Posts Tagged ‘ROI’

10.49% loan growth for our KickStart client

February 13, 2013

While the NCUA has not yet released the 4th Quarter 2012 5300-data for all CUs, it is available for many CUs on an individual basis.

We can’t help but be beaming proud of Carole Wight and Holy Rosary CU…. and the terrific results she’s getting with her EverythingCU.com KickStart.

I just checked the 4Q12 5300 report for Holy Rosary, and it’s even better than we thought it’d be! We were hoping they would maintain a 3.9% lending growth rate, and THEY WOUND UP BEATING IT! Lending is up EVEN MORE than the previous quarter! Loans are up by 6.3% in just the past quarter!

The last two quarters combined have seen Holy Rosary’s lending go up by 10.49%! If her loan portfolio continues to grow at that pace, her CU will have seen a TWENTY PERCENT increase in loans for the year! Wow! Never in our wildest imaginations did we think KickStart could have such an immediate impact on a CU’s loan portfolio, but the proof is in the NCUA 5300 numbers.

Here is the latest:
Dec 31, 2010: 4,758,649
Mar 31, 2011: 4,647,966
Jun 30, 2011: 4,623,701
Sep 30, 2011: 4,719,143
Dec 31, 2011: 4,918,250
Mar 31, 2012: 7,623,506 <– Merger with a smaller CU
Jun 30, 2012: 7,607,091
Sep 30, 2012: 7,906,605 <– 1st full qtr w/KickStart
Dec 31, 2012: 8,405,157 <– 2nd full qtr w/KickStart

Holy Rosary CU (MO) Loan Growth

If you are ready to give KickStart Online Lending a try, then check out the SPECIAL OFFER we are running, or learn more on the KickStart information page.

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!


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