Wednesday, January 21, 2015

The Dirty Little Secret of Spending Habits

by Chris Steffes, Remote Services Consultant

I have a confession: I am a SPENDER. When I think back to my youth and how I learned my personal spending habits, I didn’t need to look any further than my parents. I didn’t understand the advantages of saving as a youth and didn’t apply personal financial management to my life. As a result, I used poor judgment more than a few times growing up, opting for the instant gratification that comes with purchasing a trendy outfit over saving for the future. 

Fortunately, I eventually learned healthy money management, but it took external forces – student loan debt, car loans and credit card debt – to motivate me to change my behavior.

It seems my experience is not unique, as research from Harvard University suggests that patterns of consumer behavior are learned through family socialization, including money management. The Harvard study found an inter-generational consistency in spending habits, which may be part of the reason why so many people in the U.S. are in debt today.

Credit unions are in the unique position to motivate and educate young members, especially teens, about financial management and how to realize their dreams by becoming “financially empowered.”

Financial Empowerment

Here are a few ways to encourage active membership and financial empowerment within your young members:

  • Set up a branch at the local high school, and stimulate membership and savings through annual scholarship awards and contests.
  • Create a positive brand image with youth members through social media campaigns and contests.
  • Create a teen youth board to your credit union, where kids can learn about sound spending behaviors, provide insight to your board on youth trends with money and technology, and become ambassadors to other youth regarding personal finances.
  • Conduct financial management programs geared toward teens’ future goals – college, cars, travelling - and include successful youth members and their stories as role models within the program. Set out some food, offer prizes, advertise on social media and through mobile messaging, and teens will come.
  • Millenials love their phones. With mobile wallets requiring a link to a debit/credit card, lead a seminar that provides teens with a path to obtaining responsible credit, and how to responsibly manage purchases from retailers who use mobile wallet technology.

 Because mobile banking has fundamentally changed the way people bank, young people gravitate to this channel for the convenience and mobility it provides. As a result, young members who learn financial habits from their credit union have a good chance of becoming long term members because of mobile banking. By investing in youth education and community programs, credit unions will receive dividends today and tomorrow when it comes to attracting and keeping youth members.

 CU Solutions Group not only offers a popular mobile banking app to reach your younger members, we also have turnkey youth websites and marketing programs to grow those demographics at your credit union. 

Wednesday, January 14, 2015

Why Now is the Time to Market Your Credit Union’s Mobile and Online Services

If you’re in the northern half of the country, take a look out your window. Chances are there’s snow and ice on the ground and the temperatures are careening toward the zero mark. If you’re lucky enough to be working for a credit union in the more southern states, while you don’t have to deal with the white stuff, winter can bring chilly temperatures and rain. All of these weather-related observations mean one thing – your members are probably spending more time in the warm coziness of their homes and less time out running errands.

Baby, it’s Cold Outside
Sometimes you need to think like your members to find the right marketing angles to reach them. CU Solutions Group is in Michigan and I can see inches of snow outside my office window right now. Throw in the single digit temps and you can bet I’d rather do all my banking online or on my phone right now rather than bundle up and drive to my nearby credit union!

Why not take advantage of the inclement weather and create a fun marketing campaign to remind your members they can stay inside and still take care of their banking needs with your online and/or mobile solutions? Not only will this remind your tech-savvy members of all of the time-saving tech tools you offer, you can also get members who may not know about your online/mobile banking up to speed. 

To accomplish a quick turnaround on a winter-related campaign, you could start with email marketing, Web banners and e-statement onserts to promote your e-services. The next step would be lobby posters and take-ones for your tellers and other frontline staff to use.

If your credit union doesn’t have the bandwidth or marketing team to pull a campaign together quickly, let CU Solutions Group be your marketing team. We can create campaigns of any size that fit most budgets to get the results you’re looking for. We also offer mobile banking, custom mobile apps and a variety of online tools to enhance your credit union’s e-service solutions.