast, and Tim McAlpine of Currency Marketing with Larissa Walkiw, spokesperson for Young and Free Alberta, and her infamous Credit Union Difference video part one, currently at 16,228 views. On the topic of Facebook, I have started writing a paper on the Facebook as Marketing Engine and plan on publishing excerpts to this blog. For those interested in checking out twitter, here’s the one-page PDF of Twitter Tips.

I also touched on Peer-to-Peer Lending (P2P Lending), Prosper’s amazing growth rate, and how CUs can participate by getting in touch with Doug True, SVP of Lending, at Forum CU. Doug has been instrumental in having P2P Lending company Zopa partner with CUs to offer NCUA-insured loans and investments.

Thank you DC! You’ve been real!

March 6, 2008

Thirsty?Wow, what a great turnout at the TwittaBloggerSocial Meetup in DC on Tuesday night. Adam and I had dinner with Ginny Brady, Liz Woodard, and Jody Carpenter of UFirst FCU located in Plattsburgh NY ahead of the main meetup. Then 8:30 rolled around and we connected with Bryan Sims of Brass|CU located in Corvallis OR, and I met his Sales Manager Tim. Then we were joined by Jeff Hardin, Communications Director for the North Carolina CU League and Christopher Morris, Web Manager for the CUNA Councils, HQ’d in Madison, WI. Then Brent Dixon of Trabian, located in Dallas stopped in. Later we were joined by his brother Paul who now lives in San Fran. Then we were also joined by Rob Rutkowski of Current Issues in Credit Unions podcast fame, who was there with his brother, Tom. I also said hi to Mark Meyer of the Filene Research Institute who was grabbing a bite to eat with Bryan Sims earlier in the evening.

Conversations covered a wide range including Batman movies, the usefulness/uselessness of twitter, general impressions of the conference so far, and enjoying DC. Later the party moved across the block to the Renaissance Hotel. Brent, Paul, Adam and I decided to take a cab rather than having the downpour soak us. It was a very good call.

Twitter Group 1Photos are on Facebook and Flickr. I am still awaiting the group photo from Ginny Brady. My favorite part of the meet up: I just couldn’t get over sitting at the same table with Ginny, Jeff, Christopher, Brent, and Rob, who blog and/or twitter from NY, NC, WI, TX, and OH respectively. What was your favorite thing about it?

Meet-up at GAC in DC on March 4

February 14, 2008

For anyone who is coming to CUNA’s GAC extravaganza in Washington DC from March 2 through 6, myself, Matt Taggart, and Adam Lueb will be dropping in on Tuesday evening, March 4 for a Networking meetup at Capital City Brewing Company at 8:30 pm. Ginny Brady, blogging board member of UFirst FCU in Plattsburgh NY will be there, along with Christopher Morris of the CUNA Councils. (Ginny has also created a Facebook page for GAC-goers.)

If you are going to GAC and want to meet up with fellow social media/blogger/twitter/EverythingCU-ers, either comment here, post it on the facebook event page here, or shoot me an email. Even if you are not attending GAC, if you are in the DC, VA, MD area, we’d love to meet up with you on Tuesday night for drinks.

The Boardcast gets a new look

February 12, 2008

Nate Duval, designer extraordinaire for EverythingCU, has given Ginny Brady’s Boardcast a brand new look. Ginny is the CU movement’s first board member to blog, on behalf of UFirst FCU in Plattsburgh NY, and we’re excited to have a hand in helping her with this update.

Nate did a terrific job in interpreting Ginny’s desire to have a clean, new modern look, that had its own identity, yet related in look to UFirst FCU. My favorite aspect of Nate’s new design is by going with a white background, the design now reinforces what is a central principle for the Boardcast — to bring the ideas, thoughts and concerns of the Board of Directors out in the open — to allow for true conversation between Board and concerned members, something which seems very natural for a democratically elected Board to do. In other words, shining a bright light on what has previously been a closed-door environment.

We here at EverythingCU sincerely hope that Ginny’s Boardcast starts a trend with Board of Directors at CUs across North America, and indeed around the world. The fact that we had the privilege to work with Ginny was itself due to social networking. I first had the privilege of meeting Ginny in Spokane, where she was presenting her blogging experience on a panel alongside William Azaroff and Trey Reeme at the WCUL’s annual convention. When I realized that Ginny’s home base was but a four-hour car ride from EverythingCU headquarters in Western Mass, I knew a visit was in order. When I visited Plattsburgh, I learned that EverythingCU was already known to the credit union, especially rock star Adam Lueb who had smoothly assisted UFirst FCU with upgrading their online switch kit when they redesigned their web site.


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