CUES SKYBOX BLOG

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How to Get a Handle on Capital and Compliance

By Moisette (Tonya) Sweat Know–and focus on–your membership. The membership is the lifeblood of any credit union. Therefore, it is the key to a credit union’s management of its capital and its regulatory compliance program. In the aftermath of the nation’s recent economic woes, credit unions now face the potential for new capital demands and plenty of other forms of increased regulation. More specifically, the National Credit Union Administration is working to “modernize” CU risk-based capital regulations. As financial institutions that must base their net worth on retained earnings raised from member deposits, credit unions can find these capital requirements daunting. Plus, the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau is revising regulations formerly issued by the Federal Reserve Board, adding increased disclosure or reporting requirements. Knowing a credit union’s own, unique membership is the key to overcoming the burden of regulation, including the coming impact of a new capital rule. Every credit union should know who its current members are; who its potential members are (or at least where to find them); and the products and services its members need, want, or use most. By knowing its members really well, a credit union can determine the social and financial behaviors most prevalent […]

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Go Tell It on the Mountain

How to talk up credit unions so more people buy in—and benefit. By Heidi Overman The most viable financial model in America today is the cooperative credit union system. So why isn’t the good news of credit union philosophy resonating with American consumers? How can your credit union best trumpet its story—and in doing so, boost credit unions as a movement? Alix Patterson’s preconference workshop before the opening of Directors Conference in December will help participants answer these questions. An expert with data and the use of storytelling, Patterson is chief operating officer of Callahan and Associates, Washington, D.C. Think about it. The credit union movement stands out because it operates solely to serve its members. There are no shareholders pushing for higher returns at the expense of patrons. The board of directors is composed of members. The institution’s products and services are chosen because they benefit the members. And members are not just members; they’re also owners, each one having one vote in the cooperative.They’re a great option for consumers. Yet credit unions as an industry have just 15 percent of auto loans and less than 10 percent of consumer deposits. Despite misdeeds in the mortgage market resulting in […]

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Reaching Millennials: 10 Ways That Work

What CUs can learn from CO-OP Financial Services’ ‘Empowering People’ campaign. By Samantha Paxson In May, CO-OP Financial Services launched “Empowering People, Amplifying Dreams,” a national consumer campaign to promote the advantages of credit unions to Millennials. The campaign has rapidly gained traction with more than 100,000 visits to our website. As we have told the credit union story to younger consumers, we’ve learned at least 10 lessons credit unions can apply as they also reach out to Millennials: 1. Don’t be afraid to get out of your comfort zone. Servicing our own marketing needs is a huge task, but we see that our future success lies at least partially in tackling an industry-wide issue. 2. Make it fun. We launched the campaign in New Orleans in conjunction with our annual conference. We marched to the House of Blues, where we heard a concert by our campaign spokesperson, a 23-year-old singer/songwriter named Daria Musk. Her fan-friendly concerts remain a part of our effort. 3. Be social. From our campaign website, visitors can access campaign videos and information on You Tube, Twitter and Tumbler. All three take the visitor to sites titled “Innovative Banking,” where young consumers can learn more about […]

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Why Your Work Should Include Elephant Topiaries

And fewer WOMBATs. By Mary Arnold According to Michael Bungay Stanier, there are three kinds of work: bad, good and great. Needless to say, we should try to minimize bad work because it is unproductive, wasting money, bandwidth and time (WOMBAT). Senior Partner in Box of Crayons, Toronto, and author of Do More Great Work, Stanier advised his CEO/Executive Team Network audience to hunt down and eliminate WOMBATs. “Good work,” he continued, “is being productive, getting things done, helping reach your credit union’s goals. But there are a couple flaws to good work. “The first is that when you’re doing good work, your brain funnels into the unconscious part of your brain, keeping you stuck in a comfortable rut” rather than out pursuing great work. The other challenge with good work is that no matter how hard you try, you’ll never get ahead of it. In fact, Stanier explained with great exaggeration, “You might say, ‘If I could just get a little more efficient, if I could get on top of my good work,’” I could get to the great work. “But even if you get into work at 1 a.m., delete emails back to 1982, delegate tasks, put in […]

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Identify Your ‘Reluctant’ Leaders

5 characteristics to look for. By Walt Grassl Do you know someone who is very comfortable doing a job that has no leadership dimension, even though you just know they will thrive as a leader? Many of them have a condition that is sometimes referred to as “altitude sickness.” This is not the medical condition that occurs when you are at high altitudes and cannot get enough oxygen. This altitude sickness refers to the fear of success, of reaching great heights. Interestingly, reluctant leaders are often the best leaders. This is because they lead from a desire to serve, not a desire for power. The following are five signs to identify reluctant leaders: 1. Peers seek their counsel. Most organizations have two kinds of leaders: People with leader in their title and people who are sought out for advice by their peers. When looking for reluctant leaders, observe your teams. Who do the team members respect? Who do they go to before bringing problems to the attention to management? 2. They are focused on team success, not individual glory. Some employees are too busy focusing on their tasks to help others with theirs. Others realize that if one employee is […]

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Innovate in ‘Small Sprints’

By Mary Arnold Why is innovation so hard? “We want to do the 100 percent,” meaning the new product can’t be released until it does everything it could possibly do, explained John Best, founder of Best Innovation Group, Land o Lakes, Fla., in his CEO/Executive Team Network session, “Fostering Innovation: Starting a Startup Within Your Credit Union.” “And if it fails, then we’re loathe to try again.” Instead of embarking on marathon development projects, Best suggested working in “small sprints.” Think about the apps you use, he said. “Apps have little tiny changes all the time. Their developers ask, ‘what can we do in x amount of time for the next release?’” They practice “continuous improvement and continuous delivery. How do we master that?” Best recommended these steps: Figure out what you are trying to do (what problem you want to solve, what service you want to offer). Make the innovation as lean as possible. Be ruthless about scope creep to create the “‘minimum viable product’ that can then be incrementally enhanced.” Release it quickly. Measure results from the rollout. Build the “real thing” based on feedback. To illustrate how this has worked in a credit union, Best talked about […]

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Perfect Your Pitch

Tweak small things to get your message across more effectively. By Lisa Hochgraf G. Richard Shell told attendees of the first-ever summer CEO Institute I: Strategic Planning that they could “exercise conscious controls” to make themselves more effective. “Small adjustments and bits of self awareness about how you handle other people is precious,” emphasized Shell, J.D., professor of legal studies and business ethics at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, where the institute was held. “Learning more about this stuff can make you better at practicing it. You can talk all you want about charisma, but these are things you can get better at.” Shell offered small things executives can do to be more effective when pitching their ideas. This process has been documented to be effective, and was first conceived by Aristotle. “This is nothing new,” he said. But it works. 1. Define the problem in terms the other party can understand and relate to. “Everyone first wants to know and has to process what the problem is,” he said. Is this issue a market share problem, a morale problem or an employee retention problem? Define it in terms everyone can understand and buy into, he advised, especially […]

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How to Analyze Your Stakeholders

They can make or break your change initiative. By Lisa Hochgraf When credit union executives are trying to lead, they need to get buy-in from a variety of people–or stakeholders. For example, if the VP/lending wants to purchase a new loan origination system, he might need to get support from members of his own team, the CIO and the CEO of the organization. How can this best be accomplished? At the first-ever summer CEO Institute I: Strategic Planning held in August at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business, Gregory P. Shea, Ph.D., provided attendees with a process for stakeholder analysis and management. Shea is co-author of Leading Successful Change: 8 Keys to Making Change Work. Shea suggested first defining what exactly you’re trying to do. Ask yourself, “What’s the end state and what’s at least an outline of the path you need to take to get there?” Next, Shea recommends creating a list of people who might think they have a stake in the strategy, change or project you have defined. “List as many as you can,” he encouraged in a class handout. “Press yourself.” Third, break the list of stakeholders into three categories–those who control the success of […]

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Compare Your ‘Leadership Brand’ to Your CU’s Culture

Is it congruent or running counter to culture? By Lisa Hochgraf A corporate brand is the three or four words people consistently think of when they think of that company. A public figure’s brand is the three or four words people think of when they think of that person. In turn, a leader’s brand is … you got it … the three or four words people think of when they think of that leader. That’s how Professor Kathleen O’Connor, Ph.D., explained leadership brand in “Leadership Brand and Shadow,” a new blended learning course now in progress through a partnership between CUES and Cornell University. Blended learning is designed to maximize educational value, while minimizing travel and time away from work. Knowing your own leadership brand can help you decide if it is congruent with your credit union’s culture, or if you are running against the current, O’Connor said. Knowing your strengths that support your brand can help you make career decisions. To illustrate, O’Connor asked participants in her live Web presentation to chat in feedback about brands and public figures. For example, when O’Connor showed a slide of the Apple logo, attendees sent her these words: innovation, value creator and […]

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Managing Mobile-Only Members

Three strategies for keeping them engaged. By Chris Steffes Sponsored by CU Solutions Group According to Bank of America’s 2014 “Trends in Consumer Mobility Report,” almost half (47 percent) of consumers use mobile or online banking as a preferred method of transacting with their bank or credit union. The same study found that almost a third (31 percent) of mobile banking app users access mobile banking at least once a day. It’s clear that mobile banking is becoming more than just a transactional space for credit union members. Mobile is now a channel where members want to connect with, communicate with, learn about products and services, and transact with their credit union. As more people, especially Millennials (age 18-24) move closer to becoming mobile-only members, credit unions must shift their focus to deliver services and a great customer experience to where their members are – including on mobile. FICO surveyed Millennials, and found that those who frequently use their bank/credit union mobile app are more satisfied with their financial institution. To keep members engaged, credit unions should: Pick features that matter most to members. The FICO survey found that mobile users want more self-service features, such as remote deposit capture […]

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EMV Reflections After International CU Day

The time for a chip card game plan is now. By Michelle Thornton Last Thursday–International Credit Union Day 2014–offered an opportunity to reflect on the growth of the credit union movement globally. One area of CU global growth–EMV adoption in the United States—is finally underway in earnest. Credit unions will be able to better serve their members here at home through the enhanced fraud protection of the chip card standard. And, it will be easier for members to use their credit union-issued credit and debit cards when they travel abroad once they are EMV enabled. Both data breaches and the upcoming Oct. 1, 2015, U.S. liability shift (to the party in the transaction that did not enable the chip card), has elevated EMV adoption from conceptual to imminent. EMV provides strong transaction security features in card-present transactions that are not possible with traditional magnetic stripe cards. Fraud statistics in Canada post-EMV adoption are telling. For example, in 2009, Canada’s Interac debit fraud loss was $142 million. Since deploying EMV technology, that number dropped to $70 million in 2011. Approximately 70 million international trips are made each year by Americans. As more countries have migrated to EMV chip card technology, U.S. […]

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Duchess of Cornwall to Welcome CUDEs

International CU Day meeting at royal residence is good for UK CUs–and the global movement. By Lisa Hochgraf It might surprise you to learn that a June BBC news article reported that just 2 percent of the adult population of the United Kingdom belongs to a credit union, while 46 percent of adults in the United States are credit union members. “In the UK, credit unions are still relatively unknown, which creates issues around credibility,” acknowledges Marlene Shiels, ICUDE, chief executive of $50 million (U.S.) Capital Credit Union Limited, Edinburgh. But Shiels has good news. Her Royal Highness the Duchess of Cornwall‘s first visit to a credit union–to Capital CU in 2012–spurred her to learn more about, and do more to support, these institutions. “The Duchess was so taken with the work we do, particularly for those with fewer financial choices, she decided to get to know credit unions better,” Shiels says. Shiel’s 25-year-old Capital CU has a community-based membership of 19,000 that covers the East of Scotland (from the Scottish Borders to Angus). “Our main products are savings and loans, mortgages and prepaid debit cards,” Shiels says. “We do not offer checking accounts.” Married to Charles, Prince of Wales, heir […]

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Decision-Making Safeguard

Here’s a way to see if what you’ve decided makes sense. By Lisa Hochgraf At the first-ever summer CEO Institute I: Strategic Planning held in August at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia, attendees learned a variety of decision-making techniques from Wharton School of Business Adjunct Professor Jim Austen–and from each other. You can read about them in “Disciplined Decision-Making” in the November issue of Credit Union Management magazine. In addition to strategies for making a decision, Austen tgave attendees a safeguard to use after a decision is made. The safeguard was based on the book How Doctors Think by Jerome Groopman, M.D. Groopman says that once he has made a diagnosis, he generates a short list of alternatives as a safeguard against cognitive errors. Most medical mistakes, he asserts, are not problems with technology, but a doctor making the wrong call. “Managers are comfortable; leaders are uncomfortable,” Austin said. In addition to celebrating when things are going well, “leaders generate that list of things that could upset the apple cart.” Lisa Hochgraf is a CUES senior editor. Read other posts about this year’s summer CEO Institute here, here and here. Learn more about CEO Institute and the Certified Chief Executive […]

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Take Steps Now, Before Aug. 1 Mortgage Rule Change

It’s a whole new world for mortgage lending By Theresa Reinke Sponsored by CUNA Mutual Group The TILA/RESPA Integrated Disclosure rule is the biggest mortgage lending regulatory change we have seen in recent memory. This rule will directly affect the people, processes and technology credit unions use to support both first and closed-end home equity mortgage lending. It will impact relationships with system providers and, most importantly, credit union members and staff. As the August 1, 2015, effective date draws closer, implementation of these game-changing requirements will be the key to success. Determine now who is on your team and how your third-party partners can help. Remember there is no grandfather clause to this Integrated Disclosure rule–on August 1, the new rules must be implemented. To make matters more complicated, all loans initiated before August 1 will require the existing TIL disclosures and RESPA Good Faith Estimate and HUD-1/1A Settlement Statements. Thus, credit unions will be running dual systems for a while. The new Loan Estimate and Closing Disclosure are not merely replacing or combining the existing disclosures. There are many new data elements, calculations and quite a few new restrictions. And the documents will have dynamic elements based on […]

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Tool Helps Leaders Make Career Decisions

Participants in new CUES course identify their workplace strengths, so they can make the most of them. By Lisa Hochgraf What are your biggest strengths–the strengths on which you can build your best work and your best career? Creating a “reflected best self” portrait can help you answer this question, according to Cornell University Professor Kathleen O’Connor, Ph.D. As lead faculty member for “Leadership Brand and Shadow,” a new  course being offered by CUES in partnership with Cornell, O’Connor is asking each participant to create such a portrait. The new course, like all the CUES Blended Learning offerings, is designed to maximize educational value, while minimizing travel and time away from work. In the first session of the program, participants watched from their desktops as O’Connor presented live about leadership brand and the project to be undertaken. (See the image at the top of this post.) O’Connor asked for and received participant feedback via chat. In addition to attending another session with O’Connor and doing the project, program participants receive individual sessions with executive coaches. Creating your “reflected best self” portrait is a three-step process, O’Connor explained. First, think about situations you have been in that have brought out your […]

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‘Some Assembly Required’ Supports Change

Lessons for change. By Christopher Stevenson Common sense would seem to dictate that consumers would derive more value from furniture that is delivered assembled. Really, who wants to buy a desk in pieces, pour all the parts onto the living room floor, and spend two hours trying to decipher instructions and assembling? But as William Safire said, “Never assume the obvious is true.” As it turns out, multiple research projects over the past 60 years have shown that participating in the creation of something enhances a person’s perceived value of the end product, whether it’s IKEA furniture, cake batter, or a Build-a-Bear stuffed animal. In the words of Roberto Fernandez, Ph.D., faculty member at CUES’ inaugural Strategic Innovation Institute, hosted at MIT Sloan School of Management, if you help make a product you like, “you like it that much more.” The lessons of the research extend far beyond “some assembly required.” When tackling organizational change, there are few better ways of creating buy-in and building advocates than involving staff from all levels in the process and labor. When it comes to change, there is a direct link between labor and love. Take advantage of it. Christopher Stevenson is CUES’ VP/professional […]

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Why You Should ‘Crash’ an Event

Connect with others who want to make a difference. By Dana Murn-Kohal Free registration to a great credit union industry event is a cool part about being a “crasher” through The Cooperative Trust.  But it isn’t the coolest part. Being one of nine crashers at the CU Water Cooler Symposium, which took place the second week of September in Austin, Texas, was unparalleled to anything I’ve taken part in before. With having a roommate and getting practically no sleep all part of the experience, crashing is most often undertaken by people under 35, though it’s open to everyone. Here are three reasons to add “crash an event” to your professional bucket list. 1. The knowledge. The CU Water Cooler event structure lent itself to full knowledge immersion. Speakers’ presentations were followed by a Q&A session, which allowed attendees to dive deeper and also synthesize what they were learning. Plus, crashers had an additional session with two speakers every day, so we got twice the knowledge! 2. The networking. There was a lot of hype about having crashers at the event, which made for an easy opening line for networking! We crashers forged a special bond that facilitated sharing our professional experiences […]

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Responsive Website Pros and Pitfalls

Craft yours to display well on any device. By Diane Knudson Sponsored by CU Solutions Group What devices do members use to view your website? laptops tablets smartphone all of the above The answer to the question probably depends on the individual member; however one thing is clear: Members access their CUs’ websites using a variety of devices. This is a key reason why “responsive” website design (first originated by Ethan Marcotte with his “A List Apart.”) has become so important. The aim of responsive design is to craft websites that provide an optimal viewing experience—easy reading and navigation with a minimum of resizing, panning, and scrolling—across a wide range of devices. What are the top three reasons CUs should have a responsive design? 1. You’ll provide a better user experience. With responsive design, everyone who visits your website has the same experience, whether they are on a phone, tablet or desktop. This means that the 25 percent of people who only use a smartphone to access the Internet have the same exact experience as desktop users. Websites that have a responsive design typically see higher user engagement, including a lower bounce rate, higher average visit duration and more pages per visit […]

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The Magic of Innovation? Your People

By Kris Van Beek, CCE The first one to sign up for CUES’ inaugural Strategic Innovation Institute, held last week at MIT, I walked into class last Monday looking for an “innovation support group.” By the time the institute was over, I had found the support group I envisioned, plus learned progressive concepts, frameworks, and strategies for advancing innovation that were validated by case studies both in and out of the credit union industry. For example, at one point, my Strategic Innovation Institute classmates and I were asked to consider the role of budgeting in supporting innovation. To get a discussion rolling, we were asked what percentage of our organizational budgets was devoted to innovation. At my credit union, USAlliance Federal Credit Union, in Rye, N.Y., we don’t budget for innovation per se, but it’s still part of our DNA. With an original field of membership of IBM employees, every major project we’ve undertaken in the last three years—whether that was mobile banking, integrating interfaces or making incremental improvements to our product offerings—has had innovation at the top of the priority list. Notably, institute instructors also called on us to talk about the magic of innovation. And that isn’t part […]

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Don’t Blame the Pilot

Instead, focus on root causes of challenges to change. By Christopher Stevenson This week at CUES’ inaugural Strategic Innovation Institute, hosted at MIT Sloan School of Management, Roberto Fernandez, Ph.D., relayed a story about a colleague who received a call from the Pentagon asking her to travel to Washington, D.C., on an urgent matter. The military had developed a new night-vision scope for helicopter pilots, but there was a problem, explained Fernandez, professor of organization studies. While the improved scope enhanced visibility exceptionally well, pilots using it kept crashing. When Fernandez’s colleague arrived in D.C., she immediately identified the problem: The scope was monocular. Visibility was enhanced, but the pilot’s depth perception was sacrificed. Fernandez posed the question, “Do you fix the scope or the pilot?” The answer seems obvious: Fix the scope. It’s an equipment problem, not a talent problem. All too often though, when organizations are in the midst of challenging change projects, we blame the talent. Instead of focusing on root causes of resistance to change–such as poor communication, ineffective processes, and the like–we assume the problem lies with the staff members who aren’t on board. Be careful of this trap. Don’t blame the pilot. Christopher Stevenson […]

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Levers of Organizational Change

Design the work environment to support transformation. By Lisa Hochgraf “Actually changing what people do at work requires changing cues they receive from their work environment–cues they receive all day, every day, whether a leader of any stripe stands in front of them or not,” write Gregory P. Shea, Ph.D. and Cassie A. Solomon in Leading Successful Change: 8 Keys to Making Change Work. Shea presented at the first-ever summer CEO Institute I: Strategic Planning, held at the University of Pennsylvania’s Wharton School of Business in Philadelphia in August. According to Shea’s book, the workplace is composed of eight environmental factors that give employees cues about how to act: 1. Organization: the vertical chain of command and horizontal means of interconnection. 2. Workplace design: the layout of physical and virtual space, plus available work tools and technology. 3. Task: work processes, protocols and pathways 4. People: selection, skills, learning and orientation. 5. Rewards: rewards and punishments of every sort germane to the desired behavior, including compensation and intrinsic and extrinsic rewards. 6. Measure: scorecard of performance. 7. Information distribution: who knows what, when and how. 8. Decision allocation: who participates when, in what way, in which decisions. Each of these […]

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Where Has All the Trust Gone?

Opportunity awaits for investment and retirement services programs By Gary A. Weuve, CLU, ChFC, RFC, CPRC, CFP Sponsored by CUNA Mutual Group Does it feel to you as if no one trusts anyone any longer? Building trusting relationships with prospective and even existing members is not easy and it takes time. If your credit union offers investment or retirement services, here are a few tips to promote the process. Help your advisors get outside the office with their best clients. The current trend in client events is smaller and more intimate, which makes it easier to connect. A deep personal relationship will lead to a trusting relationship. Providing small quarterly updates for clients in the form of a coffee clutch at a local breakfast place with a meeting room can accomplish the task as well. Position your advisors as more than an investment advisor. It is going to be difficult to build trusting relationships if all your advisors are doing for their clients is building investment portfolios. Ask your advisors to spend more time understanding the concerns, desires and goals of their clients. Be sure to brand your program, and get the word out to your membership. Communicate frequently. Touching […]

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Coaching Boards to Boost CU Value

Tips CEOs can use By Jeff Rendel, CSP You’ve read about activist boards in corporate America. These boards strive to do things they believe will raise the value of the corporation. They get deeply involved in strategy and operations with a short-term focus on financial metrics. While their intent is not always to make a quick sale of the corporation, they always desire to increase its financial value. For credit unions, value is defined a little differently. It is the dollars-and-cents financial value of the relationship a member has with his CU. This could be fees saved, the higher rate paid on deposit, paying a lower rate on a loan, or getting a membership dividend. If a member can receive, say, $1,000 of value in a year, that’s a real return on membership. Members don’t get that from their banks. So increasing the value of your credit union is an important initiative. What can a credit union CEO do to promote a board committed to increasing the value of the credit union to its members? Evaluate your credit union like an activist investor. “Does this add and maximize value – and how?” is a question that should accompany every current and […]

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Marketing to Millennials

3 common-sense ideas and one possible surprise By Kait Vosswinkel Advice on capturing the attention of Millennials ranges from cool to crazy, but it’s no wonder many credit unions—with their aging memberships—are concerned. A lot of CUs are stepping in the right direction and, as a 20-something, I want to offer three bits of common sense about marketing to me. First, financial education is essential, and it can be used as an outreach tool. $1.8 billion University of Wisconsin Credit Union, Madison, Wis., sets a wonderful example of how successful financial education programs can build a young membership base. Since 1931, University of Wisconsin CU has been known for its partnership with the public university system in Wisconsin, and its average membership age is in the mid-30s, much lower than the CU average. The CU’s focus on education allows it to build long-term relationships with thousands of young adults every year. “One of our most effective approaches is the financial education that we provide to students on campus. It’s not the fact that we do it; it’s how we do it,” says CUES member Jaimes Johnson, director of community and campus relations at UW CU. “We provide education through financial specialists […]

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Delivery of Delight

Tips for the transformation of branches and remote transactions. By Sundeep Kapur “Branch transformation” is today’s big mantra for financial institutions and providing great experiences to members in branch locations is indeed one way credit unions can delight their members. Great member experiences outside the branch also count heavily into the relationship a CU will be able to build with its members. Branches are delivering delight with cool, open looks that make members feel welcome in the space. They are leveraging automation tools, such as cash recyclers that do the counting so the member service representative can converse with the member. Remember, people are the pillars of your branch. Besides leveraging automation, CUs need to empower MSRs with training and information. Your members will appreciate the expertise these staffers will then be able to offer them. But branches aren’t the be-all and end-all anymore. Some credit unions are using ATMs in non-branch locations to boost efficiency, and to offer members after-hours service in multiple languages. Be sure you are personalizing self-service delivery, whether that’s at the ATM, or with mobile or online banking. Finally, your website and online banking is kind of like having a branch right in the member’s home. Do […]

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