Posts Tagged ‘member’

Announcing the innovative new eSwitchKit!

May 22, 2013

EverythingCU.com is thrilled to announce an innovative new breakthrough in making it easy for your new members to switch their previous accounts over to your CU! Our new eSwitchKit makes switching incredibly easy via secure email and organized with a personalized online checklist that both your member and your credit union can monitor for real-time status updates.

Making the switch to your credit union has never been easier with our new eSwitchKit!

See for yourself how easy and convenient it is by trying out the Demo!

The eSwitchKit makes it easy for your member (or your MSRs to help your members) switch their previous accounts over to your credit union. The member’s information only needs to be entered one time, and the correct information is then sent to each vendor involved in the process, including Employer for Direct Deposit, previous Financial Institution for close account instructions, and for every ACH/Automatic Payment vendor as well as any vendors making automatic withdrawals via Debit Card.

The member is in control every step of the way, being able to decide which of these organizations are to receive account numbers, which organizations are to receive secure email communications, and which organizations are to receive printed and mailed letters.

  • The most innovative switch kit in the industry brings the member an active, real time checklist with email alerts keeping the process top of mind and organized
  • The member and credit union can access a Switching Checklist providing an up-to-the-second look at each step of the switch
  • Member is alerted via email whenever a vendor responds with switching updates
  • Full admin controls enables you to help your members through any sticking points
  • SSAE 16 compliance and industry-standard 128-bit encryption
  • Vendors can send messages back to the member in regards to switch status and details
  • The eSwitchKit is the latest innovation from the same company that brought you the original Online Switch Kit in 2004 and Premium Online Switch Kit in 2011. More than 100 CUs nationwide employ these Switch Kits that have helped more than 23,000 members switch to their credit union

If you are currently using the Original or Premium Switch Kit and would like to upgrade, please contact me for your prorated upgrade pricing; via email: morriss@everythingcu.com or call me direct at 413-535-0621. For more information about the eSwitchKit or to place an order, visit the eSwitchKit Info/Sales page.

Initial feedback has been positive; feel free to let us know your thoughts and comments about this new concept in helping members make the switch to your CU!

Happy switching!

Member testimonials in Texas

March 6, 2013

Yesterday, I had a nice phone call with Susan Herring of Brazos Valley Schools CU in Katy, Texas. Susan is awesome, and had a glowing review of our PlumWall testimonial product, which she has been using ever since we rolled it out.

Here’s a summary of what she told me: Susan said she LOVES PlumWall and thinks it’s worth every penny.

She loves how easy it is for members to put their testimonials up, and that members use PlumWall to give their testimonials even more than the online survey system they use.

She also said that staff really enjoys when they are the ones featured in the system. Whenever a new testimonial comes in featuring a staff member, Susan emails it to everyone in the CU so that that staff member gets their moment in the spotlight of doing excellent things for the member, which naturally encourages everyone else to continue doing their great work for members so that they’ll get their turn in the testimonial spotlight down the road.

We are so thrilled that Susan is loving her PlumWall! Maybe it’s something that will liven up your own online member testimonials!

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?

Zucchinis and credit unions: Not strange bedfellows

November 30, 2009

I love it when credit unions display their awesomeness.

And recently, UMassFive College FCU did just that.

I was driving about Western Massachusetts, when I heard a news story on our local NPR affiliate, WFCR, about UMassFive College FCU and their new CSA loan. Here’s the one-minute radio segment about it: Credit Union loans for farm shares

This statement may raise some or all of the following questions from you:

1.) What does CSA stand for, and what is it?
2.) What is a CSA loan?
3.) Why is it a perfect match that a Credit Union should offer a CSA loan?
4.) Why is this a brilliant business strategy on the part of UMassFive College FCU?
5.) What could UMassFive do to promote their CSA loans even further?
6.) Why do I care?

Q. What does CSA stand for, and what is it?
A. CSA stands for Community Supported Agriculture. Basically it’s a cooperative farm, in a similar way that a credit union is a cooperative financial institution. Customers each purchase a share of the food that is made by the farm. For example, one share might cost $700 for the year. During the spring, summer, and fall, you come to the farm and grab that week’s share of food, the contents and amount of which will vary during the harvest season. Typically, you get a box full of fantastic fresh produce each week. Here’s an example of what Simple Gifts Farm’s produce share consists of. The photo on the right is a typical summer week’s share from Doe Run Farm, a CSA in Tennessee.

What is the advantage of a CSA? Terrifically fresh and local food. Savings over what it would cost if purchased from a grocery store. Half-shares are also often available from a CSA, which get you half the amount of a full share of the farm harvest each week, usually at somewhat more than half the cost of a full share. Often times, membership in a CSA also requires a few hours per month helping to box up the week’s harvest.

Q. What is a CSA loan?
A. A CSA loan is a loan for the cost of one year’s share. While many people might be interested in buying local, and supporting local agriculture for a variety of reasons, many of the people interested in doing it can’t afford a lump sum payment of $600-$700. So in this case, UMassFive College Federal Credit Union is offering their members a NO-INTEREST loan, payable over 6 months, to finance buying a share in the CSA. So instead of $700 in one payment, the consumer would be able to pay $117 a month for six months. For many families, they may lower their total grocery bills while receiving a plentiful amount of fresh fruits and veggies.

Q. 3.) Why is it a perfect match that a Credit Union should offer a CSA loan?
A. The sixth of the Seven Cooperative Principles states that cooperatives should cooperate with each other. Both credit unions and CSAs are cooperatives. Both are (usually) dedicated to local cooperative principles. It’s a perfect fit.

Q.) Why is this a brilliant business strategy on the part of UMassFive College FCU?
A.) Because great businesses differentiate themselves, which creates a brand unique to that business. Credit unions are the only type of financial institution which can partner with CSAs in this way, authentically. (Banks could do it, but they’d be seen as copycats. Realistically, offering these types of loans is not on any bank’s radar screen.) This loan does many things at once: Strengthens the credit union’s brand as a local cooperative, actively doing things to strengthen the community which they serve. It also helps the CSA by making it possible for more people to afford to buy shares in it. It helps the member by spreading the payments for a CSA share out over several months.

There are other benefits of of buying local food, (belonging to a CSA is one way to do it), from which the Credit Union’s brand image is enhanced by association: CSAs help reduce the nation’s overall energy consumption and greenhouse gas emissions by reducing the fuel needed to package and transport food through the wholesaler to supermarket supply chain.

Offering interest-free CSA loans is not going to add significant dollars to the CU’s bottom line, nor is it going to cost them a significant amount. But their reputation is enhanced immeasurably, and management and the board must be taking the position that the PR gained, and thus future business, will more than offset the small amount of the cost of the program. Already, being interviewed by the local NPR affiliate is fantastic marketing, which had no cost.

Q. What could UMassFive do to promote their CSA loans even further?
A. Right now, their CSA loan page has a link to a local food site. I’m not sure if UMassFive is promoting this in their lobbies and teller lines too, but if not, they should. Also, they could provide a more direct link to the CSAs that are in the same area as the majority of their members. And of course, they should get in touch with all of these area CSAs and make them explicitly aware of their interest-free loans. UMassFive could also create a CU/CSA-day event, inviting representatives of the CSA to bring samples to the CU, and make it a festive occasion, bringing both more awareness to the CSAs themselves, and to the fact that UMassFive supports them. Also, UMassFive could publicize the WFCR story about their CSA loans nationally, which if successful, will increase the pride that its members have in it.

Q. Why do I care?
A. Long before I knew what a credit union was, as a child, my mother belonged to a food coop. Now that I’ve made a profession helping credit unions, it’s great to see a credit union that is doing something that makes a lot of sense from a business and community-enhancement standpoint. And by so doing makes the world a better place.

Oh yeah, and my mother is a not only a member of UMassFive College FCU, she’s also a member of CSA Simple Gifts Farm in North Amherst. And on Thursdays in the fall, she often brings my son there to help gather the week’s share.

New Year, New Budget, New Goals

January 5, 2009

At the prompting of EverythingCU member Mike Anderson, I decided to do a little slicing and dicing of the EverythingCU Marketing Budget Report to find out what the actual national average is for total marketing budget spent compared to total net new members walking in the door.

I have good news and bad news.

The bad news: Membership growth has been very flat. Credit unions are spending decent amounts of money on marketing. Thus, we’re spending a LOT of money to get relatively small results. If your net new members number is at all positive, you are doing well, congratulations!

The good news: This means that you can go to your CEO and legitimately say “it takes a LOT of marketing money to bring in a new member to the CU movement, you’d better give me a bigger budget if you want new members.”

So to all the VPs of Marketing and Marketing Managers in CU-land, you are welcome. To all the CEOs and CFOs, I’m sorry, but it is what it is.

Here are the numbers:
These numbers are based on year-end 2007, the latest year for which we have complete, full-year data.

Of the largest 4213 CUs in the nation:
Average net member growth was: 1.15%
Average number of members 12/31/07: 19,767
Average number of members 12/31/06: 19,270

Therefore, average gain in membership was: 497

Average marketing budget, 2007 for those same CUs: $236,337

Therefore, across the CU movement as looked at here, the average cost to gain a new member was…. wait for it…..

$475 EACH.

Please bear in mind that this does NOT take into account TOTAL new members, only NET new members. You may also ask, “why 4213?” I set our marketing budget report to show 5,000 CUs, and apparently 787 CUs out of the top 5000 have been merged out of existence, that we weren’t aware of, since we created our database of CUs in the year 2000. Also, you might say that 2008 is different than 2007, and you’d be correct, but I’m guessing that the national average won’t come out very differently. I’ll run it again in a couple of months when the NCUA releases their year-end 2008 data.

Personally, I would not recommend taking this $475 number to your CEO unless you want to induce a heart attack. On the other hand, if you are bringing in new members at a lower cost, perhaps you can wrangle yourself a raise out of it.

If you want to slice and dice the numbers yourself and get something more meaningful, i.e. a smaller sampling of YOUR CU peers, feel free to check out the EverythingCU Online Marketing Budget Report.


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